Financial Plumbing for Big Beer: A Global Wealth Chain Analysis

Mads Godballe

Student thesis: Master thesis


This paper investigates how Carlsberg operates their legal and financial activities across multiple jurisdictions in order to benefit from different tax and secrecy advantages. In other words, financial plumbing for big beer. This is done by a method of distinguishing between entities generating value from typical supply-chain activities and entities generating value from financial activities. The paper presents two empirical findings. First, that Carlsberg has established 14 entities in jurisdictions such as Singapore, Switzerland and Hong Kong to benefit from financial and secrecy advantages. Second, that financial and legal decentering in Carlsberg also takes place inside entities as they decenter financial and legal activities through contractual linkages with partners. This is supported by a Carlsberg entity registered in Denmark issuing bonds in the Luxembourg stock exchange through an external partnership. The legal and financial decentering of Carlsberg is viewed through the lens of information asymmetries between regulating authorities and Carlsberg, and suggests that Carlsberg benefits when financial services are being supplied from jurisdictions with a high level of secrecy. The Global Wealth Chain theory provides the theoretical framework for the paper and argues to follow the flow of money and financial transactions within the multinational corporation as opposed to Global Value Chain theory, which exclusively focus on the production processes. The paper contributes to studies of financial governance and value chains within International Political Economy by emphasizing how the multinational corporation integrates into international legal structures and consequently offsets national regulatory oversight.

EducationsMSc in International Business, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages85