Transfer Pricing Compliance in Nigeria: What Next? - Part 3

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Transfer Pricing Compliance in Nigeria: What Next? - Part 3

Due to the unavailability of sufficient publicly available information, there is currently no commercial database of companies for Nigeria and other developing countries. There is therefore this reliance on foreign commercial databases for benchmark analysis of transactions in developing countries.

An essential part of the Transfer Pricing (TP) documentation process is that of finding and selecting closely comparable companies. Only comparable, independent companies can truly establish the arm's length nature of the intercompany transactions under review.

This process of finding comparable companies and the arm's length price they pay or charge on similar transactions is known as 'benchmark analysis'. Benchmark analysis in a TP documentation is mostly performed using commercial databases of publicly available financial information on companies. In a case where the chosen TP method is Comparable Uncontrolled Price (CUP) though, there may be no need for use of a commercial TP database.

Due to the unavailability of sufficient publicly available information, there is currently no commercial database of companies for Nigeria and other developing countries. There is therefore this reliance on foreign commercial databases for benchmark analysis of transactions in developing countries.

Unfortunately, companies in developed countries do not face similar economic and business risks as those in the third world countries; one would wonder whether the arm's length prices established from such benchmark studies actually represent the true arm's length situation for Nigeria.

Some of the commonly consulted TP commercial databases include:

  • Standard & Poor's Compustat North America: Compustat North America includes financial data on over 10,000 actively traded US companies, 10,400 inactive U.S. companies and over 400 Canadian companies.
  • Standard & Poor's Compustat Global Vantage: The Compustat Global Vantage database provides financial data for more than 25,000 mid-cap and large-cap companies including over 600 Canadian companies. This database covers publicly traded companies in more than 80 countries, representing over 90% of the world's market capitalization.
  • Bureau van Dijk AMADEUS: AMADEUS contains detailed information on over 200,000 public and private companies in 34 European countries.
  • Bureau van Dijk FAME: FAME contains detailed information on over 100,000 public and private companies of all sizes in the U.K. and Ireland. FAME covers all U.K. registered companies including those that have recently formed and have yet to file their first set of accounts.
  • Bureau van Dijk DIANE: DIANE is a database containing detailed financial information on 974,000 French companies with up to 10 years of history per company. Consolidated accounts are available for 2,000 companies.
  • Prowess Databases: Prowess is a database of large and medium Indian firms. It contains detailed information on over 20,000 firms. These comprise of all companies traded on India's major stock exchanges and several others companies including the central public sector enterprises.
  • Orbis - Bureau Van Dijk: This is a global database produced by Bureau van Dijk containing information on millions of companies around the globe (as opposed to Amadeus which contains European company information only). ORBIS is a global company database that is unique in its breadth of geographies and extent of companies covered as well as the availability of private company financial information (depending on the country in which the company is located).
  • Royaltystat: This is a database used to benchmark license agreements worldwide.

    It is advisable to use a global database in performing benchmark analysis for Nigerian companies since this mix of financial information from different companies around the world ensures a close fit to the economic and business circumstances of the comparable companies to the Nigerian tested companies.

    Deloitte in Nigeria uses the Orbis Bureau Van Dirk database, the same as the TP division of FIRS due to its wider coverage of financial information globally. This choice of the use of a similar database as the FIRS is also driven by the need for more congruence between Deloitte's arm's length results and those of FIRS in order to minimize conflicts that may potentially arise from TP audits
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