COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
|12 Months Ended|
Dec. 31, 2018
|Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]|
|COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES||
COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
The Company’s unfunded capital commitments as of December 31, 2018 consisted primarily of agreements to purchase helicopters and totaled $81.1 million, of which $70.2 million is payable in 2019 with the balance payable through 2020. The Company also had $1.3 million of deposits paid on options not yet exercised. The Company may terminate all of its total commitments, inclusive of deposits paid on options not yet exercised, without further liability other than liquidated damages of $2.1 million in the aggregate.
Brazilian Tax Disputes
In connection with its ownership of Aeróleo and its operations in Brazil, the Company has several ongoing legal disputes related to the local, municipal and federal taxation requirements in Brazil, including assessments associated with the import and re-export of its helicopters in Brazil. The legal disputes are related to: (i) municipal tax assessments arising under the authorities in Rio de Janeiro (for the period between 2000 and 2005) and Macaé (for the period between 2001 to 2006) (collectively, the “Municipal Tax Disputes”); (ii) social security contributions that one of its customers was required to remit from 1995 to 1998; (iii) penalties assessed due to its alleged failure to comply with certain deadlines related to the helicopters the Company imports and exports in and out of Brazil; and (iv) fines sought by taxing authorities in Brazil related to its use of certain tax credits used to offset certain social tax liabilities (collectively, the “Tax Disputes”).
The aggregate amount at issue for the Tax Disputes is $14.5 million. The Municipal Tax Disputes are the largest contributor to the total amount being sought from Aeróleo, with approximately $10.1 million at issue.
In addition to the foregoing Tax Disputes (and unrelated thereto), Aeróleo is engaged in two additional civil litigation matters relating to: (i) a dispute with its former tax consultant who has alleged that $0.5 million is due and payable as a contingency fee related to execution of certain tax strategies; and (ii) a fatal accident that occurred in 1983 and was previously settled with the plaintiffs’ in the U.S. (the “Civil Disputes”). With respect to the fatal accident, the plaintiffs are seeking to collect additional amounts in Brazil despite the previous settlement agreed upon by the parties in the U.S.
The Company continues to evaluate and assess various legal strategies for each of the Tax Disputes and the Civil Disputes. As is customary for certain legal matters in Brazil, Aeróleo has already deposited amounts as security into an escrow account to pursue further legal appeals in several of the Tax Disputes and the Civil Disputes. As of December 31, 2018, the Company has deposited $5.4 million into escrow accounts controlled by the court with respect to the Tax Disputes and the Civil Disputes, and the Company has fully reserved such amounts subject to final determination and the judicial release of such escrow deposits. These estimates are based on its assessment of the nature of these matters, their progress toward resolution, the advice of legal counsel and outside experts as well as management’s intentions and experience. Aeróleo plans to defend the cases vigorously. As of December 31, 2018, it is not possible to determine the outcome of the Tax Disputes or the Civil Disputes, but the Company does not expect that an outcome would have a material adverse effect on its business, financial position or results of operations.
On November 21, 2016, the Company filed a lawsuit in the District Court of Dallas County, Texas against Airbus Helicopters, Inc. and Airbus Helicopters S.A.S. (collectively, “Airbus”) alleging breaches of various contracts between us, fraudulent inducement and unjust enrichment in connection with the Airbus marketing and sale of H225 model helicopters to us. On October 26, 2017, the Company added claims against Airbus for fraud and negligent misrepresentation, and on December 28, 2017, the Company amended its complaint to seek damages attributable to the impact of Airbus’ unlawful acts on the value of a H225 that the Company purchased from another helicopter operator.
On July 3, 2018, the Company entered into a litigation settlement agreement (the “Settlement Agreement”) with Airbus to settle all claims made by the Company against Airbus related to Airbus' marketing and sale, and the Company's purchase, of eleven H225 model helicopters. Pursuant to the Settlement Agreement, Airbus has agreed to pay the Company $42.0 million in cash and provide it with certain trade account credits that the Company may use for up to five years. The Company has agreed to release Airbus from any and all liabilities, claims, counterclaims, demands, complaints, costs, losses and expenses relating to the action and to dismiss the action with prejudice without any party admitting fault.
General Litigation and Disputes
In the normal course of business, the Company is involved in various litigation matters including, among other things, claims by third parties for alleged property damages and personal injuries. In addition, from time to time, the Company is involved in tax and other disputes with various government agencies. Management has used estimates in determining the Company’s potential exposure to these matters and has recorded reserves in its financial statements related thereto as appropriate. It is possible that a change in its estimates related to these exposures could occur, but the Company does not expect such changes in estimated costs would have a material effect on its business, consolidated financial position or results of operations.
Minimum Lease Payments
As of December 31, 2018, the Company leased certain facilities and equipment. These leasing agreements have been classified as operating leases for financial reporting purposes and related rental fees are charged to expense over the lease terms. The leases generally contain purchase and lease renewal options or rights of first refusal with respect to sale or lease of the equipment. The lease terms range in duration from one to ten years. Total rental expense for the Company’s operating leases for the years ended December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016 was $4.1 million, $5.5 million and $5.7 million, respectively. The Company’s scheduled minimum lease payments under operating leases that have a remaining term in excess of one year as of December 31, 2018 were as follows (in thousands):
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://fasb.org/us-gaap/role/ref/legacyRef