Telefonica S.A. – Annual report – 31 December 2018
Note 2. Basis of presentation of the consolidated financial statements (extract)
Translation of Telefónica Venezolana’s financial statements
Venezuela has been considered a hyperinflationary economy since 2009. We regularly review the economic conditions in Venezuela and the specific circumstances of our Venezuelan operations. Assessment of the exchange rate that better reflects the economics of Telefónica’s business activities in Venezuela relies on several factors and is performed considering all the information available at each closing date. On August 20, 2018 Venezuela introduced the Bolivar Soberano (VES), which replaced the Bolívar Fuerte (VEF) removing five zeros (1 VES = 100,000 VEF).
In light of the economic environment and in the absence of official rates that are representative of the situation in Venezuela, in 2018 the Group maintained its policy for estimating an exchange rate to match the progression of inflation in Venezuela and attempts to reflect the economic and financial position of the Group’s Venezuelan operations within its consolidated financial statements more accurately (hereinafter, synthetic exchange rate). Thus, the exchange rate used to translate the financial statements of the Venezuelan subsidiaries as of December 31, 2018 amounts to 7,608 VES/USD (36,115 VEF/USD as of December 31, 2017). The inflation rates applied by the Group to Venezuela for 2018 was 2,106,600% (2,874.1% for 2017).
The official reference exchange rate at December 31, 2018 was 638 VES/USD.
The following table presents the figures of Telefónica Venezolana in certain items of the consolidated income statement, the consolidated statement of cash flows and the consolidated statement of financial position of the Telefónica Group for 2018, applying the synthetic exchange rate:
(1) The financial result due to the hyperinflation adjustment to the net monetary position and from the exchange differences arising from foreign currency items held by Telefónica Venezolana (see Note 17) amounted to 219 million euros in 2018 (84 million euros in 2017).
(2) Deferred tax recognized for the inflation adjustments of the net assets, which are not deductible according to the present tax regime in Venezuela.
Change in accounting policy for the presentation of hyperinflation effects in equity
As a result of the consideration of Argentina as a hyperinflationary economy since July 2018 with retrospective effect to January 1 of that year, the Group has revisited its presentation policy for the equity effects of the hyperinflation situation that currently affects the Argentine and Venezuelan (since 2009) economies.
In order to present more relevant and reliable information, the Group includes in a single line item all the equity effects derived from hyperinflation, i.e.: (a) the restatement for inflation of the financial statements of the Group companies operating in hyperinflationary economies, and (b) the effects of translating their respective financial statements into euros using the exchange rate at the end of the period. The Group has decided to show these effects within reserves rather than presenting them under Translation Differences within Other Comprehensive Income, since it considers that this presentation criterion provides more reliable information for several reasons. In a market that operates according to the fundamentals of economic theory, the evolution of the currency exchange rate should offset changes in the purchasing power of the local currency derived from inflation. However, in hyperinflationary economies this is not always the case. For example, in the case of Venezuela, these effects are not offset because the official rates are not representative of the evolution of the country’s inflation rates (reason why the Group estimates a synthetic exchange rate that contributes to a faithful presentation of the economic and financial situation of its Venezuelan operations, as explained above). In addition, these equity movements are not generated by the companies’ activities, but arise from an accounting restatement, marked in turn by the evolution of the aforementioned economic metrics that are alien to the companies’ performance.
This change in the presentation criteria implies a reclassification from Translation Differences to Retained Earnings, and therefore the consolidated net equity remains unchanged. In accordance with IAS 8, financial information from previous years presented for comparative purposes has been restated so that the information is comparable. Consequently, the Translation Differences line item no longer includes the accumulated effects arising from hyperinflation in Venezuela, which have been reclassified for an amount of 3,141 million euros, 3,165 million euros and 3,493 million euros, at 1 January 2016, 31 December 2016 and 31 December 2017, respectively.
As this change in accounting policy is a reclassification within equity, the basic and diluted earnings per share figures are not affected in any of the periods presented.
Hyper-inflation in Argentina
In the recent years, the Argentine economy has shown high rates of inflation. Therefore, the Group has periodically assessed the quantitative and qualitative indicators of inflation in the country. Although inflation data has not been consistent in recent years and several indexes have coexisted, inflation in Argentina increased significantly in the second quarter of 2018 and data indicates that the three-year cumulative inflation recently exceeded 100%, which is the quantitative reference established by IAS 29 Financial Reporting in Hyperinflationary Economies. As a result, Argentina is considered a hyperinflationary economy in 2018 and the Group applies hyper-inflation accounting to its companies whose functional currency is the Argentine peso for financial information for periods ended after July 1, 2018.
The main implications are as follows:
• Adjustment of the historical cost of non-monetary assets and liabilities and equity items from their date of acquisition, or the date of inclusion in the consolidated statement of financial position, to the end of the year, in order to reflect changes in the currency’s purchasing power caused by inflation.
