Solvay S.A. – Quarterly report – 31 March 2018
- Accounting policies (extract)
Impacts of new Standards
As of January 1, 2018, the Group applied, for the first time, IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers and IFRS 9 Financial Instruments. As required by IAS 34, the nature and effect of these changes are disclosed below. Several other amendments and Interpretations apply for the first time in 2018, but do not have an impact on the interim condensed consolidated financial statements of the Group.
IFRS 9 Financial Instruments
IFRS 9 replaces IAS 39 Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2018, bringing together all three aspects of the accounting for financial instruments: classification and measurement, impairment, and hedge accounting. Except for hedge accounting, retrospective application is required, but providing comparative information is not compulsory. For hedge accounting, the requirements are generally applied prospectively, with some limited exceptions.
The Group adopted IFRS 9 on January 1, 2018, and did not restate comparative information.
During 2017, the Group finalized the impact assessment of all three aspects of IFRS 9. Overall, there is no significant impact on the Group’s statement of financial position and equity. The Group observed an increase in the loss allowance resulting in a negative impact on equity as discussed below. In addition, the Group has implemented changes in classification of certain financial instruments.
- Impairment: IFRS 9 requires the Group to recognize expected credit losses on all of its trade receivables: the Group applies the simplified approach and recognizes lifetime expected losses on all trade receivables, using the provision matrix in order to calculate the lifetime expected credit losses for trade receivables as required by IFRS 9, using historical information on defaults adjusted for the forward looking information. Impacts related to debt securities, loans, financial guarantees, and loan commitments provided to third parties, as well as cash and cash equivalents, are immaterial. The impact on the trade receivable allowances is as follows, while the impact on the Group’s equity (net of deferred taxes) amounts to €(5) million:
- Classification and measurement: the application of the classification and measurement requirements of IFRS 9 does not have a significant impact on the Group’s consolidated statement of financial position or equity. It will continue measuring at fair value all financial assets previously held at fair value. The equity shares in non-listed companies, previously presented as available for sale, are intended to be held for the foreseeable future. The Group applies the option to present fair value changes in OCI, and therefore the application of IFRS 9 does not have a significant impact. The fair value gains or losses accumulated in the other comprehensive income will no longer be subsequently reclassified to profit or loss, which is different from the previous treatment. Loans as well as trade receivables are held to collect contractual cash flows and give rise to cash flows representing solely payments of principal and interest. Thus, the Group will continue to measure those financial assets at amortized cost under IFRS 9. The effect of applying IFRS 9’s classification and measurement requirements on financial assets is as follows:
Regarding financial liabilities, the Group didn’t make any reclassifications or remeasurements.
- Hedge accounting: In accordance with IFRS 9’s transition provisions for hedge accounting, the Group applies the IFRS 9 hedge accounting requirements prospectively from the date of initial application on January 1, 2018. The Group’s qualifying hedging relationships in accordance with IAS 39 in place as at January 1, 2018 also qualify for hedge accounting in accordance with IFRS 9 and were therefore regarded as continuing hedging relationships. No rebalancing of any of the hedging relationships was necessary on January 1, 2018.
IFRS 15 Revenue from contracts with customers
IFRS 15 supersedes IAS 11 Construction Contracts, IAS 18 Revenue and related Interpretations and it applies to all revenue arising from contracts with customers, unless those contracts are in the scope of other Standards. The new Standard establishes a five-step model to account for revenue arising from contracts with customers. Under IFRS 15, revenue is recognized at an amount that reflects the consideration to which the Group expects to be entitled in exchange for transferring goods or services to a customer.
The Group adopted IFRS 15 on January 1, 2018, using the modified retrospective approach. During 2017, the Group finalized its assessment of IFRS 15 impacts that it had commenced in 2016.
- Sale of goods: As the Group is in the business of selling chemicals, contracts with customers generally concern the sale of goods. As a result, revenue recognition generally occurs at a point in time when control of the chemicals is transferred to the customer, generally on delivery of the goods.
- Distinct elements: the revenue of the Group consists mainly of sales of chemicals, which qualify as separate performance obligations. Value-added services – mainly customer assistance services – corresponding to Solvay’s know-how are rendered predominantly over the period that the corresponding goods are sold to the customer. At transition date, the Group did not have a more than insignificant adjustment compared to its previous practice.
- Variable consideration: some contracts with customers provide trade discounts or volume rebates. In accordance with IAS 18, the Group recognized revenue from the sale of goods measured at the fair value of the consideration received or receivable, net of returns and allowances, trade discounts, and volume rebates. Trade discounts and volume rebates give rise to variable consideration under IFRS 15, and are required to be estimated at contract inception. IFRS 15 requires the estimated variable consideration to be constrained to prevent overstatement of revenue. The Group assessed individual contracts to determine the estimated variable consideration and related constraints. At transition date, the Group did not have a more than insignificant adjustment compared to its previous practice on its retained earnings.
- Moment of recognition of revenue: the Group sells its chemicals to its customers, (a) directly, (b) through distributors, and (c) with the assistance of agents. The Group analyzed whether the moment control of the goods passes, as described in IFRS 15, would result in a different moment to recognize the revenue. At transition date, the Group did not have a more than insignificant adjustment compared to its previous practice.
New accounting policies
IFRS 9 – Financial Instruments
Financial assets and liabilities are first recognized when Solvay becomes a party to the contractual provisions of the instrument.
Amortized cost is the amount at which the financial asset or financial liability is measured at initial recognition minus the principal repayments, plus or minus the cumulative amortization using the effective interest method of any difference between that initial amount and the maturity amount and, for financial assets, adjusted for any loss allowance. The effective interest rate is the rate that exactly discounts estimated future cash payments or receipts through the expected life of the financial asset or financial liability to the gross carrying amount of a financial asset or to the amortized cost of a financial liability. When calculating the effective interest rate, the Group estimates the expected cash flows by considering all the contractual terms of the financial instrument (for example, prepayment, extension, call and similar options) but does not consider the expected credit losses. The calculation includes all fees and points paid or received between parties to the contract that are an integral part of the effective interest rate, transaction costs, and all other premiums or discounts.
Trade receivables are initially measured at their transaction price, if they do not contain a significant financing component, which is the case for substantially all trade receivables. Other financial assets are initially measured at fair value plus, in the case of a financial asset not at fair value through profit or loss, transaction costs that are directly attributable to the acquisition of the financial asset.
A financial asset is classified as current when the cash flows expected to flow from the instrument mature within one year.
All recognized financial assets will subsequently be measured at either amortized cost or fair value under IFRS 9. Specifically:
- a debt instrument that (i) is held within a business model whose objective is to collect the contractual cash flows and (ii) has contractual cash flows that are solely payments of principal and interest on the principal amount outstanding is measured at amortized cost (net of any write down for impairment), unless the asset is designated at fair value through profit or loss (FVTPL) under the fair value option;
- a debt instrument that (i) is held within a business model whose objective is achieved both by collecting contractual cash flows and selling financial assets and (ii) has contractual terms that give rise on specified dates to cash flows that are solely payments of principal and interest on the principal amount outstanding, is measured at fair value through other comprehensive income (FVTOCI), unless the asset is designated at FVTPL under the fair value option;
- all other debt instruments are measured at FVTPL;
- all equity investments are measured in the consolidated statement of financial position at fair value, with gains and losses recognized in profit or loss except that if an equity investment is not held for trading, nor contingent consideration recognized by an acquirer in a business combination, an irrevocable election can be made at initial recognition to measure the investment at FVTOCI, with dividend income recognized in profit or loss.
For instruments quoted in an active market, the fair value corresponds to a market price (level 1). For instruments that are not quoted in an active market, the fair value is determined using valuation techniques including reference to recent arm’s length market transactions or transactions involving instruments which are substantially the same (level 2), or discounted cash flow analysis including, to the greatest possible extent, assumptions consistent with observable market data (level 3). However, in limited circumstances, cost of equity instruments may be an appropriate estimate of their fair value. That may be the case if insufficient more recent information is available to measure fair value, or if there is a wide range of possible fair value measurements and cost represents the best estimate of fair value within that range.
Impairment of financial assets
The impairment loss of a financial asset measured at amortized cost is calculated based on the expected loss model, representing the weighted average of credit losses with the respective risks of a default occurring as the weights.
For trade receivables that do not contain a significant financing component (i.e. substantially all trade receivables), the loss allowance is measured at an amount equal to lifetime expected credit losses.
Those are the expected credit losses that result from all possible default events over the expected life of those trade receivables, using a provision matrix that takes into account historical information on defaults adjusted for the forward looking information.
Impairment losses are recognized in the consolidated income statement, except for debt instruments measured at fair value through other comprehensive income. In this case, the allowance is recognized in other comprehensive income.
