Accounting and Valuation Methods
The financial statements of Wacker Chemie AG and its German and international subsidiaries are prepared in accordance with uniform accounting and valuation principles.
The accounting methods correspond to those used for the last consolidated financial statements as of the end of the previous fiscal year. They have been supplemented by new accounting standards to be applied for the first time in the reporting year. The Group’s consolidated financial statements are based on acquisition and production costs (historical costs), with the exception of the items reflected at fair value, such as available-for-sale financial assets, derivatives, and plan assets within the scope of pension obligations.
Sales encompass the fair value of the consideration or receivable for the goods and services sold within the scope of ordinary activities. These are reported net of VAT and other taxes incurred in connection with sales and without discounts and price reductions. Sales revenues are recognized when the goods and services owed have been delivered and the main opportunities and risks of ownership have passed to the purchaser. Usually, this takes place when the goods are transferred to the customer or as stipulated in the agreed transport conditions. Sales from services are recognized once services are rendered. Sales are not reported if there are risks attached to the receipt of the consideration. Provisions are recognized for risks from returns of finished goods and merchandise, warranties and other complaints using the principle of individual evaluation. Information on the development of sales by division and region is provided in the section on segment reporting. WACKER does not conduct any business that requires recognizing sales as long-term production contracts.
Cost of goods sold shows the costs of the products, merchandise and services sold. In addition to directly attributable costs, such as material costs, personnel expenses and energy costs, it includes indirect costs such as depreciation and inventory write-downs. This item also includes the cost of outward freight. Selling expenses include costs incurred by the sales organization as well as the cost of advertising, market research, and application support on customers’ premises. This item also includes commission expenses. General administrative expenses include the pro rata payroll and material costs of corporate control functions, human resources, accounting and information technology, unless they have been charged as an internal service to other cost centers and thus, in certain circumstances, to other functional areas.
Research and Development Expenses
Research and development expenses include costs incurred in the development of products and processes. Research costs in the narrow sense are recognized as expenses when they are incurred, and are not capitalized. Development costs are capitalized only if all the prescribed recognition criteria have been met, the research phase can be separated clearly from the development phase, and the costs incurred can be allocated to the individual project phases without any overlaps. Additionally, there must be sufficient certainty that future cash inflows will take place.
This item includes both current income taxes and deferred taxes. Current income taxes are calculated based on the respective national tax results and regulations applicable in the reporting year. These taxes also contain adjustment amounts for any incurred tax payments or tax refunds from outstanding tax returns and from tax audits from prior years. Discretion must be exercised when determining income tax provisions. WACKER determines appropriate provisions for expected risks from tax audits (uncertain tax positions).
Deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for temporary differences between tax bases and carrying amounts, and for consolidation measures recognized in the statement of income. The deferred tax assets include tax relief entitlements resulting from the anticipated use of existing loss carryforwards in future years, the realization of which is sufficiently probable. Deferred taxes are determined on the basis of the tax rates which, under current law, will be applicable or are anticipated in the individual countries when they are realized. The deferred tax assets and liabilities are netted out only to the extent possible under the same tax authority. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized in the statement of income. In cases where profits or losses are recognized directly in equity, the deferred tax asset or liability is likewise posted under other equity items.
Pursuant to IAS 38, acquired and internally generated intangible assets are capitalized if it is probable that a future economic benefit can be associated with the use of the asset and the costs of the asset can be determined reliably. They are measured at cost and, if their useful lives can be determined, amortized on a straight-line basis. The useful life is taken to be between 3 and 15 years unless otherwise indicated, e.g. by the life of a patent. The useful life is reviewed annually and, if necessary, revised to correspond to new expectations. Amortization of intangible assets is allocated to the functional areas that use the assets. Intangible assets with indefinite useful lives undergo an annual impairment test. At present, no intangible assets with indefinite useful lives have been capitalized.
Goodwill is not amortized. Existing goodwill undergoes an annual impairment test. If the impairment test indicates a recoverable amount that is lower than the carrying amount, the goodwill is reduced to its recoverable amount and an impairment loss is recognized. If events or circumstances indicate possible impairment, the intrinsic value is also examined. Impairments of goodwill are presented under other operating expenses.