• The gain or loss on the net monetary position caused by the impact of inflation in the year is included in the income statement.
• Items in the income statement and in the statement of cash flows are adjusted by the inflation index since their origination, with a balancing entry in financial results within the statement of income and a reconciling item in the statement of cash flows, respectively.
• All items in the financial statements of the Argentine companies are translated at the closing exchange rate, which at December 31, 2018 was 43.30 Argentine pesos per euro.
• Figures for financial years prior to 2018 are not restated.
The main impacts in the consolidated financial statements of the Telefónica Group for the year 2018 of the aforementioned adjustments, are shown below:
Pursuant to the accounting policy described in the previous section, all the equity effects derived from hyperinflationary presented in Retained Earnings. As of 1 January 2018 the total impact in net equity amounts to 2,033 million euros, which includes the transferral of 3,147 million euros of translation differences arisen prior to the consideration of the economy as hyperinflationary, as a consequence of the full retrospective application of IAS 29.
Note 3. Accounting policies (extracts)
As stated in Note 2, the Group’s consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with IFRSs and interpretations issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the IFRS Interpretations Committee (IFRIC) as endorsed by the European Commission for use in the European Union (IFRSs – EU).
Accordingly, only the most significant accounting policies used in preparing the accompanying consolidated financial statements, in light of the nature of the Group’s activities, are set out below, as well as the accounting policies applied where IFRSs permit a policy choice, and those that are specific to the sector in which the Group operates.
a) Hyperinflationary economies
Venezuela is considered as a hyperinflationary economy since 2009. The inflation rates used to prepare the financial information are the “Indice Nacional de Precios al Consumidor de Venezuela”, published by the Central Bank of Venezuela, or the best estimate in case the final index is not available. On an annual basis, these rates are 2,106,600%, 2,874.1% and 511.1% for 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively.
The exchange rate used to translate inflation-adjusted bolivar-denominated items is the exchange rate as of the closing date of each reporting period, amounting to 7,608 bolivars per U.S. dollar (synthetic exchange rate, see Note 2), 36,115.28 bolivars per U.S. dollar (synthetic exchange rate) and 673.762 bolivars per U.S. dollar (DICOM) as of December 31, 2018, 2017 and 2016, respectively.
For the first time in 2018 Argentina is considered a hyperinflationary economy (see Note 2). In order to restate its financial statements, the Company uses the series of indices defined by resolution JG No. 539/18 issued by the Federación Argentina de Consejos Profesionales de Ciencias Económicas (FACPCE), based on the National Consumer Price Index (IPC) published by the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Censos (INDEC) of the Argentine Republic and the Wholesale Internal Price Index (IPIM) published by FACPCE. The cumulative index at 31 December 2018 is 184.85%, while on an annual basis the index for 2018 is 48%.
The exchange rate used to translate inflation-adjusted items denominated in Argentine pesos in the 2018 financial statements is the closing exchange rate as of December 31, which was 43.30 pesos per euro.
m) Use of estimates (extract)
Exchange rate and inflation rates used to translate the financial statements of our Venezuelan subsidiaries
We review, on a regular basis, the economic conditions in Venezuela and the specific circumstances of our Venezuelan operations. In light of the worsening of the economic and political crisis in Venezuela and in the absence of official rates that are representative of the situation in such country, at December 31, 2018 the Group maintains its policy to estimate an exchange rate that matches the progression of inflation in Venezuela and contributes to reflect the economic and financial position of the Group’s Venezuelan operations within its consolidated financial statements in a more accurate way.
Assessment of the exchange rate that best reflects the economics of Telefónica’s business activities in Venezuela relies on several factors and is performed considering all the information available at the closing date, and entails the use of assumptions and estimates and significant management judgment.
Due to inherent uncertainties in the estimates required to determine the appropriate exchange rate for the conversion of Venezuelan bolivar-denominated financial statements, actual cash flows denominated in such currency may differ from the amounts currently recognized on the basis of our estimates, as a result of changes in currency laws or changes in exchange mechanisms or published exchange rates that may have an impact on the conversion rate used for our Venezuelan subsidiaries’ financial statements, affecting the net monetary position of Venezuelan bolivar-denominated assets (liabilities).
In addition to this, Venezuela is considered as a hyperinflationary economy since 2009. Telefónica recognizes the effects of inflation by restating the financial information of its Venezuelan operation using the “Indice Nacional de Precios al Consumidor de Venezuela” issued by the Central Bank of Venezuela, or the best estimate in case the final index is not available.
Significant management judgment is required to determine the appropriate inflation rate where the official rate is not available. The estimates and underlying assumptions are based on careful consideration of factors that are considered to be relevant and rely on all the information available at the closing date. Actual results may differ from these estimates as a result of changes in circumstances and assumptions about future developments in Venezuela due to evolving market conditions, uncertainty about currency and operating restrictions or other circumstances arising beyond the control of the Company.