GOL intends to declare and pay dividends and/or interest attributed to shareholders´ equity, as required by Brazilian corporation law and our by-laws. The board of directors may approve the distribution of dividends and/or interest attributed to shareholders equity, calculated based on the Company´s non-consolidated semiannual or quarterly financial statements. The declaration of annual dividends, including dividends in excess of the mandatory distribution, requires approval by the vote of the majority of the holders of our common shares.
Regardless of the referred fixed amount, it is a assured the payment of the minimum dividend of 25% of the corporate years net profit, and if necessary, the Company will make the year-end supplementary dividend.
Given the current environment for the airline industry, the Board believes suspending dividends is in the Company and shareholders’ best interests. GOL has paid R$664.7 million in dividends to its shareholders since 2004. Within the context of our tax planning, we may in the future continue determining that it is to our benefit to distribute interest attributed to shareholders´ equity.
According to its dividend policy, the Company paid dividends in the first half of 2008. On August 6, 2008, the Board of Directors decided to suspend the dividends distribution for the end of 2008 and beginning of 2009. Regardless of the referred fixed amount, it is a assured the payment of the minimum dividend of 25% of the corporate years net profit.
On March 26, 2010, the board of directors approved the payment of dividends followed by a capital increase in the same amount as the dividends declared. Dividends in the amount of R$ 185.8 million (R$0.70/share) will be paid based on net profits for fiscal year 2009, pursuant to BR GAAP (Law 11,638), including deduction of legal reserves and accumulated losses.
Brazilian corporation law generally requires that the by-laws of each Brazilian corporation specify a minimum percentage of the amounts available for distribution by such corporation for each fiscal year that must be distributed to shareholders as dividends, also known as the mandatory distribution.
The mandatory distribution is based on a percentage of adjusted non-consolidated net income, not lower than 25%, rather than a fixed monetary amount per share. If the by-lawsof a corporation are silent in this regard, the percentage is deemed to be 50%. Under our by-laws , at least 25% of our adjusted non-consolidated net income, as calculated under Brazilian GAAP and adjusted under the Brazilian corporation law (which differs significantly from net income as calculated under U.S.GAAP), for the preceding fiscal year must be distributed as a mandatory annual dividend. Adjusted net income means the distributable amount after any deductions for the legal reserve and contingency reserves and any reversals of the contingency reserves created in previous fiscal years.
Brazilian corporation law, however, permits a publicly held company, such as us, to suspend the mandatory distribution of dividends in any fiscal year in which the board of directors reports to the shareholders´ meeting that the distribution would be inadvisable in view of the company´s financial condition. The suspension is subject to the approval at the shareholders´ meeting and review by members of the fiscal committee, if installed. While the law does not establish the circumstances in which payment of the mandatory dividend would be "inadvisable" based on the company´s financial condition, it is generally agreed that a company need not pay the mandatory dividend if such payment threatens the existence of the company as a going concern or harms its normal course of operations. In the case of publicly held corporations, the board of directors must file a justification for such suspension with the CVM within five days of the relevant general meeting.
If the mandatory dividend is not paid and funds are available, those funds shall be attributed to a special reserve account. If not absorbed by subsequent losses, those funds shall be paid out as dividends as soon as the financial condition of the company permits.
Interest Attributable to Shareholders´ Equity
Under Brazilian tax legislation effective January 1, 1996, Brazilian companies are permitted to pay "interest" to holders of equity securities and treat such payments as an expense for Brazilian income tax purposes and, beginning in 1998, for social contribution purposes. The purpose of the tax law change is to encourage the use of equity investment, as opposed to debt, to finance corporate activities. Payment of such interest may be made at the discretion of our board of directors, subject to the approval of the shareholders at a general shareholders´ meeting. The amount of any such notional "interest" payment to holders of equity securities is generally limited in respect of any particular year shall not exceed the higher of the two options below:
- 50% of net income (after the deduction of the provisions for social contribution on net profits but before taking into account the provision for income tax and the interest attributable to shareholders´ equity) for the period in respect of which the payment is made; or
- 50% of the sum of retained earnings and profit reserves as of the beginning of the year in respect of which such payment is made.
For Brazilian GAAP accounting purposes, although the interest charge must be reflected in the statement of operations to be tax deductible, the charge is reversed before calculating net income in the statutory financial statements and deducted from shareholders´ equity in a manner similar to a dividend. Any payment of interest in respect of preferred shares (including the ADSs) is subject to Brazilian withholding tax at the rate of 15%, or 25% in the case of a shareholder domiciled in a tax haven. If such payments are accounted for, at their net value, as part of any mandatory dividend, the tax is paid by the company on behalf of its shareholders, upon distribution of the interest. In case we distribute interest attributed to shareholders´ equity in any year, and that distribution is not accounted for as part of mandatory distribution, Brazilian income tax would be borne by the shareholders. For U.S. GAAP accounting purposes, interest attributable to shareholders´ equity is reflected as a dividend payment.
