IFRS 15 adopted, policies, judgements and estimates, aero engines, aftersales

Rolls-Royce Holdings plc – Annual report – 31 December 2018

Industry: manufacturing

Significant accounting policies (extract)

Revenue recognition

Key judgement – Whether Civil Aerospace OE and aftermarket contracts should be combined

In the Civil Aerospace business, OE contracts are with the airframers (except for spare engines), while the aftermarket contracts are with the aircraft operators, although there may be interdependencies between them. IFRS 15 includes additional guidance on the combination of contracts, in particular that contracts with unrelated parties should not be combined. Notwithstanding the interdependencies, the Directors’ consider that, as the operators are ultimately purchasing an aircraft from the airframer, of which the engines are part, the engine contract should be consider separately from the aftermarket contract. In making this judgement, they also took account of evolving industry practice.

Key estimate – Estimates of future revenues and costs of long-term contractual arrangements

The Group has long-term contracts that fall into different accounting periods and which can extend over significant periods (generally up to 25 years) – the most significant of these are long-term service arrangements (LTSAs) in the Civil Aerospace business. The estimated revenue and costs are inherently imprecise and significant estimates are required to assess: engine flying hours, time on wing and other operating parameters; the pattern of future maintenance activity and the costs to be incurred; lifecycle cost improvements over the term of the contracts and escalation of revenue and costs. The estimates take account of the inherent uncertainties, constraining the expected level of revenue as appropriate. In addition, many of the revenues and costs are denominated in currencies other than that of the relevant Group undertaking. These are translated at an estimated long-term exchange rate, based on historical trends and economic forecasts.

Key judgement – How performance on long-term aftermarket contracts should be measured

The Group generates a significant proportion of its revenue from aftermarket arrangements. These aftermarket contracts, such as TotalCare and CorporateCare agreements in the Civil Aerospace business, cover a range of services and generally have contractual terms covering more than one year. Under these contracts, the Group’s primary obligation is to maintain customers’ engines in an operational condition and this is achieved by undertaking various activities, such as repair, overhaul and engine monitoring over the period of the contract. Revenue on these contracts is recognised over the period of the contract and the basis for measuring progress is a matter of judgement. The Directors consider that the stage of completion of the contract is best measured by using the actual costs incurred to date compared to the estimated costs to complete the performance obligations, as this reflects the extent of completion of the activities performed.

Key judgement – Whether any costs should be treated as wastage

In rare circumstances, the Group may incur costs of wasted material, labour or other resources to fulfil a contract where the level of cost was not reflected in the contract price. The identification of such costs is a matter of judgement and would only be expected to arise where there has been a series of abnormal events which give rise to a significant level of cost which is also of a nature that the Group would not expect to incur and hence is not reflected in the contract price. For example, where there are technical issues that require resolution to meet regulatory requirements; have a wide-ranging impact across a product type; and cause significant operational disruption to customers. Similarly, in these rare circumstances, significant disruption costs to support customers resulting from the actual performance of a delivered good or service may be treated as a cost in the period. Any costs identified as wastage are expensed when the obligation to incur them arises – see note 2. 

Key judgement – Whether sales of spare engines to joint ventures are at fair value

The Civil Aerospace business maintains a pool of spare engines to support its customers. Some of these engines are sold to, and held by, joint venture companies. The assessment of whether the sales price reflects fair value is a key judgement.

Revenue recognised comprises sales to the Group’s customers after discounts and amounts payable to customers. The transaction price of a contract is typically clearly stated within the contract, although the absolute amount may be dependent on escalation indices and long-term contracts require the key estimates highlighted above. Refund liabilities where sales are made with a right of return are not

typical in the Group’s contracts. Where they do exist, and consideration has been received, a portion, based on an assessment of the expected refund liability is recognised within other payables. Revenue excludes value added taxes. The Group has elected to use the practical expedient not to adjust revenue for the effect of financing components, where the expectation is that the period between the transfer of goods and services to customers and the receipt of payment is less than a year.

Sales of standard OE, spare parts and time and material overhaul services are generally recognised on transfer of control to the customer. This is generally on delivery to the customer, unless the specific contractual terms indicate a different point. Management consider whether there is a need to constrain the amount of revenue to be recognised on delivery based on the contractual position and any relevant facts, however, this is not typically required.

Sales of services and OE specifically designed for the contract (most significantly in the Defence business) are recognised by reference to the progress towards completion of the performance obligation, using the costs method described in the key judgements, provided the outcome of contracts can be assessed with reasonable certainty.

