LAUDER SETTLES WITH IRS: The Estée Lauder Cos. has reached a settlement with the Internal Revenue Service on the firm’s federal income tax returns for the fiscal years ended June 30, 1998 through June 30, 2001. The settlement resulted in an increase to the firm’s fiscal 2006 income tax provision, and a corresponding decrease in fiscal 2006 net earnings, of $46 million, or 21 cents per diluted common share. In anticipation of the settlement, Lauder paid the U.S. Treasury about $70 million on June 30, 2006, reflecting the additional taxes and interest accrued during the period. Separately, during the fourth quarter, the firm received a favorable adjustment of $11 million in connection with repatriation of foreign earnings through intercompany dividends, as required by the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004, which offset the tax charge by $11 million, resulting in a decrease in fiscal net earnings of about $35 million, or 16 cents per diluted common share.
EXPORT BAN: The House has unanimously approved a resolution to extend a ban on all exports from Burma, also known as Myanmar, for another year. The measure also extends a framework to allow Congress to consider imposing sanctions in 2007 and 2008. President Bush signed a bill banning all imports — the bulk of which were garments — in July 2003 in response to a crackdown by the country’s military dictatorship on the elected opposition. Deteriorating human rights conditions had prompted U.S. retailers and importers to voluntarily halt business with Burma, where the military has invested in garment production.