Cost of compliance continutes to mount

Expenses related to Walmart’s ongoing Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related compliance matters will reach $200 million by the end of the first quarter, according to disclosures made Thursday in conjunction with the release of fourth quarter financial results.

In addition to the $99 million Walmart had spent on FCPA and compliance matters at the end of the third quarter, it spent another $58 million during the fourth quarter and said the first quarter could see expenses ranging from $40 million to $45 million.

Despite providing details on expense relating to FCPA and compliance issues that initially stemmed from bribery charges in Mexico, Walmart provided no insight as to when the matter would be resolved and offered few details on specific actions taken. However, executives did reaffirm their commitment to doing the right thing.

"My requirement is full compliance with all laws and regulations in the markets where we operate," said Wal-Mart Stores Inc., president and CEO Mike Duke. "’Doing the right thing,’" has been a fundamental principle since Sam Walton started our company, and it will continue to guide us for generations to come."

Duke said Walmart had made significant improvements to its compliance programs around the world in fiscal 2013 and took a number of specific actions with respect to the processes, procedures and people.

"We’ve spent thousands of hours and millions of dollars with compliance experts on anti-corruption support and training. We will have a world-class compliance organization."

Walmart International president and CEO Doug McMillon listed "world-wide compliance remediation," as one of his top priorities for the coming year.

"As Mike said, we’ve strengthened our compliance organization and programs around the world through processes, procedures and people that put us on track for a world class

compliance program," McMillon said. "On FCPA, we continue to work closely with anticorruption compliance experts to review and to assess our programs and help us implement concrete steps for each particular market. In the various markets, these experts have spent tens of thousands of hours on anti-corruption support and training. We remain committed to follow all laws and regulations in the markets where we operate."