ArcelorMittal S.A. – Annual report – 31 December 2021
(millions of U.S. dollar, except share and per share data)
NOTE 1: ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES (extract)
1.2 Use of judgment and estimates (extract)
• Impairment of tangible and intangible assets, including goodwill (note 5.3): In the framework of the determination of the recoverable amount of assets, the estimates, judgments and assumptions applied for the value in use calculations relate primarily to growth rates, expected changes to average selling prices, shipments and direct costs. Assumptions for average selling prices and shipments are based on historical experience and expectations of future changes in the market. Discount rates are reviewed annually. In the context of its announced decarbonization strategy with the aim to be carbon neutral or comply with the legal obligation of carbon neutrality in certain jurisdictions by 2050, the Company applied estimates and judgments for related capital expenditures, operating costs and carbon emission cost on the basis of historical experience and expectations of future changes.
NOTE 5: GOODWILL, INTANGIBLE AND TANGIBLE ASSETS (extract 1)
5.1 Goodwill and intangible assets
The carrying amounts of goodwill and intangible assets are summarized as follows:
1. Includes 167 relating to emission rights in 2021.
Goodwill arising on an acquisition is recognized as previously described within the business combinations section in note 2.2.3. Goodwill is allocated to those groups of cash-generating units that are expected to benefit from the business combination in which the goodwill arose and in all cases is at the operating segment level, which represents the lowest level at which goodwill is monitored for internal management purposes.
Goodwill acquired in business combinations for each of the Company’s operating segments is as follows:
1. See notes 2.3.1 and 2.3.2
Intangible assets are recognized only when it is probable that the expected future economic benefits attributable to the assets will accrue to the Company and the cost can be reliably measured. Intangible assets acquired separately by ArcelorMittal are initially recorded at cost and those acquired in a business combination are initially recorded at fair value at the date of the business combination. These primarily include the cost of technology and licenses purchased from third parties and operating authorizations granted by governments or other public bodies (concessions). Intangible assets are amortized on a straight-line basis over their estimated economic useful lives, which typically do not exceed five years. Amortization is included in the consolidated statements of operations as part of cost of sales.
ArcelorMittal’s industrial sites which are regulated by the European Directive 2003/87/EC of October 13, 2003 on carbon dioxide (“CO2”) emission rights, effective as of January 1, 2005, are located primarily in Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Poland, Spain and Italy. In Ontario, Canada, ArcelorMittal’s operations have been subject to output based pricing system regulations since January 1, 2019 but starting January 1, 2022, they will be regulated on carbon pricing under the Ontario Emissions Performance System (“OEPS”). In South Africa, a CO2 tax system was introduced in 2019. The emission rights allocated to the Company on a no-charge basis pursuant to the annual national allocation plan are recorded at nil value and purchased emission rights are recorded at cost.
NOTE 5: GOODWILL, INTANGIBLE AND TANGIBLE ASSETS (extract 2)
5.3 Impairment of intangible assets, including goodwill, and tangible assets
Net impairment (reversals)/charges recognized were as follows:
Impairment test of goodwill
Goodwill is tested for impairment annually, as of October 1 or whenever changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount may not be recoverable, at the level of the groups of cash-generating units (“GCGU”) which correspond to the operating segments representing the lowest level at which goodwill is monitored for internal management purposes. Whenever the cash-generating units comprising the operating segments are tested for impairment at the same time as goodwill, the cash-generating units are tested first and any impairment of the assets is recorded prior to the testing of goodwill.
The recoverable amounts of the GCGUs are mainly determined based on their value in use. The value in use of each GCGU is determined by estimating future cash flows. The 2021 impairment test of goodwill did not include the GCGU corresponding to the Mining segment (as from April 1, 2021, ArcelorMittal implemented changes to its organizational structure (see note 1.1) as goodwill allocated to this GCGU was fully impaired in 2015. The key assumptions for the value in use calculations are primarily the discount rates, growth rates, expected changes to average selling prices, shipments and direct costs during the period. Assumptions for average selling prices and shipments are based on historical experience and expectations of future changes in the market. In addition, with respect to raw material price assumptions, the Company applied a range of $71 per tonne to $112 per tonne for iron ore and $144 per tonne to $240 per tonne for coking coal. Cash flow forecasts adjusted for the risks specific to the tested assets are derived from the most recent financial plans approved by management for the next five years. Beyond the specifically forecasted period, the Company extrapolates cash flows for the remaining years based on an estimated growth rate of 2%. This rate does not exceed the average long-term growth rate for the relevant markets.