Financial liabilities are initially measured at fair value minus, in the case of a financial liability not at fair value through profit or loss, transaction costs that are directly attributable to the issue of the financial liability. Subsequently, they are measured at amortized cost, except for:
- financial liabilities at fair value through profit or loss. Such liabilities, including derivatives that are liabilities, are subsequently measured at fair value;
- financial guarantee contracts. After initial recognition, guarantees are subsequently measured at the higher of the expected losses and the amount initially recognized.
Derivative financial instruments
A derivative financial instrument is a financial instrument or other contract within the scope of IFRS 9 with all three of the following characteristics:
- its value changes in response to the change in a specified interest rate, financial instrument price, commodity price, foreign exchange rate, index of prices or rates, credit rating or credit index, or other variable, provided in the case of a non-financial variable that the variable is not specific to a party to the contract (sometimes called the ‘underlying’);
- it requires no initial net investment or an initial net investment that is smaller than would be required for other types of contracts that would be expected to have a similar response to changes in market factors;
- it is settled at a future date.
The Group enters into a variety of derivative financial instruments (forward, future, option, collars and swap contracts) to manage its exposure to interest rate risk, foreign exchange rate risk, and commodity risk (mainly energy and CO2 emission rights price risks).
As explained above, derivatives are initially recognized at fair value at the date a derivative contract is entered into and are subsequently remeasured to their fair value at the end of each reporting period. The resulting gain or loss is recognized in income or expense, unless the derivative is designated and effective as a hedging instrument. The Group designates certain derivatives as hedging instruments of the exposure to variability in cash flows with respect to a recognized asset or liability or a highly probable forecast transaction that could affect profit or loss (cash flow hedges).
A derivative with a positive fair value is recognized as a financial asset whereas a derivative with a negative fair value is recognized as a financial liability. Derivative instruments (or portions of them) are presented as non-current assets or non-current liabilities if the remaining maturity of the underlying settlements is more than twelve months after the reporting period. Other derivative instruments (or portions of them) are presented as current assets or current liabilities.
The Group designates certain derivatives and embedded derivatives, in respect of interest rate risk, foreign exchange rate risk, and commodity risk (mainly energy and CO2 emission rights price risk), as hedging instruments in a cash flow hedge relationship.
At the inception of the hedge relationship, there is a formal designation and documentation of the hedging relationship and the Group’s risk management objective and strategy for undertaking the hedge. So to apply hedge accounting: (a) there is an economic relationship between the hedged item and the hedging instrument, (b) the effect of credit risk does not dominate the value changes that result from that economic relationship, and (c) the hedge ratio of the hedging relationship is the same as that resulting from the quantity of the hedged item that the Group actually hedges and the quantity of the hedging instrument that the Group actually uses to hedge that quantity of hedged item.
Cash flow hedges
The effective portion of changes in the fair value of hedging instruments that are designated in a cash flow hedge is recognized in other comprehensive income.
The gain or loss relating to the ineffective portion is recognized immediately in profit or loss.
As long as cash flow hedge qualifies, the hedging relationship is accounted for as follows:
a) the separate component of equity associated with the hedged item (cash flow hedge reserve) is adjusted to the lower of the following (in absolute amounts):
i) the cumulative gain or loss on the hedging instrument from inception of the hedge; and
ii) the cumulative change in fair value (present value) of the hedged item (i.e. the present value of the cumulative change in the hedged expected future cash flows) from inception of the hedge.
b) the portion of the gain or loss on the hedging instrument that is determined to be an effective hedge (i.e. the portion that is offset by the change in the cash flow hedge reserve calculated in accordance with (a)) is recognized in other comprehensive income.
c) any remaining gain or loss on the hedging instrument (or any gain or loss required to balance the change in the cash flow hedge reserve calculated in accordance with (a)) is hedge ineffectiveness that is recognized in profit or loss.
d) the amount that has been accumulated in the cash flow hedge reserve in accordance with (a) is accounted for as follows:
i) if a hedged forecast transaction subsequently results in the recognition of a non-financial asset or non-financial liability, the Group removes that amount from the cash flow hedge reserve and includes it directly in the initial cost or other carrying amount of the asset or the liability. This is not a reclassification adjustment and hence it does not affect other comprehensive income
ii) for cash flow hedges other than those covered by (i), that amount is reclassified from the cash flow hedge reserve to profit or loss as a reclassification adjustment in the same period or periods during which the hedged expected future cash flows affect profit or loss (for example, in the periods that interest income or interest expense is recognized or when a forecast sale occurs).
iii) however, if that amount is a loss and the Group expects that all or a portion of that loss will not be recovered in one or more future periods, it immediately reclassifies the amount that is not expected to be recovered into profit or loss as a reclassification adjustment.
