SEC Probing Honeywell Accounting for Liabilities

The conglomerate is now estimating asbestos-related liabilities at $2.61 billion as of Dec. 31, 2017, up $1.087 billion from its prior estimate.
Matthew HellerOctober 22, 2018

Honeywell has disclosed that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has opened an investigation into its accounting after it understated asbestos-related liabilities by nearly $1.1 billion.

The conglomerate said it had revised its accounting for the liabilities in the third quarter of this year following a review of its 2017 annual report by the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance.

“On September 13, 2018, following completion of Corporation Finance’s review, the SEC Division of Enforcement advised that it has opened an investigation related to this matter,” Honeywell said in a regulatory filing. “Honeywell intends to provide requested information and otherwise fully cooperate with the SEC staff.”

The accounting revision involved the time period associated with the determination of appropriate accruals for unasserted asbestos-related claims against Bendix Friction Materials, a vehicle-brake manufacturer that Honeywell sold in 2014.

“The prior accounting treatment applied a five-year time horizon; the revised treatment reflects the full term of epidemiological projections through 2059,” Honeywell explained.

Reflecting the correction, Honeywell’s estimated asbestos-related liabilities are now $2.61 billion as of Dec. 31, 2017, which is $1.087 billion higher than its prior estimate.

The company has also revised its 2017 reported earnings per share lower by 14 cents to $2.00.