Apple Inc. (AAPL) Rating Cut For Ethical Reasons

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Is Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) the poster child for corporate ethics? Of course not, but what major corporation is? Nonetheless, one analyst is trying to take a stand for Apple’s Chinese workers by zeroing in on Apple and telling CNBC that he cut his rating on the company’s stock on “moral and ethical grounds.” He also posted his full report on Seeking Alpha on Monday.

Apple isn’t paying Chinese workers well

Like Carl Icahn, Ronnie Moas of Standpoint Research is also targeting Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s massive cash stockpile. However, he doesn’t want to see that cash returned to shareholders. In fact, he says he’s “sick and tired” of hearing shareholders like Icahn pressure Apple to give more cash back to them.

“Where on Earth are the activists demanding a $20 billion dividend for the employees in Asia who can afford to live in nothing more than a shack and who will see that shack get wiped off the face of the Earth the next time a monsoon or tsunami comes by?” he wants to know.

Apple treats workers “like animals”: Moas

Moas says it’s ridiculous that a company which has as much cash as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has in the bank to pay its workers $2 an hour. He also points to the working conditions at the Asian plants where Apple products are made, highlighting reports which suggest that the conditions are so bad that some workers at those plants have committed suicide.

The analyst downgraded Samsung miss: Handsets likely contributed, Limits March upside for QCOM; INVN should be Ok from Hold to Sell, accusing the company of treating its workers “like animals.” His research note is quite lengthy and indicates that he decided to downgrade Apple and two other companies one night while he was having trouble sleeping even after he took a sleeping pill. He says at the top that he typed it “with one finger” and that it “took five hours to type.”

Problems at Apple suppliers continue

The problems at Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) supplier Foxconn’s plans in China have been documented for quite a long time. The company admitted to hiring minors to work in its factories, and workers have gone on strike (which also happens frequently at other companies in the U.S.)

Moas isn’t the only one concerned about ethics in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s operations. At the company’s shareholders’ meeting in February, one of the proposals up for a vote is to add a human rights committee by amending the bylaws. The proposal was brought by John Harrington, and, like the one brought by Carl Icahn, Samsung miss: Handsets likely contributed, Limits March upside for QCOM; INVN should be Ok has recommended that shareholders vote it. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) said in its recent proxy filing that in spite of all the problems at its Chinese suppliers, it doesn’t see a need for such a committee.

Moas also cuts Amazon, Phillip Morris

In his emotional report, the analyst also bashed, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE:PM). He cited the “pressure” placed on Amazon workers while “at the same time Jeff Bezos with his obscene net worth of $27 billion was on his yacht in the Galapagos Islands.” A glance at‘s employee reviews of, Inc. (NYSE:AMZN) does provide a glimpse of what he might be talking about, as by far the number one complaint of employees is work / life balance. Only 65% of the employees who reviewed Amazon on Glassdoor would recommend the company to a friend.

For Philip Morris, he said the company has “the black lungs and blood” of hundreds of millions of people on its hands. Moas said his grandfather was a smoker and died because of it.

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