December 16, 2015 / 1:31 AM / 3 years ago

Starbucks UK profit rises, taxes decrease

A Starbucks store is seen inside the Tom Bradley terminal at LAX airport in Los Angeles, California, United States, October 27, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

(Reuters) - The UK division of Starbucks (SBUX.O) on Tuesday reported higher profits for the year ending Sept. 27, even as its tax payment to Britain decreased by as much as 28 percent.

The U.S.-listed coffee chain paid 8.1 million pounds ($12.18 million) in tax, down from 11.4 million pounds for the same period last year.

Profit before tax grew to 34.2 million pounds for 2015 compared with 2 million pounds for the same period last year, the company said.

Comparable sales for the year grew by 3.8 percent, while the company’s operating margin was at 6.9 percent, its highest since it began operations in Britain.

In October, EU antitrust commissioner Margrethe Vestager ruled that corporations such as Starbucks and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU.N) benefited from illegal tax deals with Dutch and Luxembourg authorities and ordered the Netherlands to recover 20 million to 30 million euros ($23 million to $34 million) in back taxes from the U.S. coffee shop chain.

(This version of the story was refiled to correct first paragraph to say the UK division of Starbucks, not Starbucks UK)

Reporting by Ankush Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Wills

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