Google Ireland sales leap to €26bn

Google Ireland paid almost €163.8m in tax last year on sales that jumped to €26.3bn.

Pre-tax profits at the Irish arm of the search engine company — which is the sales driver for its huge Europe, Middle East and Asia division — surged to over €1.34bn from almost €342m in 2015.

Its corporation tax bill rose to €163.8m from just over €47.8m the previous year. The sales increase was mainly driven by a rise in advertising revenues generated by Google websites, it said.

However, the company acknowledged that global regulators are looking more closely at its operations.

“The company is subject to increased regulatory scrutiny that may negatively impact the company,” it said in the accounts.

“The growth of the company and the expansion into a variety of new fields may result in a variety of new regulatory issues and may subject the company to increased regulatory scrutiny,” it said.

Fionnuala Meehan, head of Google Ireland, said its strong performance had resulted in a 9% increase in employment, with 267 jobs created in 2016.

Google said that at the end of last year it employed 3,200 people directly and a further 3,000 contractors.

Total staff numbers in Ireland have now increased to more than 7,000 people, including over 400 engineers, it said. Staff costs rose to €421.4m from €365.1m.

Google officially opened its second data centre in Dublin in 2016 at a cost of €150m.

The company confirmed it is acquiring the lease on the Velasco building on Dublin’s Grand Canal, providing an additional 51,000sq ft of office space.

“We operate in probably the fastest-paced industry in the world and it’s important that we stay ahead of the curve,” Ms Meehan said.

The firm said the increase in advertising revenues resulted from an increase in the number of paid clicks through Google’s advertising programmes.

It said that this was due to an increase in aggregate traffic, new ad formats, the continued global expansion of company products, its advertiser and user base, as well as an increase in the number of Google Network members.

Administrative expenses increased to €18.4bn in 2016, an increase of €1.5bn from a year earlier, Google Ireland said.

“This increase is related to a number of factors including an increase in headcount necessary to support the growth of the business; and an increase in sales and marketing efforts across the Europe, Middle East and Asia region,” it said.

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