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Owens-Illinois signals no news on probe into potential bribery

By Ben Bouckley , 11-Dec-2012
Last updated on 13-Dec-2012 at 13:41 GMT

US beverage bottle manufacturer Owens-Illinois tells BeverageDaily.com it has no news on the progress of an internal enquiry into a case of suspected bribery announced in October.

Submitting a routine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing for the quarter ending September 30 on October 25, O-I revealed that it was conducting the internal investigation.

This related to conduct in certain overseas operations that, O-I said at the time, may have violated the anti-bribery provisions of the United States Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

No update as yet…

Fortune 500-listed company O-I said that it was exploring possible violations into its own internal policies and various local laws.

Asked how the investigation was progressing, an O-I spokeswoman told BeverageDaily.com today: “I’ve confirmed with our legal office that there isn’t an update on this matter just yet.

However, she committed to updating us with news as soon as it emerged.

In its SEC filing, O-I said it voluntary disclosed its bribery fears to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and SEC in October, and intended to cooperate with any investigation they may pursue.

“The company is presently unable to predict the duration, scope or result of its internal investigation, of any investigations by the DOJ or the SEC or whether either agency will commence any legal action.”

Criminal and civil sanctions possible

Both the DOJ and SEC could impose a broad range of civil and criminal sanctions under the FCPA that could include injunctive relief, disgorgement, fines, penalties, and modifications to business practices.

O-I warned that it could also be subject to investigation and sanctions outside the US, but was currently unable to quantify the impact of any potential sanctions or remedial measures.

But the firm said it did not expect such actions will have a material adverse effect on its liquidity, results of operations or financial condition.

You can access the O-I SEC filing in question here .

Early December saw O-I announce that it planned to spend €140m ($181m) on strengthening its European operations in 2013 to improve quality, sustainability and customer support capabilities.

Upgrades to furnaces and glass making machines will be made at French, German, Italian, Dutch and Czech plants.

Europe comprises around 40% of O-I sales, but the firm reported regional sales volumes down 10% in Q3 2012 year-over-year. European operating profit also fell 33% to $74m, but rose elsewhere in the world.

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