Annual Report 2023

Annual Report 2023

30. Contingent Liabilities, Other Financial Obligations, and Legal Risks

(in € million)



Dec. 31, 2022


Dec. 31, 2023

Contingent liabilities





Liabilities under guarantees





Other financial obligations





Obligations under purchase commitments





Due within the next year





Due in 1 to 5 years





Other financial obligations

The aggregate nominal amount of the other financial obligations was €412 million (previous year: €90 million).

As of December 31, 2023, future undiscounted lease liabilities with a remaining term of up to one year amounted to €61 million (previous year: €61 million) and those with a remaining term of more than one year to €182 million (previous year: €140 million).

Lease expenses in 2023 include expenses for short-term leases of €27 million (previous year: €26 million), expenses for leases of low-value assets of €3 million (previous year: €2 million), and expenses from variable lease payments of €10 million (previous year: €6 million). Total cash outflow for leases in 2022 was €108 million (previous year: €102 million).

The future cash outflows from extension options, whose future exercise was not taken into account in the measurement of the lease liabilities due to the lack of reasonable certainty amount to around €98 million (previous year: €104 million).

Legal risks

The claim for damages from the liquidator of Schlecker e. K. following closed antitrust proceeding by the Bundeskartellamt, which has been pending since 2016, was rejected by the courts of first and second instance. Upon a complaint against denial of leave to appeal by the plaintiff, the appeal was granted without reasoning by the Federal Court of Justice (BGH). The BGH overturned the appeal judgment and referred the case back to the second instance for a new decision. The proceedings are also directed against six other companies. The claim for compensation, which involves joint and several liability of all defendants, amounts to approximately €200 million plus interest. Decisions on other claims for damages made in and out of court in connection with this concluded antitrust proceeding are pending. In one of these proceedings, the Schleswig-Holstein Higher Regional Court issued an indicative court order in which it provided indications on the concretization of a possible damage. Beiersdorf contests these claims.

The state of São Paulo is demanding retroactive tax payments of €86 million (previous year: €77 million) from our Consumer Business Segment’s Brazilian affiliates for the years 2005 to 2009. This amount has increased from the previous year owing mostly to interest and changes in the exchange rate. State tax authorities allege that VAT on imports should have been paid in São Paulo state instead of the Brazilian state of landing. All cases are in financial court proceedings. Potential claims for back taxes for the years 2010 to 2017 are now time-barred, which means no further notices demanding additional tax payments can be issued for this period. The Brazilian tax authorities also issued additional, in our view unjustified, VAT demands on at least a similar scale in relation to various matters. Our affiliates are appealing these claims through official processes. The Brazilian courts are not expected to reach a definitive decision in any of these cases for several years. The Group has provisions of €30 million (previous year: €27 million) for these cases.

Some of our affiliates are currently undergoing tax audits. In accordance with IFRIC 23, disputed tax items have been recognized with their most probable cash outflow. In one case, a liquidation loss that had been recognized was not accepted for tax purposes by the tax authorities in Austria. We filed appeals against the tax notices for the affected years. We are convinced that our view will prevail in legal proceedings. However, a final decision cannot be expected for several years. A final non-recognition of the tax-deductible loss would reduce Group profit by approximately €57 million (previous year: €47 million).

In addition, some of our affiliates are currently undergoing customs audits. The Group has recognized provisions of €10 million (previous year: €12 million) for the risks resulting from these audits.

Assessments of the course and results of legal disputes as well as tax and customs audits are associated with considerable difficulty and uncertainty. Results that differ from our expectations may have an effect on the amount of the recognized costs and provisions or liabilities. As of the balance sheet date, we assume, based on the currently available information, that no further significant charges for the Group are to be expected.

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