2 Summary of significant accounting policies

The accounting policies applied in the preparation of these consolidated financial statements are set out below. These policies have been consistently applied to all the years presented, unless otherwise stated.

2.1 Basis of preparation

The consolidated financial statements of the Company have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and interpretations issued by the IFRS Interpretations Committee (IFRS IC) as endorsed by the European Union as of 31 December 2018.

The consolidated financial statements have been prepared using the historical cost convention, except that certain items including financial assets at fair value, derivative financial instruments and liabilities for cash-settled share-based payment arrangements are measured at fair value.

The preparation of consolidated financial statements in conformity with IFRS requires the use of certain critical accounting estimates. It also requires management to exercise its judgement in the process of applying the Group accounting policies. The areas involving a higher degree of judgement or complexity, or areas where assumptions and estimates are significant to the consolidated financial statements are disclosed in Note 3.

2.2 Changes in accounting policy and disclosures

The Group has decided to early adopt IFRS 16 Leases (issued in January 2016) as from 1 January 2018.

In accordance with the transition provisions in IFRS 16 the new rules for lease accounting have been adopted retrospectively with the cumulative effect of initially applying the new standard recognized on 1 January 2018 (i.e. limited retrospective application). Comparative information has not been restated for IFRS 16.

In adopting IFRS 16 for the first time, the Group has used the following practical expedients permitted by the standard:

  • the use of a single discount rate to a portfolio of leases with reasonably similar characteristics;
  • the exclusion of initial direct costs for the measurement of the right-of-use asset at the date of initial application; and
  • the use of hindsight in determining the lease term where the contract contains options to extend or terminate the lease.
  • for contracts entered into before 1 January 2018, the Group has not reassessed whether the contract is, or contains, a lease. The Group does not apply IFRS 16 to contracts that were not previously identified as containing a lease applying IAS 17 and IFRIC 4.
  • for contracts for which a provision for onerous leases was set up applying IAS 37 before the date of initial application, the Group adjusted the right-of-use asset at the date of initial application by the amount of this provision instead of performing an impairment review.

Following the adoption of IFRS 16 Leases, the Group has changed its accounting policy for leases. See Note 2.17 for the revised accounting policies for leases.

The Group has adopted IFRS 9 Financial instruments as from 1 January 2018. IFRS 9 replaces the provisions of IAS 39 that relate to the recognition, classification and measurement of financial assets and financial liabilities, derecognition of financial instruments, impairment of financial assets and hedge accounting.

The adoption of IFRS 9 Financial Instruments from 1 January 2018 resulted in changes in accounting policies but did not result in adjustments to the amounts recognized in the financial statements as per 31 December 2017. The new accounting policies are set out in notes 2.18, 2.19 and 2.21. In accordance with the transitional provisions in IFRS 9, comparative figures have not been restated. As there was no impact on the amounts recognized in the financial statements as per 31 December 2017, the opening equity as per 1 January 2018 was not impacted by the adoption of IFRS 9.

The Group has early adopted the IFRIC 23 interpretation on the recognition and measurement of liabilities for uncertain tax positions (issued on 7 June 2017) as from 1 January 2018.

UCB took into account the proposed two-step model put forward by the interpretation:

  • recognition: UCB determined for all positions whether a greater than 50% probability exists that the tax authorities would accept the position taken in the tax return. In case of a probability below 50%, an additional liability was considered to be required;
  • measurement: UCB determined for each uncertain tax position whether the most likely outcome or the expected value method would better predict the outcome of the uncertainty.

In addition, the Group took the same approach for assets (e.g. for Mutual Agreement Procedures) as it applied for liabilities.
Interest and penalties are included in the tax line where appropriate (i.e. when they are considered as income taxes).

Following the adoption of IFRIC 23, paragraph 3.2.5 Tax positions under 3. Critical judgements and accounting estimates has been updated.

A number of amendments, annual improvements to standards and a new interpretation are mandatory for the first time for the financial year beginning 1 January 2018. However, the Group does not have to change its accounting policies or make retrospective adjustments as a result of adopting these amendments, improvements to the standards and new interpretation.

2.2.1 Impact of the changes in accounting policies due to the application of IFRS 16 leases and IFRS 9 financial instruments

IFRS 16 Leases

On adoption of IFRS 16 (1 January 2018), the Group recognized lease liabilities amounting to € 120 million in relation to leases which had previously been classified as ‘operating leases’ under the principles of IAS 17 Leases. These liabilities were measured at the present value of the remaining lease payments, discounted using the group’s incremental borrowing rate as of 1 January 2018.

