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Vale Tax Dispute Ruling at Brazil High Court Slated for Nov. 26

Brazil’s Superior Justice Tribunal said it may rule on a decade-old tax dispute between Vale SA and the government on Nov. 26 before a settlement deadline.

The possible ruling date for $13.2 billion in taxes for profits from overseas units of Vale, the largest iron-ore exporter, was published today by the tribunal on its website.

“In our view, the November 26 settlement date throws Vale a lifeline ahead of the government’s deadline of its tax proposal to Vale,” Andreas Bokkenheuser, an equity analyst at UBS AG, said by e-mail. “Needless to say, a favorable ruling would ensure Vale materially higher bargaining power in its future tax negotiations.”

The South American country is asking Vale, the world’s third-largest mining company, to pay 30.5 billion reais ($13.2 billion) in taxes for 1996 to 2008, the company said April 2 in a U.S. regulatory filing. The Rio de Janeiro-based company expects Brazil to file additional claims for the years after 2008.

Vale’s press office declined to comment in an e-mailed statement. The company has enough time to make a decision on the possible tax settlement before the Nov. 29 deadline, Chief Executive Officer Murilo Ferreira told reporters on Nov. 7.

Brazil’s Congress approved in September a regulation that scraps fines, interest and legal charges if companies pay their debts in one tranche and reduces taxes and interest if they pay debt in installments.

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