|9 Months Ended|
Sep. 30, 2012
The Company is from time to time engaged in routine litigation. The Company regularly reviews all pending litigation matters in which it is involved and establishes reserves deemed appropriate by management for these litigation matters when a probable loss estimate can be made.
As a marketer of dietary and nutritional supplements, and other products that are ingested by consumers or applied to their bodies, the Company has been and is currently subjected to various product liability claims. The effects of these claims to date have not been material to the Company, and the reasonably possible range of exposure on currently existing claims is not material to the Company. The Company believes that it has meritorious defenses to the allegations contained in the lawsuits. The Company currently maintains product liability insurance with an annual deductible of $10 million.
Certain of the Company’s subsidiaries have been subject to tax audits by governmental authorities in their respective countries. In certain of these tax audits, governmental authorities are proposing that significant amounts of additional taxes and related interest and penalties are due. The Company and its tax advisors believe that there are substantial defenses to their allegations that additional taxes are owed, and the Company is vigorously contesting the additional proposed taxes and related charges. On May 7, 2010, the Company received an assessment from the Mexican Tax Administration Service in an amount equivalent to approximately $89 million, translated at the period ended spot rate, for various items, the majority of which was Value Added Tax, or VAT, allegedly owed on certain of the Company’s products imported into Mexico during the years 2005 and 2006. This assessment is subject to interest and inflationary adjustments. On July 8, 2010, the Company initiated a formal administrative appeal process. On May 13, 2011, the Mexican Tax Administration Service issued a resolution on the Company’s administrative appeal. The resolution nullified the assessment. Since the Mexican Tax Administration Service can further review the tax audit findings and re-issue some or all of the original assessment, the Company commenced litigation in the Tax Court of Mexico in August 2011 to dispute the assertions made by the Mexican Tax Administration Service in the case. The Mexican Tax Administration Service filed a response which was received by the Company in April 2012. The response challenged the assertions that the Company made in its August 2011 filing.
The Mexican Tax Administration Service commenced audits of the Company’s Mexican subsidiaries for the period from January to September 2007 and the 2011 year. On October 19, 2012, the Mexican Tax Administration Service issued a preliminary audit report for the 2007 period which primarily focused on VAT allegations. The final audit report is expected to be issued before the end of the year. Generally, any assessment would be issued after the final audit report.
Prior to the nullification of the assessment relating to the 2005 and 2006 years the Company entered into agreements with certain insurance companies to allow for the potential issuance of surety bonds in support of its appeal of the assessment. Such surety bonds, if issued, would not affect the availability of the Company’s Credit Facility. These arrangements with the insurance companies remain in place in the event that the assessment is re-issued. The Company has not recognized a loss as the Company, based on its analysis and guidance from its advisors, does not believe a loss would be probable if the assessment is re-issued or if any additional assessment is issued. Further, the Company is currently unable to reasonably estimate a possible loss or range of loss that could result from an unfavorable outcome if the assessment was re-issued or any additional assessments were to be issued for these or other periods. The Company believes that it has meritorious defenses if the assessment is re-issued or would have meritorious defenses if any additional assessment is issued.
The Company received an assessment from the Spanish Tax Authority in an amount equivalent to approximately $4.1 million translated at the period ended spot rate, for withholding taxes, interest and penalties related to payments to Spanish distributors for the 2003-2004 period. The Company appealed the assessment to the National Appellate Court (Audiencia Nacional). Based on the ruling of the National Appellate Court, substantially all of the assessment was nullified. The Company began withholding taxes on payments to Spanish distributors for the 2012 year. If the Spanish Tax Authority raises the same issue in later years, the Company believes that it has meritorious defenses. The Company has not recognized a loss as the Company does not believe a loss is probable. The Company is currently unable to reasonably estimate a possible loss or range of loss that could result from an unfavorable outcome if additional assessments for other periods were to be issued.
The Company received a tax assessment in September 2009, from the Federal Revenue Office of Brazil in an amount equivalent to approximately $4.2 million U.S. dollars translated at the period ended spot rate, related to withholding/contributions based on payments to the Company’s distributors during 2004. The Company has appealed this tax assessment to the Administrative Council of Tax Appeals (2nd level administrative appeal) as it believes it has meritorious defenses and it has not recognized a loss as the Company does not believe a loss is probable. The Company is currently unable to reasonably estimate the amount of the loss that may result from an unfavorable outcome if additional assessments for other periods were to be issued.
The Company received an order from a Rome Labor Court on behalf of the Social Security Authority on March 1, 2012, to pay an amount equivalent to approximately $6.9 million U.S. dollars translated at the period ended spot rate, for social contributions, interest and penalties related to payments to Italian distributors from 2002 through 2005. The Company has filed a writ with the Rome Labor Court appealing the order and the Social Security Authority filed a response brief. At a hearing on July 12, 2012, the Social Security Authority announced its intention to withdraw their claim as well as the order to pay the assessment. A hearing on this matter was originally scheduled for October 23, 2012 but it has been rescheduled for February 19, 2013.
These matters may take several years to resolve. While the Company believes it has meritorious defenses, it cannot be sure of their ultimate resolution. Although the Company has reserved amounts for certain matters that the Company believes represent the most likely outcome of the resolution of these related disputes, if the Company is incorrect in the assessment, the Company may have to record additional expenses, when it becomes probable that an increased potential liability is warranted.
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef