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Nate: 'How this will affect the bottom line is very much up in the air. While FCPA fines have been growing in recent years, there seems to be little consistency to how they are applied.'

Here's one take on the potential impact:
"An UBS analysis of previous FCPA violations show a typical investigation slogs on for two to six years with little day-to-day impact on the offending company’s operations. Past SEC and Justice Department penalties are usually about 1% to 2% of annual sales. In 2011, this would mean at least a $4.5 billion, or 77 cents per share, penalty for Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer and the biggest private employer in Mexico."

Sounds rather grim - maybe too much so?

"The greater impact will be on Wal-Mart’s Mexican growth. A slowdown in new store openings could mean a 5% decrease in growth, a $1.3 billion loss, according to the UBS analysis. Wal-Mart has beaten rivals to the Mexican market. Its store count there has soared 135% in five years, as the market now accounts for 6% of total revenue."
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