Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)

Commitments and Contingencies

Commitments and Contingencies
6 Months Ended
Jun. 30, 2011
Commitments and Contingencies [Abstract]  
Investments in Affiliates and Other Entities
As described in Note 7, Quanta holds investments in several joint ventures with third parties for the purpose of providing infrastructure services under certain customer contracts. Losses incurred by the joint ventures are shared equally by the joint venture members. However, each member of the joint venture is jointly and severally liable for all of the obligations of the joint venture under the contract with the customer and therefore can be liable for full performance of the contract to the customer. Quanta is not aware of circumstances that would lead to future claims against it for material amounts in connection this liability.
Certain of the joint ventures in which Quanta participates are general partnerships, and the joint venture partners each own an equal equity interest in the joint venture and participate equally in the profits and losses of the entity. If Quanta has determined that its investment in the joint venture partnership represents an undivided 50% interest in the assets, liabilities, revenues and profits of the joint venture, such amounts are proportionally consolidated in the accompanying financial statements. As a general partnership, the joint venture partners are jointly and severally liable for all of the obligations of the joint venture, including obligations owed to the customer or any other person or entity. Quanta is not aware of circumstances that would lead to future claims against it for material amounts in connection with these joint and several liabilities.
In the joint venture arrangements entered into by Quanta, each joint venturer indemnifies the other party for any liabilities incurred in excess of the liabilities for which such other party is obligated to bear under the respective joint venture agreement. It is possible, however, that Quanta could be required to pay or perform obligations in excess of its share if the other joint venturer failed or refused to pay or perform its share of the obligations. Quanta is not aware of circumstances that would lead to future claims against it for material amounts that would not be indemnified.
Quanta leases certain land, buildings and equipment under non-cancelable lease agreements, including related party leases. The terms of these agreements vary from lease to lease, including some with renewal options and escalation clauses. The following schedule shows the future minimum lease payments under these leases as of June 30, 2011 (in thousands):
Year Ending December 31 —
Remainder of 2011
  $ 22,729  
Total minimum lease payments
  $ 126,478  
Rent expense related to operating leases was approximately $29.1 million and $55.2 million for the three and six months ended June 30, 2011 and approximately $28.1 million and $54.9 million for the three and six months ended June 30, 2010.
Quanta has guaranteed the residual value on certain of its equipment operating leases. Quanta guarantees the difference between this residual value and the fair market value of the underlying asset at the date of termination of the leases. At June 30, 2011, the maximum guaranteed residual value was approximately $116.8 million. Quanta believes that no significant payments will be made as a result of the difference between the fair market value of the leased equipment and the guaranteed residual value. However, there can be no assurance that significant payments will not be required in the future.
Committed Capital Expenditures
Quanta has committed capital for expansion of its fiber optic network. Quanta typically does not commit capital to new network expansions until it has a committed licensing arrangement in place with at least one customer. The amounts of committed capital expenditures are estimates of costs required to build the networks under contract. The actual capital expenditures related to building the networks could vary materially from these estimates. As of June 30, 2011, Quanta estimates these committed capital expenditures to be approximately $25.1 million for the period July 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011 and $6.8 million thereafter.
Litigation and Claims
Quanta is from time to time party to various lawsuits, claims and other legal proceedings that arise in the ordinary course of business. These actions typically seek, among other things, compensation for alleged personal injury, breach of contract and/or property damages, punitive damages, civil penalties or other losses, or injunctive or declaratory relief. With respect to all such lawsuits, claims and proceedings, Quanta records a reserve when it is probable that a liability has been incurred and the amount of loss can be reasonably estimated. In addition, Quanta discloses matters for which management believes a material loss is at least reasonably possible. Except as otherwise stated below, none of these proceedings, separately or in the aggregate, are expected to have a material adverse effect on Quanta’s consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows. In all instances, management has assessed the matter based on current information and made a judgment concerning their potential outcome, giving due consideration to the nature of the claim, the amount and nature of damages sought and the probability of success. Management’s judgment may prove materially inaccurate, and such judgment is made subject to the known uncertainty of litigation.
California Fire Litigation — San Diego County.  On June 18, 2010, PAR Electrical Contractors, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Quanta (PAR), was named as a third party defendant in four lawsuits in California state court in San Diego County, California, all of which arise out of a wildfire in the San Diego area that started on October 21, 2007 referred to as the Witch Creek fire. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection issued a report concluding that the Witch Creek fire was started when the conductors of a three phase 69kV transmission line, known as TL 637, owned by San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) touched each other, dropping sparks on dry grass. The Witch Creek fire, together with another wildfire referred to as the Guejito fire that merged with the Witch Creek fire, burned a reported 198,000 acres, over 1,500 homes and structures and is alleged to have caused 2 deaths and numerous personal injuries.
Numerous additional lawsuits were filed directly against SDG&E and its parent company, Sempra, claiming SDG&E’s power lines caused the fire. The court ordered that the claims be organized into the four lawsuits mentioned above and grouped the matters by type of plaintiff, namely, insurance subrogation claimants, individual/business claimants, governmental claimants, and a class action matter, for which class certification has since been denied. PAR is not named as a defendant in any of these lawsuits against SDG&E or its parent. SDG&E has reportedly settled many of the claims. On June 18, 2010, SDG&E joined PAR to the four lawsuits as a third party defendant seeking contractual and equitable indemnification for losses related to the Witch Creek fire, although a claim for specific damages has not been made. SDG&E’s claims for indemnity relate to work done by PAR involving the replacement of one pole on TL 637 about four months prior to the Witch Creek fire. Quanta does not believe that the work done by PAR was the cause of the contact between the conductors. However, PAR has notified its various insurers of the claims. One insurer is participating in the defense of the matter, while others have reserved their rights to contest coverage, not stated their position and/or denied coverage. One insurer filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division on April 15, 2011 seeking a declaratory judgment that coverage does not exist. On June 6, 2011 and June 16, 2011, two other insurers intervened in the lawsuit making similar claims. PAR is vigorously defending the third party claims and continues to work to ensure coverage of any potential liabilities. An amount equal to the deductibles under certain of Quanta’s applicable insurance policies has been expensed in connection with these matters. A liability and corresponding insurance recovery receivable of $35 million were recorded, with the liability reserve reduced as expenses are incurred in connection with these matters and the receivable reduced as these expenses are reimbursed by the insurance carrier. Additional deductibles may apply depending upon the availability of coverage under other insurance policies. Given PAR’s defenses to the indemnity claims, as well as the potential for insurance coverage, Quanta cannot estimate the amount of any possible loss or the range of possible losses that may exceed Quanta’s applicable insurance coverage. However, due to the nature of these claims, an adverse result in these proceedings leading to a significant uninsured loss could have a material adverse effect on Quanta’s consolidated financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
California Fire Claim — Amador County.  In October 2004, a wildfire in Amador County, California, burned 16,800 acres. The United States Forest Service alleged that the fire originated as a result of the activities of a Quanta subsidiary crew performing vegetation management under a contract with Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E). In November 2007, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) sent a written demand to the Quanta subsidiary for payment of fire suppression costs of approximately $8.5 million. The USDA recently communicated verbally that it also intends to seek past and future restoration and other damages of approximately $51.3 million. No litigation has been filed. PG&E tendered defense and indemnification for the matter to Quanta in 2010. The USDA, Quanta, its subsidiary and PG&E have entered into a tolling agreement with respect to the filing of any litigation and are exchanging information on an informal basis.
Quanta and its subsidiary intend to vigorously defend against any liability and damage allegations. Quanta has notified its insurers, and two insurers are participating under a reservation of rights. Other insurers in that policy year have not stated a position regarding coverage. Quanta has recorded a liability and corresponding insurance recovery receivable of approximately $8.5 million associated with this matter. Given Quanta’s intent to vigorously defend against the allegations and the potential for insurance coverage, Quanta cannot estimate the amount of any loss or the range of any possible losses that might exceed its insurance coverage. However, due to the nature of these claims, an adverse result leading to a significant uninsured loss could have a material adverse effect on Quanta’s consolidated financial condition, results of operation and cash flows.
Concentration of Credit Risk
Quanta is subject to concentrations of credit risk related primarily to its cash and cash equivalents and accounts receivable, including amounts related to unbilled accounts receivable and costs and estimated earnings in excess of billings on uncompleted contracts. Substantially all of Quanta’s cash investments are managed by what it believes to be high credit quality financial institutions. In accordance with Quanta’s investment policies, these institutions are authorized to invest this cash in a diversified portfolio of what Quanta believes to be high quality investments, which consist primarily of interest-bearing demand deposits, money market mutual funds and investment grade commercial paper with original maturities of three months or less. Although Quanta does not currently believe the principal amount of these investments is subject to any material risk of loss, the weakness in the economy has significantly impacted the interest income Quanta receives from these investments and is likely to continue to do so in the future. In addition, Quanta grants credit under normal payment terms, generally without collateral, to its customers, which include electric power, natural gas and pipeline companies, telecommunications service providers, governmental entities, general contractors, and builders, owners and managers of commercial and industrial properties located primarily in the United States and Canada. Consequently, Quanta is subject to potential credit risk related to changes in business and economic factors throughout the United States and Canada, which may be heightened as a result of depressed economic and financial market conditions that have existed over the past two years. However, Quanta generally has certain statutory lien rights with respect to services provided. Under certain circumstances, such as foreclosures or negotiated settlements, Quanta may take title to the underlying assets in lieu of cash in settlement of receivables. In such circumstances, extended time frames may be required to liquidate these assets, causing the amounts realized to differ from the value of the assumed receivable. Historically, some of Quanta’s customers have experienced significant financial difficulties, and others may experience financial difficulties in the future. These difficulties expose Quanta to increased risk related to collectability of billed and unbilled receivables and costs and estimated earnings in excess of billings on uncompleted contracts for services Quanta has performed. At December 31, 2010, one customer accounted for approximately 12% of billed and unbilled receivables. Revenues from this customer are included in the Natural Gas and Pipeline Infrastructure Services segment. No customers represented 10% or more of accounts receivable as of June 30, 2011, and no customers represented 10% or more of revenues for the three and six months ended June 30, 2011 or 2010.
Quanta is insured for employer’s liability, general liability, auto liability and workers’ compensation claims. Since August 1, 2009, all policy deductible levels are $5.0 million per occurrence, other than employer’s liability, which is subject to a deductible of $1.0 million. Quanta also has employee health care benefit plans for most employees not subject to collective bargaining agreements, of which the primary domestic plan is subject to a deductible of $350,000 per claimant per year.
Losses under all of these insurance programs are accrued based upon Quanta’s estimates of the ultimate liability for claims reported and an estimate of claims incurred but not reported, with assistance from third-party actuaries. These insurance liabilities are difficult to assess and estimate due to unknown factors, including the severity of an injury, the extent of damage, the determination of Quanta’s liability in proportion to other parties and the number of incidents not reported. The accruals are based upon known facts and historical trends, and management believes such accruals are adequate. As of June 30, 2011 and December 31, 2010, the gross amount accrued for insurance claims totaled $212.0 million and $216.8 million, with $158.8 million and $164.3 million considered to be long-term and included in other non-current liabilities. Related insurance recoveries/receivables as of June 30, 2011 and December 31, 2010 were $63.6 million and $66.3 million, of which $12.7 million and $9.4 million are included in prepaid expenses and other current assets and $50.9 million and $56.9 million are included in other assets, net.
Quanta renews its insurance policies on an annual basis, and therefore deductibles and levels of insurance coverage may change in future periods. In addition, insurers may cancel Quanta’s coverage or determine to exclude certain items from coverage, or the cost to obtain such coverage may become unreasonable. In any such event, Quanta’s overall risk exposure would increase, which could negatively affect its results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Letters of Credit
Certain of Quanta’s vendors require letters of credit to ensure reimbursement for amounts they are disbursing on its behalf, such as to beneficiaries under its self-funded insurance programs. In addition, from time to time some customers require Quanta to post letters of credit to ensure payment to its subcontractors and vendors and to guarantee performance under its contracts. Such letters of credit are generally issued by a bank or similar financial institution. The letter of credit commits the issuer to pay specified amounts to the holder of the letter of credit if the holder demonstrates that Quanta has failed to perform specified actions. If this were to occur, Quanta would be required to reimburse the issuer of the letter of credit. Depending on the circumstances of such a reimbursement, Quanta may also have to record a charge to earnings for the reimbursement. Quanta does not believe that it is likely that any material claims will be made under a letter of credit in the foreseeable future.