Hedge accounting is discontinued prospectively when the hedging relationship (or a part of a hedging relationship) ceases to meet the qualifying criteria (after taking into account any rebalancing of the hedging relationship, if applicable). This includes instances when the hedging instrument expires or is sold, terminated or exercised.
When the Group discontinues hedge accounting for a cash flow hedge it accounts for the amount that has been accumulated in the cash flow hedge reserve as follows:
- if the hedged future cash flows are still expected to occur, that amount remains in the cash flow hedge reserve until the future cash flows occur. However, if that amount is a loss and the Group expects that all or a portion of that loss will not be recovered in one or more future periods, it immediately reclassifies the amount that is not expected to be recovered into profit or loss as a reclassification adjustment.
- if the hedged future cash flows are no longer expected to occur, that amount is immediately reclassified from the cash flow hedge reserve to profit or loss as a reclassification adjustment. A hedged future cash flow that is no longer highly probable to occur may still be expected to occur.
IFRS 15 – Revenue from Contracts with Customers
IFRS 15 establishes a five-step model to account for revenue arising from contracts with customers:
- Identify the contract
- Identify the performance obligations
- Determine the transaction price
- Allocate the transaction price to the performance obligations in the contract
- Recognize revenue when or as the Group satisfies a performance obligation
Under IFRS 15, revenue is recognized at an amount that reflects the consideration to which the Group expects to be entitled in exchange for transferring goods or services to a customer.
Sale of goods: As the Group is in the business of selling chemicals, contracts with customers generally concern the sale of goods. As a result, revenue recognition generally occurs at a point in time when control of the chemicals is transferred to the customer, generally on delivery of the goods.
Distinct elements: a good or service that is promised to a customer is distinct if both of the following criteria are met: (a) the customer can benefit from the good or service either on its own or together with other resources that are readily available to the customer (i.e. the good or service is capable of being distinct); and (b) the Group’s promise to transfer the good or service to the customer is separately identifiable from other promises in the contract (i.e. the promise to transfer the good or service is distinct within the context of the contract).
The revenue of the Group consists mainly of sales of chemicals, which qualify as separate performance obligations. Value-added services – mainly customer assistance services – corresponding to Solvay’s know-how are rendered predominantly over the period that the corresponding goods are sold to the customer.
Variable consideration: some contracts with customers provide trade discounts or volume rebates. Trade discounts and volume rebates give rise to variable consideration under IFRS 15, and are required to be estimated at contract inception and subsequently at each reporting date. IFRS 15 requires the estimated variable consideration to be constrained to prevent overstatement of revenue.
Moment of recognition of revenue: revenue is recognized when (or as) the Group satisfies a performance obligation by transferring a promised good or service (ie an asset) to a customer. An asset is transferred when (or as) the customer obtains control of that asset. Substantially all revenue stems from performance obligations satisfied at a point in time, i.e. the sale of goods. Revenue recognition for those takes into account the following:
- The Group has a present right to payment for the asset;
- The customer has legal title to the asset;
- The Group has transferred physical possession of the asset;
- The customer has the significant risks and rewards of ownership of the asset (in this respect, incoterms are considered); and
- The customer has accepted the asset.
The Group sells its chemicals to its customers, (a) directly, (b) through distributors, and (c) with the assistance of agents. When the Group delivers a product to distributors for sale to end customers, the Group evaluates whether that distributor has obtained control of the product at that point in time. No revenue is recognized upon delivery of a product to a customer or distributor if the delivered product is held on consignment. Indicators of consignment inventory include
- the product is controlled by the Group until a specified event occurs, such as the sale of the product to a customer of the distributor or until a specified period expires;
- the Group is able to require the return of the product or transfer the product to a third party (such as another distributor); and
- the distributor does not have an unconditional obligation to pay for the product (although he might be required to pay a deposit).
Agents facilitate sales and do not purchase and resell the goods to the end customer.
Products sold to customers generally cannot be returned, other than for performance deficiencies. Customer acceptance clauses are in many cases a formality that would not affect the Group’s determination of when the customer has obtained control of the goods.
Revenue from services is recognized in the period those services have been rendered.
Warranties: warranties provide a customer with assurance that the related product will function as the parties intended because it complies with agreed-upon specifications. Substantially all warranties do not provide the customer with a service in addition to the assurance that the product complies with agreed-upon specifications, and are hence accounted for in accordance with IAS 37 Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets.