The Company has issued a support letter to a surety institution for the issuance of surety bonds on behalf of group companies. The amount issued under this letter was CHF 282,345 thousand as of December 31, 2011 (CHF 281,145 thousand as of December 31, 2010).
Furthermore, the Company has keep-well agreements with certain group companies. A keep-well agreement is a shareholder agreement between the Company and a group company. These agreements provide for maintenance of a minimum net worth in the group company and the maintenance of 100 percent direct or indirect ownership by the Company.
The keep-well agreements additionally provide that if at any time the group company has insufficient liquid assets to meet any payment obligation on its debt (as defined in the agreements) and has insufficient unused commitments under its credit facilities with its lenders, the Company will make available to the group company sufficient funds to enable it to fulfill such payment obligation as it falls due. A keep-well agreement is not a guarantee by the Company for payment of the indebtedness, or any other obligation, of a group company. No party external to the ABB Group is a party to any of these keep-well agreements.
The Company through certain of its direct and indirect subsidiaries is involved in various regulatory and legal matters. The Company’s direct and indirect subsidiaries have made certain related accruals as further described in of the Consolidated Financial Statements of ABB Ltd. There could be material adverse outcomes beyond the accrued liabilities.
The Company is part of a value added tax group and therefore is jointly liable to the Swiss Federal Tax Department for the value added tax liabilities of the other members.