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Walmart sees profits being hit by bribery probe

Walmart Stores Inc said it is 'probable' that the world's largest retailer will incur a loss due to ongoing bribery investigations by itself and government agencies.

twitter-logoAssociated Press | March 28, 2013 | Updated 11:36 IST

Walmart Stores Inc said it is 'probable' that the world's largest retailer will incur a loss due to ongoing bribery investigations by itself and government agencies, but it says it is too early to speculate on the size of the damage.

The company said it does not currently expect the loss to be material. The statements came in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing late on Tuesday.

Walmart Stores has been dealing with allegations that surfaced last April that it failed to notify law enforcement that company officials authorised millions of dollars in payments in Mexico to speed up getting building permits and gain other favors. The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act forbids American companies from bribing foreign officials.

The company has launched its own investigation and is working with government officials in the US and Mexico. In November, the retailer said in a filing with the SEC that it was looking into potential US bribery law violations in Brazil, China and India.

In another filing on Tuesday with the SEC, Walmart Stores said that it expects to incur costs above the $157 million it spent on the probes in fiscal 2013 because of its ongoing review and other investigations as well as shareholder lawsuits.

It also said it is "probable" that it will incur a loss from the matters, but did not give an estimate on how much.

"Given the on-going nature and complexity of the review, inquiries and investigations, we cannot reasonably estimate any loss or range of loss that may arise from these matters," Walmart said in the filing.

The company said it does not currently think the lawsuits will have a "material adverse effect" on its business but said it is possible that could change in the future.

Shares of Walmart Stores Inc rose 1 cent to close at $74.78 on Wednesday.

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