We are subject to a variety of litigation, tax and legal compliance risks. These risks include, among other things, possible liability relating to contract-related claims, government contracts, product liability matters, personal injuries, intellectual property rights, taxes, environmental matters and compliance with U.S. and foreign export laws, competition laws and laws governing improper business practices. In the event that we or one of our business units engage in wrongdoing in connection with any of these kinds of matters, we could be subject to significant fines, penalties, repayments, other damages (in certain cases, treble damages), or suspension or debarment from government contracts. Moreover, our failure to comply with applicable export and trade practice laws could result in civil or criminal penalties and suspension or termination of export privileges.
As a global business, we are subject to complex laws and regulations in the U.S. and other countries in which we operate. Those laws and regulations may be interpreted in different ways. They may also change from time to time, as may related interpretations and other guidance. Changes in laws or regulations could result in higher expenses and payments, and uncertainty relating to laws or regulations may also affect how we conduct our operations and structure our investments and could limit our ability to enforce our rights. Changes in environmental and climate change laws or regulations, including laws relating to greenhouse gas emissions, could lead to new or additional investment in product designs and could increase environmental compliance expenditures. Changes in climate change concerns, or in the regulation of such concerns, including greenhouse gas emissions, could subject us to additional costs and restrictions, including increased energy and raw material costs.
Our financial results may be affected by the outcome of pending legal proceedings and other contingencies that cannot be predicted. In accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, if a liability is deemed probable and reasonably estimable in light of the facts and circumstances known to us at a particular point in time, we make an estimate of material loss contingencies and establish reserves based on our assessment. Subsequent developments in legal proceedings may affect our assessment. The accrual of a loss contingency adversely affects our results of operations in the period in which a liability is recognized. This could also have an adverse impact on our cash flows in the period during which damages are paid.
For a discussion of these matters, please refer to Note 17, Commitments and Contingencies, in the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act contains provisions designed to improve transparency and accountability concerning the supply of certain minerals, known as conflict minerals, originating from the Democratic Republic of the Congo ("DRC") and adjoining countries. In August 2012, the SEC promulgated new disclosure and reporting requirements for companies who use conflict minerals in their products. Complying with these new disclosure and reporting requirements requires us to incur substantial costs and expenditures to conduct due diligence to determine the sources of conflict minerals used in our products. Moreover, these requirements may result in changes to the sourcing practices of our customers which may require the identification and qualification of alternate sourcing for the components of products we manufacture, which could impact the availability of, or cause increases in the price of, materials used in our products. We may face reputational challenges if we determine that certain of our products contain minerals not determined to be conflict free or if we are unable to verify the origin of conflict minerals used in our products through the procedures we implement. As there may be only a limited number of suppliers offering "conflict free" conflict minerals, there can be no assurance that we will be able to obtain necessary conflict minerals from such suppliers in sufficient quantities or at competitive prices.
The U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas issued a grand jury subpoena in 2011 to Plastic Fabricating Company, Inc. ("PlasticFab"), an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of the Company now known as Kaman Composites - Wichita, Inc., regarding a government investigation of record keeping associated with the manufacture of certain composite parts at PlasticFab's facility located in Wichita, Kansas. The subpoena requested information related to the period January 1, 2006, through June 30, 2008. During 2013, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Kansas notified PlasticFab that it may commence a criminal proceeding against PlasticFab but it expressed a willingness to explore a pre-charge disposition of the matter. PlasticFab has cooperated fully with the investigation and intends to continue to cooperate as it engages in further discussions with the U.S. Attorney's Office about this matter. Under present U.S. Government procurement laws and regulations, if indicted or adjudged in violation of procurement or other Federal laws, a contractor, such as PlasticFab, could be subject to fines, penalties, repayments, or compensatory or treble damages, or suspension or debarment on U.S. Government contract awards if warranted. Thus, as with any government contractor, an adverse outcome in a proceeding such as this could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our operations outside the United States require us to comply with a number of United States and international laws and regulations, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 (the "FCPA") and the UK Bribery Act. The FCPA generally prohibits United States companies or their agents and employees from providing anything of value to a foreign official for the purposes of influencing any act or decision of these individuals in their official capacity to help obtain or retain business, direct business to any person or corporate entity or obtain any unfair advantage. Because we operate in various countries, the risk of unauthorized payments or offers of payments by one of our employees or agents that could be in violation of the FCPA cannot be eliminated. While we have internal controls and procedures and compliance programs to train our employees and agents with respect to compliance with FCPA and other international laws and regulations, there can be no assurance that our policies, procedures and programs will always protect us from reckless or criminal acts committed by our employees or agents. Allegations of violations of applicable anti-corruption laws, including the FCPA and UK Bribery Act, may result in internal, independent, or government investigations. Violations of the FCPA and other international laws and regulations may result in severe criminal or civil sanctions, and we may be subject to other liabilities, which could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Our foreign business operations create additional risks and uncertainties, including the following:
Any one or more of these factors could have a material adverse effect on our domestic or international operations, and, consequently, on our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
We are exposed to risks that are unique to the products and services we provide. While we believe that we maintain adequate insurance for certain risks, insurance cannot be obtained to protect against all risks and liabilities. It is therefore possible that our insurance coverage may not cover all claims or liabilities, and we may be forced to bear substantial unanticipated costs.
In 2010, the United States federal government enacted comprehensive health care reform legislation. Due to the breadth and complexity of this legislation, as well as the phased-in nature of its implementation and lack of interpretive guidance, it is difficult for the Company to predict the overall effects it will have on our business over the coming years. It is possible that our operating results could be adversely affected by increased costs, expanded liability exposure and requirements that change the ways we provide healthcare and other benefits to our employees.
Our business may be impacted by disruptions including, but not limited to, threats to physical security, information technology attacks or failures, damaging weather or other acts of nature and pandemics or other public health crises. Any of these disruptions could affect our internal operations or services provided to customers, and could impact our sales, increase our expenses or adversely affect our reputation or our stock price. We have developed and are implementing business continuity plans for each of our businesses, in order to mitigate the effects disruptions may have on our financial results.
We have experienced, and may in the future experience, significant fluctuations in our quarterly operating results caused by a variety of factors. These factors include but are not limited to:
Most of our expenses are relatively fixed in the short-term, including costs of personnel and facilities, and are not easily reduced. Thus, an unexpected reduction in our revenue, or failure to achieve an anticipated rate of growth, could have a material adverse effect on our profitability. If our operating results do not meet the expectations of investors, our stock price may decline.