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. Zeiss formally sued GrandVision France before the Paris Commercial Court on 10 April 2014, claiming damages of approximately €57 million on the ground of unlawful termination of the lens purchase agreement. A number of hearings took place in 2015 and the Paris Commercial Court declared itself not competent to hear this matter in its 25 January 2016 decision. Zeiss appealed this decision and the French Court of Appeal confirmed the decision of the Paris Commercial Court in its 17 June 2016 decision. No additional procedural steps were taken by Zeiss. As GrandVision is confident in its legal position in this dispute, no provision is recognized in the consolidated financial statements.

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. 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 €19 million. Formalities are proceeding at this stage and did not result in changes in 2016.

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 2016

31 December 2015

Not later than 1 year

298,183

292,443

Later than 1 year and not later than 5 years

574,296

615,204

Later than 5 years

131,039

150,509

1,003,518

1,058,156

The lease commitments, excluding the impact of renewal options, relate mainly to the lease of stores, offices and vehicles.