The Group generates a significant portion of its revenue and profit on aftermarket arrangements arising from the installed OE fleet. As a consequence, in particular in the Civil Aerospace large engine business, the Group will often agree contractual prices for OE deliveries that take into account the anticipated aftermarket arrangements. As described in the key judgements, these contracts are not combined. The consideration in the OE contract is therefore allocated to OE performance obligations and the consideration in the aftermarket contract to aftermarket performance obligations.

  • Future variable revenue from long-term contracts is constrained to take account of the risk of non-recovery of resulting contract balances from reduced utilisation e.g. engine flying hours, based on historical forecasting experience and the risk of aircraft being parked by the customer.
  • A significant amount of revenue and cost related to long-term contract accounting is denominated in currencies other than that of the relevant Group undertaking, most significantly US dollar transactions in sterling and euro denominated undertakings. These are translated at estimated long-term exchange rates.
  • The assessment of stage of completion is generally measured for each contract. However, in certain cases, such as for CorporateCare agreements where there are many contracts covering aftermarket services, each for a small number of engines, the Group accounts for a portfolio of contracts together as the effect on the Consolidated Financial Statements would not differ materially from applying the standard to the individual contracts in the portfolio. When accounting for a portfolio of long-term service arrangements the Group uses estimates and assumptions that reflect the size and composition of the portfolio.
  • A contract asset/liability is recognised where payment is received in arrears/advance of the costs incurred to meet performance obligations.
  • Where material, wastage costs (see key judgements on page 115) are recorded as an exceptional non-underlying expense.

If the expected costs to fulfil a contract exceed the expected revenues, a contract loss provision is recognised for the excess costs.

The Group pays participation fees to airframe manufacturers, its customers for OE, on certain programmes. Amounts paid are initially treated as contract assets and subsequently charged as a reduction to the OE revenue when the engine is transferred to the customer.

The Group has elected to use the practical expedient to expense as incurred any incremental costs of obtaining or fulfilling a contract if the amortisation period of an asset created would have been one year or less. Where costs to obtain a contract are recognised in the balance sheet they are amortised over the performance of the related contract (average of three years).

Risk and revenue sharing arrangements (RRSAs)

Key judgment – Determination of the nature of entry fees received

RRSAs with key suppliers (workshare partners) are a feature of the Civil Aerospace business. Under these contractual arrangements, the key commercial objectives are that: (i) during the development phase the workshare partner shares in the risks of developing an engine by performing its own development work, providing development parts and paying a non-refundable cash entry fee; and (ii) during the production phase it supplies components in return for a share of the programme cash flows as a ‘life of type’ supplier (i.e. as long as the engine remains in service). The share of development costs borne by the workshare partner and of the revenue it receives reflect the partner’s proportionate cost of providing its production parts compared to the overall manufacturing cost of the engine. The share is based on a jointly-agreed forecast at the commencement of the arrangement.

These arrangements are complex and have features that could be indicative of: a collaboration agreement, including sharing of risk and cost in a development programme; a long-term supply agreement; sharing of intellectual property; or a combination of these. These receipts are deferred and recognised against cost of sales over the estimated number of units to be delivered. In previous years, these cash entry fees were treated as a reduction to research and development costs. However, in assessing the accounting under IFRS 15 for the participation fee payments we sometimes make to our OE customers, we have also re-assessed the entry fees received from the Group’s suppliers under RRSAs.

The payments to suppliers of their shares of the programme cash flows for their production components are charged to cost of sales as programme revenue arises. Cash entry fees received are initially deferred on the balance sheet and recognised as a reduction in cost of sales incurred, on a 15-year straight-line basis pro rata over the estimated number of units produced.

The Group has arrangements with third parties who invest in a programme and receive a return based on its performance, but do not undertake development work or supply parts. Such arrangements (financial RRSAs) are financial instruments as defined by IAS 32 Financial Instruments: Presentation and are accounted for using the amortised cost method.

Royalty payments

Where a government or similar body has previously acquired an interest in the intellectual property of a programme, royalty payments are matched to the related sales.

Government grants

Government grants are recognised in the income statement so as to match them with the related expenses that they are intended to compensate. Where grants are received in advance of the related expenses, they are initially recognised in the balance sheet and released to match the related expenditure. Non-monetary grants are recognised at fair value.


Interest receivable/payable is credited/charged to the income statement using the effective interest method. Where borrowing costs are attributable to the acquisition, construction or production of a qualifying asset, such costs are capitalised as part of the specific asset.