COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
|12 Months Ended|
Dec. 31, 2014
|COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES [Abstract]|
|COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES||
NOTE 15 - COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENCIES
On October 24, 2010, we executed a limited guarantee in favor of the Saudi Industrial Development Fund (“SIDF”) whereby we agreed to guaranty up to 41% of the SIDF loan to AMAK in the principal amount of 330,000,000 Saudi Riyals (US$88,000,000) (the “Loan”). The term of the loan is through June 2019. As a condition of the Loan, SIDF required all shareholders of AMAK to execute personal or corporate guarantees; as a result, the Company’s guarantee is for approximately 135,300,000 Saudi Riyals (US$36,080,000). The loan was necessary to continue construction of the AMAK facilities and provide working capital needs. Our current assessment is that the probability of contingent performance was remote based on our analysis of the contingent portion of the guarantee which included but was not limited to the following: (1) the SIDF has historically not called guaranteees, (2) the value of the assets exceeds the amount of the loan , (3) the other shareholders have indicated that they would prioritize their personal guarantees ahead of the corporate guarantee, and (4) according to Saui Arabian legal counsel, assets outside of Saudi Arabia are protected from the Saudi Court System. We received no consideration in connection with extending the guarantee and did so to maintain and enhance the value of our investment. Our non-contingent and immediate obligation to stand ready to make payments if the events of default under the guarantee occur was not material to the financial statements.
Operating Lease Commitments –
We have operating leases for the rental of over 270 railcars for shipping purposes with expiration dates through 2026. Invoices are received and paid on a monthly basis. The total amount of the commitment is approximately $6.6 million over the next 7 years.
We also have an operating lease for our office space in Sugar Land, TX. The expiration date for this lease is 2018. The total amount of the commitment is approximately $0.3 million. In addition we are required to make periodic payments for property taxes, utilities and common area operating expenses.
Future minimum property and equipment lease payments under the non-cancelable operating leases at December 31, 2014, are as follows:
Rental expense for these operating leases for the years ended December 31, 2014, 2013, and 2012 was $2.5 million, $1.8 million and $1.7 million, respectively.
On May 9, 2010, after numerous attempts to resolve certain issues with Mr. Hatem El Khalidi, the Board of Directors terminated the retirement agreement, options, retirement bonuses, and all outstanding directors’ fees due to Mr. El Khalidi, former CEO, President and Director of the Company. In June 2010 Mr. El Khalidi filed suit against the Company in the labor courts of Saudi Arabia alleging additional compensation owed to him for holidays and overtime. On December 29, 2014, we received notice that the labor court had rejected all of his claims except for holidays and end of service benefits and had awarded him a total of $495,000. Due to the size of the award and associated litigation costs, we have decided not to appeal this decision. This amount has been accrued and is outstanding at December 31, 2014, pending processing by the court. See Note 14.
Mr. El Khalidi filed suit against the Company in Texas alleging breach of contract and other claims. On July 24, 2013, the 88th Judicial District Court of Hardin County, Texas dismissed all claims and counterclaims for want of prosecution in this matter. On May 22, 2014, the Ninth Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal for want of prosecution. On September 19, 2014, the Supreme Court of Texas denied Mr. El Khalidi’s petition for review. On May 1, 2014, Mr. El Khalidi refiled his lawsuit against the Company for breach of contract and defamation in the 356th Judicial District Court of Hardin County, Texas. The case was transferred to the 88th Judicial District Court of Hardin County, Texas where it is currently pending. We believe that the above claims are unsubstantiated and plan to vigorously defend the case.
Liabilities of approximately $1.0 million remain recorded, and the options will continue to accrue in accordance with their own terms until all matters are resolved.
On September 14, 2010, South Hampton received notice of a lawsuit filed in the 58th Judicial District Court of Jefferson County, Texas which was subsequently transferred to the 11th Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas. The suit alleges that the plaintiff became ill from exposure to asbestos. There are approximately 44 defendants named in the suit. South Hampton has placed its insurers on notice of the claim and plans to vigorously defend the case. No accrual has been recorded for this claim.
Environmental Remediation -
In 2008 we learned of a claim by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) against World Hydrocarbons, Inc. for contamination of real property owned by the BLM north of and immediately adjacent to the processing mill situated on property owned by Pioche Ely Valley Mines, Inc. (“PEVM”). The BLM’s claim alleged that mine tailings from the processing mill containing lead and arsenic migrated onto BLM property during the first half of the twentieth century. World Hydrocarbons, Inc. responded to the BLM by stating that it does not own the mill and that PEVM is the owner and responsible party. PEVM subsequently retained an environmental consultant and a local contractor to assist with the cleanup. In June and July 2013 the contractor excavated and transported tailings from BLM property and other surrounding properties to an impoundment area located on PEVM property. PEVM completed the cleanup during the first quarter of 2014, and the contractor demobilized from the site. PEVM received a no-further-action letter (NFA) from BLM in July 2014. The environmental consultant submitted a report to the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection on the entire removal project including a neighbor’s adjoining property, and PEVM received an NFA in October 2013. We agreed to advance approximately $250,000 to PEVM for payment of the contractor and in return, PEVM will transfer interest in selected patented mining claims of equivalent value to the Company. An accrual for $350,000 was recorded by PEVM in 2010 in connection with the above remediation efforts, and approximately $179,000 was expended during 2013 and 2014. The remaining accrual of approximately $171,000 was reversed during 2014; therefore, no amount remained outstanding at December 31, 2014.
Amounts charged to expense for various activities related to environmental monitoring, compliance, and improvements were approximately $414,000 in 2014, $386,000 in 2013 and $404,000 in 2012.
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef