35. Contingencies

35.1 Contingent Liabilities

The Group is currently in dispute with a lens manufacturer, Zeiss, who participated in, but did not win, the lens tender organized by the Group in 2012. Consequently Zeiss’ existing lens-supply contract expired on the contractual expiration date of 31 October 2013. Zeiss subsequently claimed that GrandVision’s termination of the agreement was unlawful. GrandVision intends to vigorously oppose these actions taken by Zeiss, and has not included a provision. Zeiss formally sued GrandVision France before the Paris Commercial Court on 10 April 10 2014, claiming damages of approximately €57 million on the ground of unlawful termination of the lens purchase agreement. As GrandVision is confident in their legal position in this dispute, no provision is recognized in the consolidated financial statements. A number of hearings took place in 2015 and the Paris Commercial Court declared itself not competent to hear this matter in its January 25, 2016 decision. Zeiss appealed this decision and the procedure is continuing.

Pursuant to Zeiss’ complaint, the French competition-law body DGCCRF (Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes’) visited the Company’s offices in France in November 2013 and requested documentation regarding GrandVision’s corporate structure and previous lens tenders. Following an interview with management in May 2014, the DGCCRF issued a report that is favorable to GrandVision.

As a multinational company being present in many jurisdictions the Group is involved in a number of tax proceedings. In November 2015 the Group received a report from the German tax authorities following their tax audit covering Apollo-Optik in the years 2008-2012. This report included findings and viewpoints of the tax authorities on German VAT aspects. Discussions and formalities are proceeding at this stage. The Group is contesting the viewpoints of the German tax authorities on the tax position and will defend its position vigorously, if needed in court. As the Group is sufficiently confident to sustain its position on this matter, no provision has been recognized in the consolidated financial statements. If the Group is unsuccessful in resolving this matter, the exposure, including the period after 2012, is €15 million.

35.2 Operating Lease Commitments

The future aggregate minimum lease payments under non-cancellable operating leases are as follows:

in thousands of EUR

31 December 2015

31 December 2014

Not later than 1 year



Later than 1 year and not later than 5 years



Later than 5 years





The lease commitments, excluding the impact of renewal options, relate mainly to the lease of stores and offices. For commitments related to associates please refer to note 18. The amount recognized in the Income Statement as rental expenses is €378,835 (2014: €344,961).