For the first time, the top five non-financial U.S. companies with the most cash are in tech.
With $216 billion in cash at the end of 2015, Apple tops them all — as it has since 2009, according to a Moody’s Investors Service report released Friday. Apple’s cash hoard, plus that of Microsoft, Google, Cisco and Oracle, makes up 30 percent, or $504 billion, of all non-financial U.S. companies’ cash.
In addition, the tech industry accounted for $777 billion of the total $1.68 trillion in cash held by U.S. companies at the end of last year. The total cash holdings rose 1.8 percent from the previous year.
“While the concentration of cash among the top-rated cash holders continues to grow, so too has the portion held by the technology sector, which accounts for a record 46 percent of total cash in 2015, up from 41 percent in 2014,” Richard Lane, a Moody’s senior vice president, said in a statement.
Other tech and Silicon Valley companies in the top 50 include Intel, Gilead Sciences, Facebook, Amazon, Qualcomm, eBay, Hewlett-Packard and Yahoo.
Here comes the but: The report also looked at the cash these companies are holding overseas, and it’s a lot: $1.2 trillion, or 72 percent. Here’s a look at the top five’s numbers.
- Apple: $216 billion total cash, 93 percent overseas
- Microsoft: $102.6 billion, 94 percent overseas
- Alphabet/Google: $73.1 billion, 59 percent overseas
- Cisco: $60.4 billion, 94 percent overseas
- Oracle: $52.3 billion, 87 percent overseas
Apple and other big U.S. tech companies have been criticized over how much money they keep overseas, but don’t expect that to change anytime soon. Moody’s said in its report that “we expect that overseas cash balances will continue to grow unless tax laws are changed to encourage companies to repatriate money.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook has said as much; he has called for simplifying tax laws and lowering corporate tax rates. (Last year, we wrote about another study that also identified Apple as the top overseas cash hoarder. At the time, that figure for Apple was $181 billion. This year, that number is $200 billion.)
The other top cash-holding industries are healthcare/pharmaceuticals, consumer products and energy, according to the report.
Another highlight: Capital spending fell 3 percent to $885 billion in 2015 after five years of gains. Moody’s said it expects “overall business conditions to remain cautious this year.”
Photo: The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium is decorated for an Apple media event on Sept. 9, 2015, in San Francisco, Calif. Apple holds the most cash of any non-financial U.S. company, according to Moody’s. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)