Property, Plant and Equipment
Property, plant and equipment is capitalized at cost and depreciated on a straight-line basis over its expected economic life. The useful life is reviewed annually and, if necessary, revised to correspond to expectations. In addition to the purchase price, acquisition costs include incidental acquisition costs as well as any costs incurred in the demolition, dismantling, and/or removal of the asset in question from its site and in the restoration of that site. Any reductions in the price of acquisition reduce the acquisition costs. The cost of internally generated assets includes all costs directly attributable to the production process as well as an appropriate portion of the production-related overheads. Financing costs that were incurred in connection with particular, qualifying assets and which can be attributed directly or indirectly to them are capitalized as part of acquisition or production costs until the assets are used for the first time.
Day-to-day maintenance and repair costs are expensed as incurred. Costs for replacing parts or carrying out major overhauls of property, plant and equipment are capitalized if future economic benefits are likely to accrue to the Group and if the costs can be measured reliably.
Grants from third parties reduce acquisition and production costs. Unless otherwise indicated, these grants (investment subsidies) are provided by government bodies. Income grants for which there are no future expenses are recognized as income. Until the funds have been received, grants are recognized as separate assets.
If property, plant and equipment is permanently shut down, sold or given up, the acquisition or production costs are derecognized, along with the corresponding accumulated depreciation. Any resulting gain or loss from the difference between the sale proceeds and the residual carrying amount is recognized under other operating income or expenses.
Property, plant and equipment also includes assets relating to leasing transactions. Items of property, plant and equipment financed by means of finance leases are recognized at fair value at their time of addition, unless the present values of the minimum lease payments are lower. The assets are depreciated on a straight-line basis over the expected useful life, or the contractual term if shorter. The obligations resulting from future lease payments are recognized under financial liabilities. The lease installments to be paid are split up into a redemption component and an interest component, in accordance with the effective interest method.
Depreciation of property, plant and equipment is generally based on the following useful lives:
10 to 40
Other buildings and similar rights
10 to 30
Technical equipment and machinery
6 to 12
4 to 10
Factory and office equipment
3 to 12
An impairment test is carried out when relevant events or changes in circumstances indicate that it might no longer be possible to realize the net carrying amount of intangible assets, and property, plant and equipment. At the end of every reporting period, WACKER checks whether there are triggering events for recognizing (or reversing) impairments. An impairment loss is then recognized in the amount by which the carrying amount exceeds the recoverable amount. The recoverable amount is the higher of either the fair value less costs to sell or the value in use. The value in use results from the present value of the estimated future cash flows from the use of the asset. In order to assess this value, pre-tax interest rates are used that have been adjusted to reflect the segment-specific risk. In order to determine the cash flow, assets are combined at the lowest level for which cash inflows can be identified separately (cash-generating units). If the reasons for recognizing impairments no longer exist, impairment losses are reversed as required. The revised amount cannot exceed the carrying amount that would have been determined had no impairment loss been recognized. Impairments are reported under other operating expenses and reversals of impairment losses under other operating income.
Like property, plant and equipment, investment property is measured in accordance with the cost model. It consists of land and buildings that are held to earn rental income or for capital appreciation. The fair value of this property is regularly measured through external property valuations.
Leasing transactions are classified either as finance leases or as operating leases. Assets used under an operating lease are not capitalized. Lease payments to be made are recognized in profit or loss in the period in which they fall due. A finance lease is a leasing arrangement in which essentially all of the risks and rewards inherent in the ownership of the property are transferred to the lessee. Assets used under a finance lease are recognized at the present value of the minimum lease payments. Leasing contracts can be embedded within other contracts. If there is a separation obligation for an embedded leasing arrangement in accordance with IFRS rules, the contractual components are separated, and recognized and measured according to the respective rules.
Investments, Associates and Joint Ventures
Any shares in non-consolidated affiliated companies and investments are measured at cost, unless divergent market values are available. Changes in market values are recognized in the consolidated statement of income upon realization through disposal or if the market value falls below the acquisition cost. Loans granted are measured at amortized cost, except for non-interest-bearing and low-interest loans, which are recognized at their present value.
Investments in joint ventures and associates are accounted for using the equity method, with the carrying amount generally reflecting the Group’s pro rata share of equity. Pro rata net profits and losses are recognized in the consolidated statement of income, and the carrying amount is increased or decreased accordingly. Any changes in equity recognized directly in the investee’s equity are also recognized directly in equity in the consolidated financial statements. Dividends paid by joint ventures and associates reduce their equity and, therefore, reduce the carrying amount without affecting profit. If a joint venture or associate faces losses that have exhausted its equity, no further losses are taken into account unless there are noncurrent unsecured receivables against the company, or the Group has entered into additional obligations or made payments for the company. The carrying amount is not increased until the loss carryforward has been compensated for and the equity is positive again.
Additionally, an impairment test is carried out in the presence of corresponding indications and, where necessary, an impairment loss is recognized. The recoverable amount is determined in accordance with IAS 36 regulations. Impairment losses are reported in the result from investments in joint ventures and associates.
Financial assets and liabilities are recognized in the consolidated financial statements when WACKER becomes a contracting party to the financial instrument. They are derecognized when the contractual rights or liabilities are fulfilled or rescinded or when they expire.
In the case of normal market purchases or sales, however, the settlement date – i.e. the date on which the asset is delivered to or by WACKER – is relevant for initial recognition and derecognition. In general, financial assets and financial liabilities are not netted. A net amount is presented in the statement of financial position if, and only if, the entity currently has a right to net the recognized amounts and intends to settle on a net basis. Where financial instruments are combined, borrowed capital and equity components are split up and shown separately by the issuer.
Financial instruments are measured at fair value on initial recognition. The transaction costs directly attributable to the acquisition must be taken into account for all financial assets and liabilities not subsequently measured at fair value through profit or loss. The fair values recognized in the statement of financial position generally correspond to the market prices of the financial assets and liabilities. If these are not directly available, they must be calculated using standard valuation models on the basis of current market parameters.
Financial assets at WACKER comprise, in particular, cash and cash equivalents, trade receivables, loans granted and other receivables, held-to-maturity financial investments, and primary and derivative financial assets held for trading. Financial liabilities must generally be settled using cash or another financial asset. Financial liabilities include, in particular, the Group’s own bonds and other securitized liabilities, trade payables, liabilities to banks, finance lease payables, promissory notes (German Schuldscheine) and derivative financial liabilities.
WACKER does not make use of its option to measure financial assets and liabilities at fair value through profit or loss on initial recognition (fair value option).
The manner in which financial assets and liabilities are subsequently measured depends on how a financial instrument is classified into the following categories pursuant to IAS 39: financial instruments can be “held for trading” or “held to maturity” and assigned to the “available for sale” or “loans and receivables” category.
Financial instruments held for trading are measured at fair value through profit or loss. This category also includes all derivative financial instruments that do not qualify for hedge accounting.
If it is both intended and, in economic terms, to be expected with sufficient certainty that a financial instrument will be held to maturity, the instrument in question is measured at amortized cost using the effective interest method. Held-to-maturity financial investments include current and noncurrent securities, and components of items reported under other financial assets.
Loans and receivables are non-derivative financial assets that are not quoted in an active market. They are measured at amortized cost using the effective interest method. This category comprises trade receivables, the receivables and loans included in other financial assets, fixed-term deposits and cash and cash equivalents.
All other primary financial assets that are not loans and receivables must be classified as available for sale and are reported at fair value if it can be determined reliably. Basically, these assets comprise equity instruments, and also debt instruments not being held to maturity. Unrealized gains and losses are recorded taking account of deferred taxes and are recognized in other equity items with no effect on income. If equity instruments have no price quoted on an active market and if their fair value cannot be determined reliably, they are measured at cost.
If the fair value of available-for-sale financial assets falls below the acquisition costs or there are objective signs that an asset’s value has been impaired, the cumulative loss recognized directly in equity is reversed and shown in the statement of income. The company bases its assessment of possible impairments on all available information, such as market conditions and prices, investment-specific factors, and the duration and extent of the drop in value below acquisition costs. Impairments affecting a debt instrument are reversed in subsequent periods, provided that the reasons for the impairment no longer apply. When the financial instruments are disposed of, the cumulative gains and losses recognized in equity are included in the statement of income.
Primary financial liabilities are subsequently measured at amortized cost using the effective interest method.
Derivative Financial Instruments
Derivative financial instruments are used for hedging purposes with the sole aim of reducing the Group’s exposure to foreign-exchange rates, interest rates, and commodity-price risks arising from operating activities and the resulting financing requirements. Derivative financial instruments are recognized as of the trade date. They are always recognized at fair value, irrespective of the purpose or intention for which they were concluded. Positive fair values are recognized as receivables and negative fair values as liabilities. Differences resulting from fair value measurement are recognized in profit or loss.
Where derivative financial instruments are used to hedge risks stemming from future cash flows and items in the statement of financial position, WACKER applies hedge accounting in accordance with the requirements of IAS 39. Changes in the market values of financial instruments used to hedge risks stemming from cash flows (cash flow hedges) are recognized in other equity items, taking deferred taxes into account, until the hedged item has been realized. The profit contribution of the hedging transaction is recognized in the statement of income under other operating income and expenses when the hedged item is realized. If such a derivative is sold or the hedging relationship is discontinued, the change in its value continues to be reported under other equity items until the underlying transaction occurs. Ineffective parts of the hedging transaction are recognized immediately in profit or loss. Fair value hedges of recognized assets or liabilities and/or unrecognized fixed contractual obligations entail the recognition in profit or loss of market value changes for both the hedged item and the financial derivative (as the hedging instrument). At the moment, WACKER does not hedge any net investments in foreign operations.
Contracts concluded for the purpose of receiving or delivering non-financial goods according to WACKER’s own needs are not recognized as derivatives, but rather as pending transactions.
Currency hedges for planned sales are recognized under other operating income and expenses, while interest rate hedges are recognized in net interest income. Currency hedges from intra-Group financing and foreign-exchange derivatives concluded to hedge financial liabilities assumed in foreign currencies are posted under other financial result. Changes in the fair value of raw-material hedges are recognized under cost of goods sold.
Inventories are measured at cost using the average cost method. Lower net realizable values or prices as of the reporting date are taken into account by writing down inventories to fair value less costs to sell. The cost of goods sold includes directly attributable costs, appropriate portions of indirect material and labor costs, and straight-line depreciation. Due to the relatively short-term nature of the production processes, financing costs are not included. For production-related reasons specific to the chemical industry, unfinished and finished goods are reported together. Raw materials and supplies also include spare parts for the day-to-day maintenance of production facilities. The latter are likewise measured according to their periods of storage and potential usability.
Emissions certificates allotted free of charge are measured at a nominal value of zero. Emissions allowances acquired against payment are carried at cost. If the fair value is lower as of the reporting date, the carrying amount is reduced accordingly. Utilization is determined via the running average value of certificates, whether they were allotted free of charge or acquired against payment, and recognized pro rata as expenses under cost of goods sold on the basis of the quarterly emissions.
Financial Assets and Income Tax Receivables
Trade receivables and other financial and non-financial assets, including income taxes paid (but excluding financial derivatives), are recognized at amortized cost. Risks are taken into account by means of appropriate valuation allowances in separate valuation-allowance accounts. Valuation allowances for uninsured receivables – or for the deductible in the case of insured receivables – are made whenever collection of such receivables is assessed to be no longer probable according to the information available. If payment of a receivable is no longer expected in the actual and legal circumstances, the gross receivable is derecognized and any valuation allowances made are reversed. Expenses from valuation allowances and derecognition are reported under other operating expenses. Changes in income tax receivables are posted under income taxes in the statement of income. Noncurrent receivables that are non-interest-bearing or low-interest-bearing are discounted. WACKER is not a contractor for long-term production orders.
Cash and cash equivalents comprise cash in hand, demand deposits, and financial assets that can be converted into cash at any time, are subject to only slight fluctuations in value and have a residual term of up to three months. They are measured at amortized cost, which is equivalent to their nominal values.
Provisions for Pensions and Similar Obligations
Defined-benefit pension commitments are measured in accordance with the projected unit credit method. This method takes account not only of pensions and entitlements to future pensions known as of the reporting date, but also of estimated increases in salaries and pensions. Moreover, the measurement is based on actuarial valuations and takes account of biometric and financial calculation principles. The fair value of the plan assets is subtracted from the present value of the pension obligations (defined benefit obligation, DBO), resulting in either a net liability or net assets of the defined benefit plans. The prior year’s underlying DBO assumptions are used to determine the current service cost. The net interest cost in the fiscal year is determined by applying the discount rate set at the beginning of the year to the net liability calculated at the same time. The net interest from the net pension liability is the difference between the calculated interest income from plan assets and the interest expense from the defined benefit obligation.
Remeasurements comprise actuarial gains and losses stemming from the difference between the estimate at the start of the period and actual developments during the period – or a newer estimate on the reporting date – in relation to probable mortality rates, retirement and salary trends, and discount rates. They are recognized immediately in other comprehensive income. Similarly, differences between the interest income from plan assets calculated at the start of the period and the actual income from plan assets determined at the end of the period are recognized in other comprehensive income.
If the present value of a defined benefit obligation changes due to a plan modification or curtailment, WACKER recognizes the resulting effect as past service cost. This is recognized in profit or loss as soon as it occurs. The profits and losses resulting from settlement are also recognized in the statement of income as soon as settlement takes place. Administrative expenses that are not related to the management of plan assets are also recognized through profit or loss when incurred.
The expense from current and past service cost is allocated to the costs of the functional areas concerned. The net interest is posted under other financial result.
Provisions for phased early retirement and anniversaries are measured and recognized in accordance with actuarial appraisals. Owing to their structure, provisions for phased early retirement also constitute other noncurrent employee benefits in accordance with IAS 19 since they are linked to the rendering of future service. WACKER uses only a block model when structuring phased-early-retirement agreements. The corresponding provisions are recognized pro rata over the service period of the claim during the work phase.
Provisions are recognized in the statement of financial position for present legal or constructive obligations toward third parties if an outflow of resources to settle these obligations is probable and its amount can be estimated reliably. The amounts recognized are those estimated to be required to cover the Group’s future payment obligations, identifiable risks and contingencies. Noncurrent provisions are measured at the discounted present value as of the reporting date. The discount rate applied is the market interest rate for risk-free investments with terms corresponding to the residual term of the obligation to be settled. Expected refunds, provided that they are sufficiently secure or legally enforceable, are not offset against provisions. Instead, they are capitalized as separate assets if their realization is virtually certain.
Provisions for restructuring costs are recognized if a detailed formal plan for restructuring has been drawn up and conveyed to the affected parties. Provisions for contingent losses arising from onerous contracts are recognized if the expected benefits to be derived from a contract are lower than the unavoidable costs of meeting the contractual obligations. Provisions for environmental protection are recognized if the future cash outflows for complying with environmental legislation or for cleanup measures are likely, the costs can be estimated with sufficient accuracy and no future acquired benefit can be expected from the measures.
If an amended estimate results in a reduction in the scope of the obligations, a proportion of the provision is reversed and the earnings are allocated to the functional area originally charged with the expense when the provision was set aside.
Financial Liabilities and Other Financial Liabilities
On initial recognition, primary financial liabilities are measured at fair value less any transaction costs incurred. They are subsequently measured at amortized cost using the effective interest method. Derivative financial instruments are recognized at fair value. Liabilities from finance lease agreements are shown as financial liabilities at the present value of the future lease installments.
Contingent Liabilities/Contingent Assets
Contingent liabilities are potential obligations toward third parties or existing obligations for which an outflow of resources is unlikely or the amount of the obligation cannot be estimated with sufficient certainty. Contingent liabilities are not recognized in the statement of financial position.
Contingent assets are potential assets resulting from past events and whose existence will not be confirmed until the occurrence of one or more uncertain future events that are beyond the Group’s influence.