Avon in talks to settle bribery probe

By He Shan
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, August 3, 2012
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A screen displays the price for Avon Products Inc. at the post that trades the stock on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, May 15, 2012.

Avon Products Inc. said on Wednesday that it has held negotiations with the U.S. Justice Department and the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), in the hopes of settling an investigation into the bribery of foreign officials.

The dispute centers on whether the beauty giant violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by bribing overseas officials in its foreign markets. The probe has so far cost the company nearly US$280 million in legal expenses and tarnished its reputation.

In its documents filed with the SEC on August 1, Avon expressed its hopes that the issue would be settled but failed to give any details concerning the talks with the regulator, and didn't state whether the company will be fined.

Avon's main motive for reaching a settlement is to reduce its legal expenses, which have come under the spotlight amid the company's slumping sales figures.

Avon reported a 70 percent drop in its Q2 report while its costs quadrupled to US$30 million mainly because of legal expenses.

Avon's new CEO Sheri McCoy said that the company will revamp its management team to improve sales, while financial institutions including Morgan Stanly believe that the outlook for the company's performance remains uncertain despite the anticipated changes to both its management and sales strategy.

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