BHL Bogen

BHL Bogen
BridgehouseLaw LLP - Your Business Law Firm

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Strong Dollar Signals Positive Sign for Foreign Alcoholic Importers

With the US dollar being at its best levels in more than a decade, foreign alcoholic importers are seizing this opportunity to offer more variety in their beer and wine selection which will come at a much lower price to US wholesale buyers.

Breaking down the numbers, foreign alcoholic beverage imports rose more than 6% last year. This equals the biggest year in more than two decades for foreign importers. US wholesale buyers are now taking advantage of the current price drop by buying larger quantities of alcohol from foreign importers. As a result, they have been able to increase what they are bringing into stores around the US, making available a larger supply and more varietal selection of foreign alcoholic beverages to consumers around the US.

But while this is great news for many, not everyone is thrilled. US domestic alcohol sales rose only 2% last year. This is the slowest growth in four years. To help combat this problem, recently, there has been more of a push in marketing and television ads for US domestic alcohol vendors such as Anheuser-Busch, and MillerCoors.

The recent worry of some foreign importers concerns the US House Republican border adjustment tax proposal. If passed, it could levy a 20% tax on imports of alcoholic beverages and reduce the currency advantage we are seeing now. For now, however, foreign importers and US wholesale buyers are seizing the opportunity while they still can.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Streit um Sammelbilder - Panini verweist Konkurrenz vom Platz

Paninis Klebebilder sind absoluter Kult und ihre Faszination überdauert die die schnelllebigen Karrieren so mancher Fußballstars. Ein englischer Konkurrent hatte das italienische Unternehmen Panini kürzlich verklagt, da es sich bei der Vergabe von Lizenzen an Fußballeuropa-und Weltmeisterschaften benachteiligt sah.
Das zuständige Gericht jedoch teilte eine frühere Einschätzung der Europäischen Kommission, wonach Fußballverbände wie FIFA, UEFA und  DFB gegen keinerlei Wettbewerbsrechts verstießen, als sie die Rechte an den großen Fussballereignissen an Panini vergaben.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Adidas Brings its Factory Production Back to Germany

Adidas is out to reinvent the shoemaking industry by bringing their shoe production back to Germany. This year, Adidas, the giant German sports goods company, has announced that it will be transforming its massive warehouse, located in the Bavarian town of Ansbach, into a newly renovated "Speedfactory." Shoe-making production is largely a $80 billion dollar per year industry that historically has been offshored to China, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Adidas is no stranger to this. For the longest time, Adidas itself has been producing their shoes in Asia.

Adidas is setting its sights on becoming the next big innovative disruptor. Today, the majority of shoes are made and assembled by hand. Adidas now wants to streamline this process, hence the name "Speedfactory." Their goal, however, is not just focused on labor-related costs. It goes well beyond that. Adidas's motivation is focused on its customers' needs. Adidas's customers want fashionable shoes immediately, but the shoe production giant has been in a constant struggle to keep up. The Speedfactory aims to close the gap. With a streamlined production through machines assembling their shoes, customers will now have Adidas's latest fashions in a shorter amount of time.

The Speedfactory warehouse is currently undergoing renovations. Production is set to begin mid-2017. Adidas has been working with Oeschler Motion, a local Bavarian firm that specializes building the manufacturing equipment that the Speedfactory will be utilizing. Adidas is aiming to produce up to 500,000 pairs of shoes annually. Adidas is also planning on opening a Speedfactory location in the United States, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Thursday, February 02, 2017

Deutsche Bank Agrees to Pay $95 Million Under Latest Tax Fraud Settlement

This past month, Deutsche Bank has agreed to pay out $95 million dollars to resolve a lawsuit brought against the bank by the US Government. The suit, which was filed back in December of 2014, alleges that Deutsche Bank, in 2000, had been using an insolvent shell company within the United States to hide significant tax liability from the Internal Revenue Service. The lawsuit initially sought to recover more than $190 million in taxes, penalties, and interest.

Back in 2000, Deutsche Bank acquired a corporation that held stock at a very low-cost basis. The stock would eventually be sold and at a very high value. As a result of the stock being sold, Deutsche Bank would incur substantial taxable income (in the form of taxable gain) as a consequence of the transaction. Deutsche Bank, however, thought of a way to get around this before the stock was ever sold. The bank would first create a shell company called "BMY." In broad terms, before the stock was ever sold, Deutsche Bank would transfer their acquired shares to BMY and then have BMY transfer the shares back to Deutsche Bank. This process would allow for Deutsche Bank to maintain the acquired shares of stock without ever having to pay taxes on the sale of the stock. BMY, on the other hand, would get the bill for the taxable gain.

It did not take long before the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) found out about the wrongdoing. Initially, BMY was left with a tax liability of more than $52 million dollars as a result of the sale of the stock. BMY, however, was insolvent and would continue to rack up penalties as a consequence of non-payment of its taxes. After substantial non-compliance and full blown investigation by the US Department of Justice, the Department decided to file suit against Deutsche Bank. As mentioned prior, the suit initially sought to recover than $190 million dollars from Deutsche Bank for their wrongdoing. The case settled, however, for $95 million dollars. Deusche Bank has admitted to their misconduct back in 2000 and is now focused amending relationships with its customer base.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

USCIS Proposes Rule to increase Investment Thresholds for EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is suggesting changes to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program which allows individuals to be eligible to apply for lawful permanent residence in the United States if they make the necessary investments in a commercial enterprise in the United States and create 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers.  

USCIS proposes to:
1) Increase the minimum investment amounts for standard EB-5 petitioners from  $1 million to $1.8 million.
2) Increase the minimum investment amounts for EB-5 petitioners in a Targeted Employment Area (TEA) from $500,000 to $1.35 million.
3) Reform the adjudication of TEA designations to DHS/USCIS directly, as opposed to states making this decision.

Please see here for further information on the proposed changes or contact BridgehouseLaw for advice on investment-based immigration.