The associated right-of-use assets were measured at the amount equal to the lease liability, adjusted by an initial estimate of restoration costs amounting to € 9 million. The provision for restoration costs is recognized as a separate liability.

Right-of-use assets were created for an amount of € 129 million on 1 January 2018 and relate to:

  • Properties € 90 million
  • Cars € 35 million
  • Plant equipment & machinery € 3 million
  • Office equipment € 1 million

Lease liabilities increased by € 120 million as per 1 January 2018 and a provision for restoration costs was set up for an amount of € 9 million. The net impact on retained earnings on 1 January 2018 was nil.

In 2018 depreciation charges on right-of-use assets that were created following IFRS 16 adoption, were recognized for an amount of € 38 million. Interest expenses (included in financial expenses) were recognized for an amount of € 3 million. Total cost for leases under the old guidance would have been € 4 million lower.

Total right-of-use assets that were created following IFRS 16 adoption, amount to € 100 million as per 31 December. Total lease liabilities for leases which had previously been classified as ‘operating leases’ under the principles of IAS 17 Leases amount to € 97 million. The provision for restoration costs set up as per 1 January 2018 following the adoption of IFRS 16 amounts to € 10 million as per 31 December 2018.

IFRS 9 Financial instruments

As a result of the adoption of IFRS 9 Financial instruments, there is no impact on the opening equity as per 1 January 2018 (date of initial application of IFRS 9) because of the following:

  • Classification and measurement:
    On 1 January 2018 the Group’s management has assessed which business models apply to the financial assets held by the Group and has classified its financial instruments into the appropriate IFRS 9 categories:
  • All available-for-sale investments have been reclassified as financial assets to be measured at fair value through OCI (FVOCI) with no impact on opening equity as per 1 January 2018.
    The Group elected to present in OCI changes in the fair value of all its equity investments previously classified as available-for-sale, because these investments are held as long-term strategic investments that are not expected to be sold in the short to medium term. As a result, assets with a fair value of € 83 million were reclassified from available-for-sale financial assets to financial assets at FVOCI and fair value gains of € 30 million were reclassified from the available-for-sale financial assets reserve to the FVOCI reserve on 1 January 2018. Financial expenses for 2018 were € 31 million lower as impairment losses on equity investments measured at FVOCI are not reported in the income statement as from 1 January 2018.
  • Trade and other receivables, cash and cash equivalents and other financial assets categorized as loans and receivables have been reclassified as financial assets to be measured at amortized cost with no impact on opening equity as per 1 January 2018.
  • Borrowings and bonds: As per January 1, 2018 no borrowings or bonds were outstanding that are valued at amortized cost and for which the recognition of gains or losses from refinancing is deferred over the remaining life by adjusting the effective interest rate on the basis that terms and conditions of the facility remained largely unchanged. Therefore, no retrospective adjustment was required in relation to this change in IFRS 9. No borrowings or bonds were refinanced in 2018.
  • Derivatives and hedging activities:
  • New hedge designations as from 1 January 2018: All hedging relationships that were outstanding as per 31 December 2017 under IAS 39 also qualified as hedging relationships under IFRS 9. The Group’s risk management strategies and hedge documentation are aligned with the requirements of IFRS 9 and the existing hedging relationships are therefore treated as continuing hedges. Prior to 1 January 2018, the Group recognized changes in the time value of options immediately in the income statement (financial income/expenses) in case only the intrinsic value of options is designated as hedging instrument. As from 1 January 2018 these changes will be recognized in OCI and subsequently recognized in the income statement (financial income/expenses) when the hedged transaction affects the income statement. The Group has not made use of options for hedging activities in 2018.
  • Impact from the adoption of IFRS 9 on prior periods: As no options were outstanding as per 31 December 2017 that were part of a hedging relationship, no retrospective adjustments were necessary as of 1 January 2018 due to the adoption of the new valuation rules for hedging under IFRS 9. Therefore, there is no impact on the equity as per 1 January 2018 from the adoption of IFRS 9.
  • Impairment of financial assets:
  • The Group identified 1 category of financial assets that are subject to IFRS 9’s new expected credit loss model: trade and other receivables. The Group has revised its impairment methodology under IFRS 9 for trade and other receivables. However, this change in impairment methodology did not impact the Group’s equity as per 1 January 2018 compared to 31 December 2017.
  • While cash and cash equivalents are also subject to the impairment requirements of IFRS 9, no impairment loss was identified. No contract assets were recognized as per 31 December 2017.
  • The Group applies the IFRS 9 simplified approach to measure expected credit losses which uses a lifetime expected loss allowance for all trade receivables. On that basis, the loss allowance as per 1 January 2018 was determined based on provision matrices making a distinction between receivables on private customers and receivables on public sector customers. The provision matrices reflect relevant forward-looking information and take into account a probability of settlement close to zero when the receivable is overdue for a period of time ranging from 180 to 365 days. Total loss allowance after taking into account credit insurance cover and additional loss allowances for identified specific cases with indication or evidence for impairment amounts to € 8 million as per 1 January 2018 which is in line with the loss allowance as per 31 December 2017. Therefore, the opening equity as per 1 January 2018 was not impacted by the adoption of the expected credit risk model under IFRS 9. The loss allowances increased by a further € 1 million to € 9 million in 2018. The increase would not have been different under the incurred loss model of IAS 39.
  • Other financial assets at amortized cost include other receivables. Applying the expected credit risk model did not result in the recognition of a loss allowance on 1 January 2018. No loss allowance was accounted for in 2018.

IFRIC 23 uncertainty over income tax treatments

UCB has applied IFRIC 23 retrospectively with the cumulative effect of initially applying the interpretation recognized at the date of initial application as an adjustment to the opening balance of retained earnings.
As a result of the early adoption of IFRIC 23, there is no impact on the opening equity per 1 January 2018.
The liabilities for uncertain tax positions as per 1 January 2018, calculated under the new IFRIC 23 guidance, amount to € 55 million compared to € 55 million under the old guidance, driven by the following:

  • UCB already applied a two-step methodology in terms of recognition and measurement of liabilities for uncertain tax positions;
  • Liabilities for uncertain tax positions qualifying as binary were not impacted by IFRIC 23.
  • Liabilities for uncertain tax positions relating to transfer pricing were already measured on the basis of an implicit variant of the expected value method taking into account the different elements that could impact the outflow of funds following an adjustment by the tax authorities. Fine-tuning of this model under IFRIC 23 did not lead to materially deviating liabilities.
  • UCB already included penalties and interest under IAS 12 in the tax line after assessment whether or not these constituted income taxes.

2.3 New standards and amendments to standards not yet adopted

There are no standards or amendments to standards that have been issued by the IASB that are not yet effective and that would be expected to have a material impact on the Group’s consolidated financial statements.

2.4 Consolidation

2.4.1 Subsidiaries

Subsidiaries are all entities (including structured entities) over which the Group has control. The Group controls an entity when the Group is exposed to, or has rights to, variable returns from its involvement with the entity and has the ability to affect those returns through its power over the entity. Subsidiaries are fully consolidated from the date on which control is transferred to the Group. They are de-consolidated from the date that control ceases.

The Group uses the acquisition method of accounting to account for business combinations. The consideration transferred for the acquisition of a subsidiary is the fair value of the assets transferred, the liabilities incurred, and the equity interests issued by the Group. The consideration transferred includes the fair value of any asset or liability resulting from a contingent consideration agreement. Acquisition-related costs are expensed as incurred. Identifiable assets acquired and liabilities and contingent liabilities assumed in a business combination are measured initially at their fair values at acquisition date. On an acquisition-by-acquisition basis, the Group recognizes any non-controlling interest in the acquiree either at fair value or at the non-controlling interest’s proportionate share of the acquiree’s net assets.

Any contingent consideration to be transferred by the Group is recognized at fair value at the acquisition date. Subsequent changes to the fair value of the contingent consideration that is deemed to be an asset or liability is recognized in profit or loss. Contingent consideration that is classified as equity is not remeasured, and its subsequent settlement is accounted for within equity.

Goodwill is initially measured as the excess of the aggregate of the consideration transferred and the fair value of non-controlling interest over the net identifiable assets acquired and liabilities assumed. If this consideration is lower than the fair value of the net assets of the subsidiary acquired, the difference is recognized in profit or loss.

Inter-company transactions, balances and unrealized gains on transactions between Group companies are eliminated. Unrealized losses are also eliminated unless the transaction provides evidence of an impairment of the asset transferred. Accounting policies of subsidiaries have been changed where necessary to ensure consistency with the policies adopted by the Group.

2.4.2 Changes in ownership interests in subsidiaries without change of control

The Group treats transactions with non-controlling interests that do not result in a loss of control as transactions with equity owners of the Group. For purchases from non-controlling interests, the difference between any consideration paid and the relevant share acquired of the carrying value of net assets of the subsidiary is recorded in equity. Gains or losses on disposals to non-controlling interests are also recorded in equity.

