Contingencies, commitments and operating risks

28.1 Legal proceedings

From time to time and in the normal course of business, claims against the Group are received. On the basis of its own estimates and both internal and external professional advice, the management is of the opinion that there are no current legal proceedings or other claims outstanding that could have a material effect on the results of operations or financial position of the Group which have not been disclosed in these consolidated financial statements.

28.2 Tax legislation

Laws and regulations affecting business in the Russian Federation continue to change rapidly. Management’s interpretation of such legislation as applied to the activity of the Group may be challenged by the relevant regional and federal authorities. Recent events suggest that the tax authorities are taking a more assertive position in their interpretation of the legislation and assessments and as a result, it is possible that transactions and activities that have not been challenged in the past may be challenged. Fiscal periods generally remain open to tax audit by the authorities in respect of taxes for three calendar years preceding the year of tax audit. Under certain circumstances reviews may cover longer periods. Management believes that it has provided adequately for tax liabilities based on its interpretations of tax legislation. However, the relevant authorities may have differing interpretations, and the effects on the consolidated financial statements could be significant.

According to the amendments introduced into the Russian tax legislation, the undistributed profits of the Group foreign subsidiaries, recognised as controlled foreign companies, may result in an increase of the tax base of the controlling entities. According to current forecasts the profits of controlled foreign companies is not subject to inclusion into the tax base of the Company. Despite the fact that the Group has developed a tax planning strategy with regard to the legislation on controlled foreign companies applicable to the Group foreign subsidiaries, the management of the Group does not exclude the fiscal approach of regulating authorities to the order of determination of taxable profits in controlling entities of the Group in Russia.

28.3 Insurance policies

The Company generally enters into insurance agreements when it is required by statutory legislation. The insurance agreements do not cover the risks of damage to third parties’ property resulting from the Group’s underground activities and the risks reflected in Note 5.

28.4 Environmental matters

The enforcement of environmental regulation in the Russian Federation is evolving and the enforcement posture of government authorities is continually being reconsidered. The Group periodically evaluates its obligations under environmental regulations. In the current enforcement climate under existing legislation, management believes that there are no significant liabilities for environmental damage due to legal requirements except for those mentioned in Note 5. The Group's mining activities and the recent mine flooding may cause subsidence that may affect the Group's facilities, and those of the cities of Berezniki and Solikamsk, State organisations and others.

28.5 Operating environment of the Group

Emerging markets such as Russia are subject to different risks than more developed markets, including economic, political and social, and legal and legislative risks. Laws and regulations affecting businesses in Russia continue to change rapidly, tax and regulatory frameworks are subject to varying interpretations. The future economic direction of Russia is heavily influenced by the fiscal and monetary policies adopted by the government, together with developments in the legal, regulatory, and political environment.

The Russian Federation produces and exports large volumes of oil and gas, its economy is particularly sensitive to the price of oil and gas on the world market. During 2014, the oil price decreased significantly.

Starting from March 2014, sanctions have been imposed in several packages by the U.S. and the E.U. on certain Russian officials, businessmen and companies. This led to reduced access of the Russian businesses to international capital markets.

The impact of further economic and political developments on future operations and financial position of the Group might be significant.

28.6 Capital expenditure commitments

As at 31 December 2016 the Group had contractual commitments for the purchase of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets for US$ 425,742 (31 December 2015: US$ 480,484) and US$ 274 (31 December 2015: US$ 1,760) from third parties, respectively. As at 31 December 2016, the Group had no contractual commitments for the purchase of property, plant and equipment from related parties (31 December 2015: US$ 835).

The Group has already allocated the necessary resources in respect of these commitments. The Group believes that future net income and funding will be sufficient to cover these and any similar commitments.

28.7 Operating lease commitments

As at 31 December 2016 and 2015 the Group leased property, plant and equipment, mainly land plots. The future minimum lease payments under non-cancellable operating leases are as follows:

  2016 2015
Not later than 1 year 3,198 1,677
Later than 1 year and not later than 5 years 9,958 6,960
Later than 5 years 16,074 29,188
Total operating lease commitments 29,230 37,825