The Company considered its exposure to certain climate-related risks which could affect its estimates of future cash flow projections applied for the determination of the recoverable amount of its GCGUs and CGUs. With the switch to electric vehicles and the move to wind and solar power generation, the Company sees additional opportunities as customers deepen their understanding of embedded and lifecycle emissions of the materials where steel compares favorably. ArcelorMittal’s most substantial climate-related policy risk is the EU Emissions Trading scheme (“‘ETS”), which applies to all its European plants. The risk concerns the Company’s primary steelmaking plants which are exposed to this regulation and yet unprotected against competition from imported steel. The Company is committed to the objectives of the Paris agreement and announced its ambition to reduce carbon emissions by 35% in Europe and 25% group-wide by 2030 and achieve group-wide carbon neutrality by 2050. These announced goals will require significant long-term investments which require global level playing field, access to abundant and affordable clean energy, facilitating necessary energy infrastructure, access to sustainable finance for low-emissions steelmaking and accelerated transition to a circular economy. In addition, the Company considered the legal obligation of carbon neutrality by 2050 effective within the EU and in Canada following adoption of the Climate Law and the Net Zero Emission Accountability Act, respectively. Accordingly, with respect to its flat steel operations in the EU and in Canada, ArcelorMittal concluded that future decarbonization capital expenditures, which correspond essentially to the construction of DRI-EAF facilities, are necessary to maintain the level of economic benefits expected to arise from the assets in their current condition and should therefore be included in the Company’s assumptions for future cash flows of the recoverable amount of the respective GCGUs and CGUs. At the same time, the Company is engaged in developing in the near to medium term a range of innovative low-emission technologies for the transition to decarbonized steel including the Smart Carbon route and the Hydrogen-DRI route and required investments are considered either in the Company’s future cash flow projections or in the context of joint ventures, as an element of the Company’s best estimate of capital expenditures which are committed and / or being implemented. The Company acknowledged that GCGUs and CGUs applying the blast furnace basic oxygen furnace “BFBOF” route in other jurisdictions than the EU and Canada will apply decarbonization at a different pace. They may also not yet be subject to a legal obligation of carbon neutrality, which would not allow to include future decarbonization capital expenditures in their value in use calculations. Accordingly, the Company increased risk premiums included in their discount rates until they are able to accelerate their decarbonization strategy to meet the 2050 carbon neutrality objective and a legal obligation arises in the relevant jurisdiction. Additionally, the Company’s assumptions for future cash flows include an estimate for costs that the Company expects to incur to acquire emission allowances, which primarily impacts the flat steel operations in the EU and in Canada. The assumption for carbon emission cost is based on historical experience, implementation of decarbonization strategies to mitigate or otherwise offset such future costs and information available of future changes. Due to economic developments, uncertainties over the pace of transition to low-emission technologies, political and environmental actions that will be taken to meet the carbon reduction goals, regulatory changes and emissions activity arising from climate-related matters, the Company’s assumptions used in the recoverable amount calculations, such as capital expenditure, carbon emission costs and other assumptions are inherently uncertain and may ultimately differ from actual amounts.
The assumptions used in the value in use calculations are inherently uncertain in the context of the ongoing presence and repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic and require management judgment. The Company’s process includes specific consideration given to the most recent short, medium and long-term price forecasts and discount rates consistent with external information, expected production and shipment volumes and updated development plans, operating costs and capital expenditure plans. Operating margins benefited in 2021 from a continuing strong price environment, favorable supply demand balance following a prolonged period of destocking and structural cost improvements sustained from the Company’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. While the restocking effect has run its course with inventories returning to normal levels, the Company expects real demand recovery to continue in 2022.
Management estimates discount rates using pre-tax rates that reflect current market rates for investments of similar risk. The rate for each CGU, including beta, cost of debt and capital structure was estimated from the weighted average cost of capital of producers, which operate a portfolio of assets similar to those of the Company’s assets and CGU specific country risk premiums were applied. GCGU weighted average pre-tax discount rates were as follows in 2021 and 2020:
Once recognized, impairment losses for goodwill are not reversed.
There were no impairment charges recognized with respect to goodwill following the Company’s impairment tests as of October 1, 2021 and October 1, 2020. The total value in use calculated for all GCGUs overall increased in 2021 as compared to 2020.
The Company did not identify any reasonably possible change in key assumptions which could cause an impairment loss to be recognized for any of its GCGUs.
