Operating and Financial Results

Operating lease commitments - Where the Group is the lessee, the future minimum lease payments under non-cancellable operating leases of premises, parking slots and cars are as follows:
December 31, 2014 December 31, 2013
Less than 1 year 284 618 195 936
More than 1 year and no more than 5 years 41 963 640 412
Over 5 years 1 152 206 182
Total operating lease commitments 327 733 1 042 530

Legal proceedings — From time to time and in the normal course of business, claims against the Group may be received from customers and counterparties. The Management believes that such claims may not have a material impact on its financial and operational activities and that no material losses will be incurred, and accordingly no provision has been made in these Consolidated Financial Statements.

Operating environment — Russia continues economic reforms and development of its legal, tax and regulatory frameworks as required by a market economy. The future stability of the Russian economy is largely dependent upon these reforms and developments and the effectiveness of economic, financial and monetary measures undertaken by the government.

In 2014, the Russian economy was negatively impacted by a significant drop in crude oil prices and a significant devaluation of the Russian Rouble, as well as sanctions imposed on Russia by several countries. In December 2014, the Rouble interest rates have increased significantly after the Central Bank of Russia raised its key rate to 17%. Russia’s credit rating was downgraded by Fitch Ratings in January 2015 to BBB-, whilst Standard & Poor’s cut it to BB+, putting it below investment grade for the first time in a decade. Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings still have Russia as investment grade. The Central Bank’s key interest rate decreased in February 2015 from 17,0% p.a. to 15,0%. The combination of the above resulted in reduced access to capital, a higher cost of capital, increased inflation and uncertainty regarding economic growth, which could negatively affect the Group’s future financial position, results of operations and business prospects. Management believes it is taking appropriate measures to support the sustainability of the Group’s business in the current circumstances.

Taxation — Some provisions of the Russian tax, currency and customs legislation as at present in force are defined not clearly enough, which frequently leads to different interpretations (that can be applied to the past legal matters), selective and inconsistent application and also in some cases to changes that are hard to predict.

The Management’s interpretation of such legislation as applied to its operations and activity may be challenged by the relevant regional and federal authorities. The tax authorities may be taking a more assertive position in their interpretation of the legislation and assessments, and it is possible that transactions and activities that have not been challenged in the past may be challenged. As a result, significant additional taxes, penalties and interest may be assessed.

The Group’s Management believes its interpretation of the relevant legislation is appropriate and that the tax positions of the Group will be confirmed.

Generally, taxpayers are subject to tax audits with respect to three calendar years preceding the year when the decision to audit was taken. However, completed audits do not exclude the possibility of subsequent additional tax audits performed by upper-level tax inspectorates reviewing the results of tax audits of their subordinate tax inspectorates.

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