Under our by-laws, interest attributable to shareholders´ equity may be treated as a dividend for purposes of the mandatory dividend.
Payment of Dividends
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Amounts Available for Distribution
At each annual general shareholders´ meeting, our board of directors is required to propose how our earnings for the preceding fiscal year are to be allocated. For purposes of Brazilian corporation law, a company´s non-consolidated net income after federal income tax and social contribution on net income for such fiscal year, net of any accumulated losses from prior fiscal years and amounts allocated to employees´ and management´s participation in earnings, represents its "income" for such fiscal year. In accordance with Brazilian corporation law, an amount equal to the company´s "income," as adjusted (the "distributable amount"), will be available for distribution to shareholders in any particular year.
The distributable amount will be affected by the following:
- reduced by amounts allocated to the legal reserve;
- reduced by amounts allocated to the statutory reserve, if any;
- reduced by amounts allocated to the contingency reserve, if any;
- reduced by amounts allocated to the unrealized profits reserve established by the company in compliance with applicable law (as discussed below);
- reduced by amounts allocated to the reserve for investment projects (as discussed below); and
- increased by reversals of reserves recorded in prior years.
The Company´s by-laws do not provide for statutory or contingency reserves. Under Brazilian corporation law and according to our by-laws, GOL is required to maintain a "legal reserve" to which we must allocate 5% of our "income" for each fiscal year until the amount of the reserve equals 20% of paid-in capital. We are not required to make any allocations to our legal reserve in respect of any fiscal year in which such reserve, when added to our capital reserves, exceeds 30% of our capital. Accumulated losses, if any, may be charged against the legal reserve. Other than that, the legal reserve can only be used to increase our capital.
The legal reserve is subject to approval by the shareholders voting at the annual shareholders´ meeting and may be transferred to capital but is not available for the payment of dividends in subsequent years. Our calculation of net income and allocations to reserves for any fiscal year are determined on the basis of our non-consolidated financial statements prepared in accordance with Brazilian corporation law.
Under Brazilian corporation law, a portion of a corporation´s "income" may be allocated for discretionary appropriations for plant expansion and other fixed or working capital investment projects, the amount of which is based on a capital budget previously presented by management and approved by the shareholders in a general shareholders´ meeting. After completion of the relevant capital projects, the company may retain the appropriation until shareholders vote to transfer all or a portion of the reserve to capital or retained earnings. Brazilian corporation law provides that, if a project to which the reserve for investment projects account is allocated has a term exceeding one year, the budget related to the project must be submitted to the shareholders´ meeting each fiscal year until the relevant investment is completed.
Under Brazilian corporation law, the amount by which the mandatory distribution exceeds the "realized" portion of net income for any particular year may be allocated to the unrealized profits reserve and the mandatory distribution may be limited to the "realized" portion of net income. The "realized" portion of net income is the amount by which "income" exceeds the sum of (a) our net positive results, if any, from the equity method of accounting for earnings and losses of our subsidiaries and certain affiliates, and (b) the profits, gains or income obtained on transactions maturing after the end of the following fiscal year. As amounts allocated to the unrealized income reserve are realized in subsequent years, such amounts must be added to the dividend payment relating to the year of realization.
Under Brazilian tax legislation, a portion of the income taxes payable may also be transferred to a general "fiscal incentive reserve" in amounts equivalent to the reduction in the company´s income tax liability which results from the option to deposit part of that liability in investment in approved projects in investment incentive regions established by government.
Under Brazilian corporation law, any company may create a "statutory" reserve, which reserve must be described in the company´s by-laws. Those by-laws which authorize the allocation of a percentage of a company´s net income to the statutory reserve must also indicate the purpose, the criteria for allocation and the maximum amount of the reserve. Brazilian corporation law provides that all discretionary allocations of "income," including the unrealized profits reserve and the reserve for investment projects, are subject to approval by the shareholders voting at the general shareholders´ meeting and may be transferred to capital or used for the payment of dividends in subsequent years. The fiscal incentive reserve and the legal reserve are also subject to approval by the shareholders voting at the general shareholders´ meeting and may be transferred to capital or used to absorb losses, but are not available for the payment of dividends in subsequent years.
The amounts available for distribution may be further increased by a reversion of the contingency reserve for anticipated losses constituted in prior years but not realized. Allocations to the contingency reserve are also subject to approval by the shareholders voting at the general shareholders meeting. The amounts available for distribution are determined on the basis of our non-consolidated financial statements prepared in accordance with Brazilian GAAP.
The balance for the profit reserve accounts, except for the contingency reserve and unrealized profits reserve, may not exceed the share capital. If this happens, a shareholders´ meeting must resolve whether the excess will be applied to pay in the subscribed and unpaid capital, to increase and pay in the subscribed stock capital or to distribute dividends.
Pursuant to Law No. 10,303, net income unallocated to the accounts mentioned above must be distributed as dividends.