Impairment test of property, plant and equipment
At each reporting date, ArcelorMittal reviews the carrying amounts of its intangible assets (excluding goodwill) and tangible assets to determine whether there is any indication that the carrying amount of those assets may not be recoverable through continuing use. If any such indication exists, the recoverable amount of the asset (or cash generating unit) is reviewed in order to determine the amount of the impairment, if any. The recoverable amount is the higher of its fair value less cost of disposal and its value in use.
In estimating its value in use, the estimated future cash flows are discounted to their present value using a pre-tax discount rate that reflects current market assessments of the time value of money and the risks specific to the asset (or cash-generating unit). For an asset that does not generate cash inflows largely independent of those from other assets, the recoverable amount is determined for the cash-generating unit to which the asset belongs. The cash-generating unit is the smallest identifiable group of assets corresponding to operating units that generate cash inflows. If the recoverable amount of an asset (or cash-generating unit) is estimated to be less than its carrying amount, an impairment loss is recognized. An impairment loss is recognized as an expense immediately as part of operating income in the consolidated statements of operations.
In the case of permanently idled assets, the impairment is measured at the individual asset level. Otherwise, the Company’s assets are measured for impairment at the cash-generating unit level. In certain instances, the cash-generating unit is an integrated manufacturing facility which may also be an operating subsidiary. Further, a manufacturing facility may be operated in concert with another facility with neither facility generating cash inflows that are largely independent from the cash inflows of the other. In this instance, the two facilities are combined for purposes of testing for impairment. As of December 31, 2021, the Company determined it has 58 cash-generating units.
An impairment loss, related to intangible assets other than goodwill and tangible assets recognized in prior years is reversed if, and only if, there has been a change in the estimates used to determine the asset’s recoverable amount since the last impairment loss was recognized. However, the increased carrying amount of an asset due to a reversal of an impairment loss will not exceed the carrying amount that would have been determined (net of amortization or depreciation) had no impairment loss been recognized for the asset in prior years. A reversal of an impairment loss is recognized immediately as part of operating income in the consolidated statements of operations.
Impairment charges and reversals relating to property, plant and equipment were as follows for the years ended December 31, 2021, 2020 and 2019:
In the second half of 2021, in connection with the Company’s annual test for impairment of goodwill, property, plant and equipment was also tested for impairment at that date. The Company reversed 218 of impairment charges which had been recognized in 2015 for the Sestao facility in Spain following idling for an indefinite timing. The impairment reversal results from improved future cash flow projections following restart of operations and the Company’s decarbonization strategy in Spain.
In 2020, the Company recognized a 133 net reversal of impairment including impairment charges of 92 and 104 related to the permanent closure of the coke plant in Florange (France) and the permanent closure of part of a blast furnace and steel plant in Krakow (Poland), respectively. In addition, the Company recognized an impairment loss of 331 relating to its plate business in the Europe segment classified as held for sale at December 31, 2020 (see note 2.3.2).
In the third quarter of 2020, the Company reversed 660 of impairment charges of property, plant and equipment previously recognized for ArcelorMittal USA as a result of the increase in the recoverable amount. The Company calculated the fair value less cost of disposal using a market approach with market multiples derived from comparable transactions, a Level 3 unobservable input. ArcelorMittal USA was sold to Cleveland- Cliffs as described in note 2.3.1.
In 2019, the Company recognized a total impairment charge related to property, plant and equipment amounting to 1,927, of which 1,300 relating to ArcelorMittal USA (NAFTA), 102 to ArcelorMittal South Africa (ACIS), and 525 in Europe, including 497 related to ArcelorMittal Italia remedies (see note 2.3.1). During the six months ended June 30, 2019, the Company recognized an impairment charge for property, plant and equipment amounting to 600 relating to ArcelorMittal USA as a result of a downward revision of cash flow projections in particular with respect to near-term steel selling prices as follows:
In the second half of 2019, in connection with management’s annual test for impairment of goodwill, property, plant and equipment was also tested for impairment at that date. The Company recognized an impairment charge for property, plant and equipment amounting to 700 relating to ArcelorMittal USA in the NAFTA operating segment as a result of a downward revision of cash flow projections in particular with respect to near-term steel selling prices consisting of the following:
In the same context, the Company recognized a impairment charge for property, plant and equipment of 75 relating to the Long Steel Products facility of Newcastle in ArcelorMittal South Africa as a result of a lower domestic volumes as follows:
In addition, the Company recorded impairment charges for property, plant and equipment of ArcelorMittal South Africa of 27 including 20 with respect to the closure of the Saldanha facility.