22 Contingent liabilities and other financial obligations

The contingent liabilities and other financial obligations in the following table are not recognized in the balance sheet.






Guarantee obligations on behalf of associates and third parties





Outstanding orders for projects under construction















Guarantee obligations are principally related to VAT and duties on the one hand and to financing obligations of associated companies or related third parties on the other. Guarantee obligations will only lead to a cash outflow when called upon. At year-end, no obligations had been called upon. Most of the outstanding orders for projects under construction will be completed in 2024. Other relates mainly to contingent liabilities in contracts for catalysts.


dsm-firmenich has a process in place to monitor legal claims periodically and systematically. dsm-firmenich is involved in several legal proceedings, most of which are related to the ordinary course of business. dsm-firmenich does not expect these proceedings to result in liabilities that have a material effect on the company’s financial position. In cases where it is probable that the outcome of the proceedings will be unfavorable, and the financial outcome can be measured reliably, a provision has been recognized in the financial statements and disclosed in Note 18 Provisions.

In 2015, an award was issued against DSM Sinochem Pharmaceuticals India Private Ltd. (DSP India) in a protracted arbitration case in India going back to 2004 involving a joint venture that DSP India had formed with Hindustan Antibiotics Ltd., which suspended its operations in 2003. DSP India (renamed to Centrient Pharmaceuticals after divestment by former DSM in 2018) is covered by an indemnity from DSM B.V. for this case. In 2015, DSP India made an application with the Civil Court in Pune (India) to set aside the arbitral award. The award amounts to INR 127.5 crore (€14 million as at year-end 2023) excluding interest of 12% per year as of 2004. In 2019, former DSM provided the Bombay High Court a bank guarantee of INR 150 crore (€16 million as at year-end 2023). At the end of 2023, the application proceedings were still pending. dsm-firmenich views this case as unfounded and is of the opinion that the likelihood of the award being ultimately set aside is high. Therefore, no liability is recognized in respect of this case.

In 2019, Brazilian tax authorities disagreed with certain tax treatment as applied by the company in 2014–2016, which would have an effect on such prior year income tax returns of around BRL 100 million (€19 million as at year-end 2023), including penalties and interest. dsm-firmenich views this case as unfounded and considers that the possibility of winning this case is high, as confirmed by external legal counsel. Therefore, no liability relating to this case is recognized. During 2023 no relevant developments took place that alter this view.

In 2023, certain competition authorities commenced an industry-wide investigation into the fragrances sector. As part thereof, unannounced inspections were carried out at several Firmenich offices and Firmenich received a subpoena from the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice. The company is fully cooperating with the authorities. The investigations are expected to continue at least until next year. As per the date of release of this report, no further update on the status or outcome of the investigation is available. In addition, multiple lawsuits have been filed against the company in the USA and Canada relating to the investigations.


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