COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
|12 Months Ended|
Dec. 31, 2015
|Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]|
|COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES||
COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
The Company’s unfunded capital commitments as of December 31, 2015 consisted primarily of agreements to purchase helicopters and totaled $150.3 million, of which $38.9 million is payable in 2016 with the balance payable through 2018. The non-cancellable portion of helicopter commitments payable in 2016 is $13.4 million. The Company also had $1.5 million of deposits paid on options not yet exercised. The Company may terminate $123.6 million of its total commitments, inclusive of deposits paid on options not yet exercised, without further liability other than liquidated damages of $3.2 million in the aggregate.
Brazilian Tax Disputes
Aeróleo, the Company’s Brazilian joint venture subsidiary, is disputing assessments of approximately $5.7 million in taxes, penalties and interest levied by the municipal authorities of Rio de Janeiro (for the period between 2000 to 2005) and Macae (for the period between 2001 to 2006) (collectively, the “Municipal Assessments”). Aeróleo believes that, based on its interpretation of tax legislation supported by clarifying guidance provided by the Supreme Court with respect to the issue in a 2006 ruling, it is in compliance with all applicable tax legislation and plans to defend this claim vigorously at the administrative levels in each jurisdiction. In the event the Municipal Assessments are upheld at the last administrative level, it may be necessary for Aeróleo to deposit the amounts at issue as security to pursue further appeals. Aeróleo has received a final, unfavorable ruling with respect to a similar assessment levied by the Rio de Janeiro State Treasury for the periods between 1994 to 1998 (the “1998 Assessments”). The 1998 Assessments were upheld without taking into consideration the benefit of the clarifying guidance issued by the Supreme Court following the assertion of the claims. The Company currently anticipates that the final resolution of the 1998 Assessments, including any administrative fine or penalty, would not have a material effect on its financial position or results of operations. At December 31, 2015, it is not possible to determine the outcome of the Municipal Assessments, but the Company does not expect that it would have a material effect on its business, financial position or results of operations. In addition, it is not possible to reasonably estimate the likelihood or potential amount of assessments that may be issued for any subsequent periods.
Aeróleo is also disputing challenges raised by the Brazilian tax authorities with respect to certain tax credits applied by Aeróleo between 1995 to 2009. The tax authorities are seeking $1.7 million in additional taxes, interest and penalties. Aeróleo believes that, based on its interpretation of tax legislation, it is in compliance with all applicable tax legislation and plans to defend this claim vigorously. At December 31, 2015, it is not possible to determine the outcome of this matter, but the Company does not expect that it would have a material effect on its business, financial position or results of operations.
Aeróleo is disputing responsibility for $3.1 million of employer social security contributions required to have been remitted by one of its customers relating to the period from 1995 to 1998. Although Aeróleo may be deemed co-responsible for such remittances under the local regulatory regime, the customer’s payments to Aeróleo against presented invoices were made net of the specific remittances required to have been made by the customer and at issue in the claim. As such, we plan to defend this claim vigorously. At December 31, 2015, it is not possible to determine the outcome of this matter, but the Company does not expect that it would have a material effect on its business, financial position or results of operations.
In October 2015, Aeróleo received written notices of the assessment of $1.6 million in penalties by the State of Rio de Janeiro in respect of Aeróleo’s alleged failure to submit accurate documentation and to fully comply with filing requirements with respect to certain value-added taxes. Although Aeróleo’s review of the allegations remains ongoing, it has determined that the proposed penalties were calculated based on amounts containing a typographical error. Upon correction of the typographical error, Aeróleo expects a significant reduction in the amount of the proposed penalties. At December 31, 2015, it is not possible to determine the outcome of this matter.
Aeróleo is also disputing claims from the Brazilian tax authorities with respect to federal customs taxes levied upon the helicopters leased by Aeróleo and imported into Brazil under a temporary regime and subject to re-export. In order to dispute such assessments and pursue its available legal remedies within the judicial system, Aeróleo deposited the amounts at issue into an escrow account that serves as security and with the presiding judge in the matter controlling the release of such funds. Aeróleo believes that, based on its interpretation of tax legislation and well established aviation industry practice, it is not required to pay such taxes and plans to defend this claim vigorously. At December 31, 2015, it is not possible to determine the outcome of this matter, but the Company does not expect that it would have a material effect on its business, financial position or results of operations.
In the normal course of our business, the Company becomes involved in various other 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 management’s estimates related to these exposures could occur, but the Company do not expect such changes in estimated costs would have a material effect on its business, consolidated financial position or results of operations. As it relates to the specific cases referred to above the Company currently anticipates that any administrative fine or penalty ultimately would not have a material effect on its financial position or results of operations. Aeróleo has deposited $5.1 million into escrow accounts controlled by the court with respect to certain of the cases described above and has fully reserved such amounts subject to final determination and the judicial release of such escrow deposits. These estimated liabilities are based on the Company’s assessment of the nature of these matters, their progress toward resolution, the advice of legal counsel and outside experts as well as management’s intention and experience.
In April 2014, the Company entered into a settlement agreement with Airbus Helicopters (formerly Eurocopter), a division of Airbus Group (formerly European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company), with respect to the extended suspension of operations of H225 heavy helicopters in 2012 and 2013. The settlement agreement provides for certain service and product credit discounts, including credits that will be available to the Company for a period of four years from the date of the agreement to be applied against support services available from Airbus Helicopters covering spare parts, repair and overhaul, service bulletins, technical assistance or any other services available from Airbus Helicopters. During the years ended December 31, 2015 and 2014, the Company utilized credits in the amount of $5.0 million and $4.4 million, respectively. The Company expects to be able to apply the remaining service credits over the first three to six months of 2016, and such credits will be recognized in the Company’s statements of operations as a reduction in operating expenses in the periods utilized.
Minimum Lease Payments
As of December 31, 2015, the Company leased four helicopters and 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, 2015, 2014 and 2013 was $4.5 million, $4.4 million and $6.0 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, 2015 were as follows (in thousands):
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef