Solvay S.A. – Annual report – 31 December 2020
FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS AND FINANCIAL RISK MANAGEMENT
Financial assets and liabilities are recognized when, and only 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 Financial Instruments. 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. Upon derecognition, the cumulative gains and losses previously recognized in other comprehensive income are reclassified to profit or loss;
- 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. This classification is determined on an instrument-by-instrument basis. Upon derecognition, the cumulative gains or losses previously recognized in other comprehensive income are reclassified to retained earnings.
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. Expected credit losses are based on the difference between the contractual cash flows due in accordance with the contract and all the cash flows that the Group expects to receive, discounted at an approximation of the original effective interest rate.
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 per customer. The Group considers a financial asset in default when contractual payments are 60 days past due. However, in certain cases, the Group may also consider a financial asset to be in default when internal or external information indicates that the Group is unlikely to receive the outstanding contractual amounts in full before taking into account any credit enhancements held by the Group. A financial asset is fully impaired when there is no reasonable expectation of recovering the contractual cash flows.
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 Financial Instruments 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 utility 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 noncurrent 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, Solvay share price risk, and commodity risk (mainly utility and CO2 emission rights price risks), 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.
The requirement under (a) above that an economic relationship exists means that there is an expectation that the value of the hedging instrument and the value of the hedged item will systematically change in the opposite direction in response to movements in either the same underlying (or underlyings that are economically related in such a way that they respond in a similar way to the risk that is being hedged).
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 a 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.
Most hedged items are transaction related. The time value of options, forward elements of forward contracts, and foreign currency basis spreads of financial instruments that are hedging the items affect profit or loss at the same time as those hedged items.
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.