|Print Page | Close Window|
|ALTRIA GROUP, INC. filed this Form 8-K on 02/01/2018|
Altria Group, Inc. and Subsidiaries
Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements
the Distribution Agreement between Altria Group, Inc. and PMI that provides for indemnities for certain liabilities concerning tobacco products.
▪Settlements of Health Care Cost Recovery Litigation: In November 1998, PM USA and certain other tobacco product manufacturers entered into the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement (the “MSA”) with 46 states, the District of Columbia and certain U.S. territories to settle asserted and unasserted health care cost recovery and other claims. PM USA and certain other tobacco product manufacturers had previously entered into agreements to settle similar claims brought by Mississippi, Florida, Texas and Minnesota (together with the MSA, the “State Settlement Agreements”). The State Settlement Agreements require that the original participating manufacturers or “OPMs” (now PM USA and R.J. Reynolds and, with respect to certain brands, ITG Brands, LLC (“ITG”)) make annual payments of approximately $9.4 billion, subject to adjustments for several factors, including inflation, market share and industry volume. In addition, the OPMs are required to pay settling plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees, subject to an annual cap of $500 million. For the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, the aggregate amount recorded in cost of sales with respect to the State Settlement Agreements was approximately $4.5 billion, $4.6 billion and $4.5 billion, respectively. These amounts include PM USA’s estimate of amounts related to NPM Adjustments discussed below.
The State Settlement Agreements also include advertising and marketing restrictions, require public disclosure of certain industry documents, limit challenges to certain tobacco control and underage use laws, and restrict lobbying activities.
▪NPM Adjustment Disputes: The MSA provides for potential downward adjustments to MSA payments (the “NPM Adjustment”) made by the OPMs and those manufacturers that are subsequent signatories to the MSA (collectively, the “participating manufacturers” or “PMs”). PM USA is participating in proceedings regarding the NPM Adjustment for 2003-2016. The NPM Adjustment is a reduction in MSA payments that applies if the PMs collectively lose at least a specified level of market share to non-participating manufacturers since 1997, subject to certain conditions and defenses. The independent auditor (the “IA”) appointed under the MSA calculates the maximum amount of the NPM Adjustment, if any, for each year.
2003-2015 NPM Adjustment Disputes - Settlement with 26 States and Territories and Settlement with New York. PM USA has entered into two settlements of NPM Adjustment disputes with a total of 27 states and territories. The first settlement was originally entered into in 2012 with 19 states and territories and has been subsequently expanded to include a total of 26 of the 52 MSA states and territories (the “signatory states”). In the first settlement, PM USA settled the NPM Adjustment disputes for 2003-2015 with these 26 states in exchange for a total of $740 million. In the second settlement, related specifically to New
York, which was entered into in 2015, PM USA received approximately $170 million for 2004-2015. Both settlements also resolved certain disputes regarding the application of the NPM Adjustment going forward.
2003 and Subsequent NPM Adjustment Disputes - Continuing Disputes with States that have not Settled.
▪2003 NPM Adjustment. In September 2013, an arbitration panel issued rulings regarding the 15 states and territories that remained in the arbitration, ruling that six of them did not establish valid defenses to the NPM Adjustment for 2003. Two of these states later joined the first settlement discussed above. With respect to the remaining four states, following the outcome of challenges in state courts, PM USA ultimately recorded $74 million primarily as a reduction to cost of sales. Two potential disputes remain outstanding regarding the amount of interest and there is no assurance that PM USA will prevail in either of these disputes.
▪2004 and Subsequent NPM Adjustments. PM USA has continued to pursue the NPM Adjustments for 2004 and subsequent years in multi-state arbitrations against the states that did not join either of the settlements discussed above. New Mexico is currently appealing a trial court ruling that the state must participate in the multi-state arbitration for 2004. The Montana state courts ruled that Montana may litigate its claims in state court, rather than participate in arbitration.
The 2004 multi-state arbitration is currently pending with all of the states that have not settled other than Montana and New Mexico. Decisions are not expected until late 2018 at the earliest.
No assurance can be given as to when proceedings for 2005 and subsequent years will be scheduled or the precise form those proceedings will take.
The IA has calculated that PM USA’s share of the maximum potential NPM Adjustments for 2004-2016 is (exclusive of interest or earnings): $388 million for 2004; $181 million for 2005; $154 million for 2006; $185 million for 2007; $250 million for 2008; $211 million for 2009; $218 million for 2010; $166 million for 2011; $214 million for 2012; $223 million for 2013; $246 million for 2014; $292 million for 2015 and $296 million for 2016. These maximum amounts will be reduced, likely substantially, to reflect the settlements with the signatory states and New York, and potentially for current and future calculation disputes and other developments. Finally, PM USA’s recovery of these amounts, even as reduced, is dependent upon subsequent determinations regarding state-specific defenses.
▪Other Disputes Under the State Settlement Agreements: The payment obligations of the tobacco product manufacturers that are parties to the State Settlement Agreements, as well as the allocations of any NPM Adjustments and related settlements, have been and may continue to be affected by R.J. Reynolds’ acquisition of Lorillard and its related sale of certain cigarette brands to ITG (the “ITG brands”). In particular, R.J. Reynolds and ITG have asserted that they do not have to make payments on