2.4.3 Disposal of subsidiaries

When the Group ceases to have control, any retained interest in the entity is remeasured to its fair value, with the change in carrying amount recognized in profit or loss. The fair value is the initial carrying amount for the purposes of subsequently accounting for the retained interest as an associate, joint venture or financial asset. In addition, any amounts previously recognized in other comprehensive income in respect of that entity are accounted for as if the Group had directly disposed of the related assets or liabilities. This may mean that amounts previously recognized in other comprehensive income are reclassified to profit or loss.

2.4.4 Associates

Associates are all entities over which the Group has significant influence but not control, generally accompanying a shareholding of between 20%-50% of the voting rights. Investments in associates are accounted for using the equity method of accounting and are initially recognized at cost and the carrying amount is increased or decreased to recognize the investor’s share of the profit or loss of the investee after the date of acquisition. The Group’s investment in associates includes goodwill identified on acquisition.

When the Group ceases to equity account for an investment because of a loss of significant influence, any retained interest in the entity is remeasured to its fair value with the change in carrying amount recognized in profit or loss. The fair value becomes the initial carrying amount for the purposes of subsequently accounting for the retained interest as a financial asset. In addition, any amounts previously recognized in other comprehensive income in respect of that entity are accounted for as if the Group had directly disposed of the related assets or liabilities. This may mean that amounts previously recognized in other comprehensive income are reclassified to profit or loss where appropriate.

If the ownership interest in an associate is reduced but significant influence is retained, only a proportionate share of the amounts previously recognized in other comprehensive income are classified to profit or loss where appropriate.

The Group share of its associates’ post-acquisition profits or losses is recognized in the income statement, and its share of post-acquisition movements in other comprehensive income is recognized in other comprehensive income with a corresponding adjustment to the carrying amount of the investment. The cumulative post-acquisition movements are adjusted against the carrying amount of the investment. When the Group’s share of losses in an associate equals or exceeds its interest in the associate, including any other unsecured receivables, the Group does not recognize further losses, unless it has incurred obligations or made payments on behalf of the associate.

The carrying amount of investments in associates is tested for impairment in accordance with the policy described in Note 2.10. Unrealized gains on transactions between the Group and its associates are eliminated to the extent of the Group’s interest in the associates. Unrealized losses are also eliminated unless the transaction provides evidence of an impairment of the asset transferred. Accounting policies of associates have been changed where necessary to ensure consistency with the policies adopted by the Group.

Dilution gains and losses arising in investments in associates are recognized in the income statement.

2.4.5 Interests in joint operations

A joint operation is a joint arrangement whereby the parties, or joint operators that have joint control of the arrangement, have rights to the assets, and obligations for the liabilities, relating to the arrangement. Joint control is the contractually agreed sharing of control of an arrangement, which exists only when decisions about the relevant activities require the unanimous consent of the parties sharing control.

When conducting activities under joint operations, the Group recognizes in relation to its interest in a joint operation:

  • its assets, including its share of any assets held jointly;
  • its liabilities, including its share of any liability incurred jointly;
  • its revenue from the sale of its share of the output arising from the joint operations;
  • its share of the revenue from the sale of the output by the joint operation;
  • its expenses, including its share of any expenses incurred jointly.

When a Group entity transacts with a joint operation in which a Group entity is a joint operator, the Group is considered to be conducting the transaction with the other parties to the joint operation, and gains and losses resulting from the transactions are recognized in the Group’s consolidated financial statements only to the extent of the other parties’ interests in the joint operation.

2.5 Segment reporting

The Group’s activities are in one segment, Biopharmaceuticals. There are no other significant classes of business, either singularly or in aggregate. The Chief Operating Decision Makers, being the Executive Committee, review the operating results and operating plans, and make resource allocation decisions on a company-wide basis; therefore, UCB operates as one segment.

2.6 Foreign currency translation

The following important exchange rates were used in preparing the consolidated financial statements:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closing rate

Average rate

 

2018

2017

2018

2017

USD

1.145

1.202

1.180

1.127

JPY

125.620

135.360

130.363

126.409

GBP

0.898

0.889

0.885

0.876

CHF

1.126

1.170

1.155

1.110

 

 

 

 

 

The closing rates represent spot rates as at 31 December 2018 and 31 December 2017.

