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SEC Trends & Developments - Winter 2012 - Latest Comments from the Commission

"Latest Comments from the Commission" intends to highlight noteworthy quotes from recent SEC comment letters. For a complete listing of SEC comment letters and registrant's responses, please visit the SEC commission's website. 

Commitments and Contingencies

We note the following disclosure… "The Company believes that it has adequate legal defenses and believes that it is remote that the ultimate dispositions of these actions will have a material effect on the Company's financial position, results of operations, or cash flows." Please note that when a loss contingency exists, ASC 450-20-25-1 contemplates an assessment as to whether the loss is probable, reasonably possible or remote. Your disclosure appears to be an attempt in assessing the likelihood of a material loss on the Company's financial statement and not an assessment as to whether the loss contingency is probable, reasonably possible or remote. Please clarify for us and in your disclosure. Please make the required assessment for each of your current loss contingencies. If there is at least a reasonable possibility that a loss exceeding amounts already recognized may have been incurred, in your next periodic filing, please either disclose an estimate (or, if true, state that the estimate is immaterial in lieu of providing quantified amounts) of the additional loss or range of loss, or state that such an estimate cannot be made and why. Please refer to ASC 450-20-50.

Risk Factors

As a public company, your auditor is required by law to undergo regular Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) inspections to assess its compliance with U.S. law and professional standards in connection with its audits of financial statements filed with the SEC. The PCAOB, however, currently is unable to inspect the audit work and practices of your auditor.

As a result of this obstacle, investors in U.S. markets who rely on your auditor's audit reports are deprived of the benefits of PCAOB inspections of auditors. Therefore, please state this fact under a separate risk factor heading. Explain that this lack of inspection prevents the PCAOB from regularly evaluating your auditor's audits and its quality control procedures.

General

We note from public media sources and your website that you may have operations in, or accounts associated with, Cuba, Iran, Syria and Sudan, countries identified as state sponsors of terrorism by the U.S. State Department and subject to sanctions administered by the U.S. Commerce Department's Bureau of Industry and Security and the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control. We note that the Form 10-K does not contain any information relating to operations in, or ties to, Cuba, Iran, Syria or Sudan. Please describe your operations in and contacts with these countries, if any, and discuss their materiality to you in light of the countries' status as state sponsors of terrorism. Please also discuss whether the operations, either individually or in the aggregate, constitute a material investment risk to your security holders. Your response should describe your current, past and anticipated operations in, and contacts with, Cuba, Iran, Syria and Sudan, including through subsidiaries, affiliates, correspondent banks and other direct and indirect arrangements.

In this regard, we note that Arizona and Louisiana have adopted legislation requiring their state retirement systems to prepare reports regarding state pension fund assets invested in, and/or permitting divestment of state pension fund assets from, companies that do business with countries identified as state sponsors of terrorism. The Pennsylvania legislature has adopted a resolution directing its Legislative Budget and Finance Committee to report annually to the General Assembly regarding state funds invested in companies that have ties to terrorist-sponsoring countries. Illinois, Oregon and New Jersey have adopted, and other states are considering, legislation prohibiting the investment of certain state assets in, and/or requiring the divestment of certain state assets from, companies that do business with Sudan. Harvard University, Stanford University, the University of California and other academic institutions have adopted policies prohibiting investment in, and/or requiring divestment from, companies that do business with Sudan. Florida requires issuers to disclose in their prospectuses any business contacts with Cuba or persons located in Cuba. Your materiality analysis should address the potential impact of the investor sentiment evidenced by the referenced legislative actions directed toward companies operating in Cuba, Iran, Syria and Sudan.

SEC Trends & Developments - Winter 2012 Issue

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