How America’s Richest Companies Invest Their Cash

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10. Dell (NASDAQ: DELL)

> Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments: $13,838 million
> Money market funds: $8,881 million
> Cash: $3,596 million
> Commercial paper: $816 million

Dell has amassed cash over the years selling personal computers, but it is no longer a high growth company. Now, enterprise solutions and services account for $30 billion of its annual revenue. With no dividend to account for, investments and stock buybacks are Dell’s main uses of its excess cash from operations. Dell repurchased $2.7 billion of its own shares during this past year.

9. Coca-Cola (NYSE: KO)

> Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments: $14,035 million
> Cash and cash equivalents: $12,803 million
> Short-term investments: $1,088 million
> Marketable securities: $144 million

Coca-Cola gets 60% of its revenue from outside the U.S. Soft drinks offer a better operating margin but are on the decline in the U.S. Coke has stakes in its overseas bottlers, Coca-Cola Amatil, Coca−Cola FEMSA and Coca−Cola Hellenic. Coke’s outflows of money during 2011 include spending $3.3 billion on advertising, buying $4.3 billion of its own stock, and paying $4.3 billion in dividends.

8. Intel (NASDAQ: INTC)

> Cash, cash equivalents & short-term investments: $15,198 million
> Government bonds: $6,665 million
> Commercial paper: $4,122 million
> Corporate Bonds: $1,264 million
> Bank deposits: $1,126 million

Most of Intel’s money comes from selling chips for PCs, a fairly lucrative business. In 2011, Intel paid $4.1 billion in dividends and spent $8.7 billion on acquisitions, including $6.7 billion for security software firm, McAfee. Research and development expenses are expected to rise in 21012 by 21% to $10 billion, primarily from R&D investments. The major handicap to Intel’s accumulation of cash in the future is the fall off in the use of its chips as people migrate from PCs to tablets and smartphones. Its new Atom chips are meant to compete with similar handset products from industry leaders Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM) and Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA).

7. Chevron (NYSE: CVX)

> Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments: $20,071 million
> Cash and cash equivalents: $15,864 million
> Time deposits: $3,958 million
> Marketable securities: $248 million

Chevron operates in the most capital intensive industry of this group, with $27.4 billion in capital and exploratory expenditures last year. With operating activities producing $41 billion, there’s enough cash for a $6.1 billion dividend. And with oil prices rising, multinational energy companies are best equipped to turn these higher prices into cash flow. Record crude prices helped global oil companies post huge profits in 2008. With Brent crude trading these days above $125 a barrel, that is likely to happen again.

6. Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN)

> Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments: $20,641 million
> Money market funds: $6,266 million
> Corporate debt securities: $5,943 million
> U.S. government and agency securities: $5,517 million
> Mortgage and asset-backed securities: $1,785 million

Amgen, a pioneer in biotech, incorporated in 1980. Product cycles in biotech can take 10 to 15 years from discovery to market. Once they are finally on the market, however, many of the drugs are highly profitable. Amgen’s current products include treatments for cancer patients, inflammation and kidney disease. Amgen’s major blockbusters, Neulasta and Neupogen, had combined sales increases of 7% to $1.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011 versus $1.2 million in the same period last year. During 2011, Amgen spent $8.3 billion repurchasing its own shares.