As of June 30, 2011, Quanta had $187.5 million in letters of credit outstanding under its credit facility primarily to secure obligations under its casualty insurance program. These are irrevocable stand-by letters of credit with maturities generally expiring at various times throughout 2011 and 2012. Upon maturity, it is expected that the majority of these letters of credit will be renewed for subsequent one-year periods. Quanta also had approximately $7.4 million in letters of credit outstanding under cash-collateralized letter of credit arrangements in addition to the amounts outstanding under the credit facility.
Performance Bonds and Parent Guarantees
In certain circumstances, Quanta is required to provide performance bonds in connection with its contractual commitments. Quanta has indemnified its sureties for any expenses paid out under these performance bonds. As of June 30, 2011, the total amount of outstanding performance bonds was approximately $1.6 billion, and the estimated cost to complete these bonded projects was approximately $682.3 million.
Quanta, from time to time, guarantees the obligations of its wholly owned subsidiaries, including obligations under certain contracts with customers, certain lease obligations, certain joint venture arrangements and, in some states, obligations in connection with obtaining contractors’ licenses. Quanta is not aware of any material obligations for performance or payment asserted against it under any of these guarantees.
Employment Agreements
Quanta has various employment agreements with certain executives and other employees, which provide for compensation and certain other benefits and for severance payments under certain circumstances. Certain employment agreements also contain clauses that become effective upon a change of control of Quanta. Upon the occurrence of any of the defined events in the various employment agreements, Quanta will pay certain amounts to the employee, which vary with the level of the employee’s responsibility.
Collective Bargaining Agreements
Several of Quanta’s operating units are parties to various collective bargaining agreements with certain of their employees. The agreements require such subsidiaries to pay specified wages, provide certain benefits to their union employees and contribute certain amounts to multi-employer pension plans and employee benefit trusts. Quanta’s multi-employer pension plan contribution rates are determined annually and assessed on a “pay-as-you-go” basis based on its union employee payrolls, which cannot be determined for future periods because the location and number of union employees that Quanta employs at any given time and the plans in which they may participate vary depending on the projects Quanta has ongoing at any time and the need for union resources in connection with those projects. The collective bargaining agreements expire at various times and have typically been renegotiated and renewed on terms similar to those in the expiring agreements.
The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended by the Multi-Employer Pension Plan Amendments Act of 1980, imposes certain liabilities upon employers who are contributors to a multi-employer plan in the event of the employer’s withdrawal from, or upon termination of, such plan. None of Quanta’s operating units have any current plans to withdraw from these plans. In addition, the Pension Protection Act of 2006 added new funding rules generally applicable to plan years beginning after 2007 for multi-employer plans that are classified as “endangered,” “seriously endangered,” or “critical” status. For a plan in critical status, additional required contributions and benefit reductions may apply. A number of plans to which Quanta operating units contribute or may contribute in the future are in “critical” status. Certain of these plans may require additional contributions, generally in the form of a surcharge on future benefit contributions required for future work performed by union employees covered by the plans. The amount of additional funds, if any, that Quanta may be obligated to contribute to these plans in the future cannot be estimated, as such amounts will likely be based on future work that requires the specific use of the union employees covered by these plans, and the amount of that future work and the number of affected employees that may be needed cannot be estimated.
Quanta has indemnified various parties against specified liabilities that those parties might incur in the future in connection with Quanta’s previous acquisitions of certain companies. The indemnities under acquisition agreements usually are contingent upon the other party incurring liabilities that reach specified thresholds. Quanta also generally indemnifies its customers for the services it provides under its contracts, as well as other specified liabilities, which may subject Quanta to indemnity claims and liabilities and related litigation. As of June 30, 2011, except as otherwise set forth above in Litigation and Claims, Quanta does not believe any material liabilities for asserted claims exist in connection with any of these indemnity obligations.