Tidewater Inc. on Monday pre-announced a $4.35 million after-tax charge for general and administrative expenses “related to an agreement in principle with the United States Department of Justice to resolve the previously disclosed Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation.”
The Wall Street Journal and others noted that Tidewater said earlier this year it had reserved about $11 million for an expected FCPA settlement.
Why the different numbers?
In July, we talked about Tidewater’s nifty deal to settle the charges. It was one of about a dozen oil-and-gas-services companies dragged into FCPA compliance problems a few years ago by Swiss logistics giant Panalpina.
In its annual report for the year ended March 31, it said it expected a settlement soon with the SEC and possibly the DOJ.
The SEC settlement, it said, would require a total payment of about $11.4 million, consisting of $8.4 million in disgorgement and prejudgment interest, and a contingent civil penalty of $3 million. The disgorgement would be payable right away, while the contingent civil penalty would be due within 18 months, but only to the extent Tidewater has not paid a penalty to the DOJ for the same FCPA offenses.
So whatever Tidewater pays to the DOJ in penalties will be deducted from the SEC’s penalties (that’s why it’s a contingent civil penalty). That doesn’t mean Tidewater won’t pay more than $3 million in penalties to the DOJ. But it does mean it might pay the SEC $3 million less, depending on how things work out with the DOJ.