2.6.1 Functional and presentation currency

Items included in the individual financial statements of each of the Group’s entities are measured using the currency of the primary economic environment in which the entity operates (the functional currency). The consolidated financial statements are presented in euro (€), which is the functional currency of the Company, and the presentation currency of the Group.

2.6.2 Transactions and balances

Foreign currency transactions are translated into the functional currency using the exchange rates prevailing at the date of the transactions. Foreign exchange gains and losses resulting from the settlement of such transactions and from the translation at year-end exchange rates of monetary assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currencies are recognized in the income statement under Financial income or Financial expenses, except when deferred in other comprehensive income as qualifying cash flow hedges and qualifying net investment hedges or when attributable to part of the net investment in a foreign operation.

Exchange differences on a foreign currency monetary financial asset measured at FVOCI are recognized partly in profit or loss and partly in other comprehensive income. For the purpose of recognising foreign exchange gains and losses under IAS 21, the asset is treated as if it were carried at amortised cost in the foreign currency. Accordingly, foreign exchange differences on the amortised cost balance and those arising from changes in amortised cost (such as interest calculated using the effective interest method and impairment losses) are recognized in profit or loss. All other gains and losses (that is, changes in fair value, including exchange differences thereon) are recognized in other comprehensive income.

Exchange differences on a foreign currency non-monetary financial asset measured at FVOCI are recognized in other comprehensive income as part of the fair value gain or loss. 

2.6.3 Group companies

The results and financial position of all Group entities (none of which has the currency of a hyperinflationary economy) that have a functional currency different from the presentation currency are translated into the presentation currency as follows:

  • assets and liabilities for each balance sheet presented are translated at the closing rate at the date of that balance sheet;
  • income and expenses for each income statement are translated at average exchange rates (unless this average is not a reasonable approximation of the cumulative effect of the rates prevailing on the transaction dates, in which case income and expenses are translated at the rate on the dates of the transactions); and
  • all resulting exchange differences are recognized in other comprehensive income (referred to as “cumulative translation adjustments”).

On consolidation, exchange difference arising from the translation of the net investment in foreign operations, and of borrowings and other currency instruments designated as hedges of such investments, are taken to other comprehensive income. When a foreign operation is partially or wholly disposed of or sold, exchange differences that were recorded in equity are recognized in the income statement as part of the gain or loss on sale.

Goodwill and fair value adjustments arising on the acquisition of a foreign entity are treated as assets and liabilities of the foreign entity and translated at the closing rate.

2.7 Revenue

Revenue is recognized when control of a good or service transfers to a customer.

2.7.1 Net sales

Net sales encompass revenue recognized resulting from transferring control over products to the customer.

The amount of revenue recognized is the amount allocated to the satisfied performance obligation taking into account variable consideration. The estimated amount of variable consideration is included in the transaction price only to the extent that it is highly probable that a significant reversal in the amount of cumulative revenue recognized will not occur when the uncertainty associated with the variable consideration is subsequently resolved. Variable consideration that is included in the transaction price relates to sales returns, rebates, trade and cash discounts, charge-backs granted to various customers that are part of commercial and governmental contractual arrangements or other reimbursement programs, including the U.S. Medicaid Drug Rebate program, the U.S. Federal Medicare program and others as well as the U.S. Branded Prescription Drug Fee. A liability is recognized for expected sales returns, rebates, trade and cash discounts, charge-backs or other reimbursements payable directly or indirectly to customers in relation to sales made until the end of the reporting period. Payment terms can differ from contract to contract, but no element of financing is deemed present. Therefore, the transaction price is not adjusted for the effects of a significant financing component. A receivable is recognized as soon as control over the products is transferred to the customer as this is the point in time that the consideration is unconditional because only the passage of time is required before the payment is due.

The transaction price is adjusted for any consideration payable to the customer (directly or indirectly) that is economically linked to the revenue contract unless the payment is for distinct services received from the customer. In the latter case, the fair value of the services received is estimated and accounted for as part of marketing and selling expenses.

The amount of variable consideration is estimated on the basis of historical experience and the specific terms in the individual agreements.

Net sales are presented net of value added tax, other sales related taxes or any other amounts collected on behalf of third parties such as the government or governmental institutions.

2.7.2 Royalty income

Sales-based royalties resulting from the out-licensing of IP are recognized as the subsequent underlying sales occur provided that the related performance obligation has been satisfied by then.

2.7.3 Other revenue

Other revenue comprises revenue generated through out-licensing and profit-sharing agreements as well as contract manufacturing agreements. The underlying performance obligations can be satisfied at a point in time or over time depending on the specific situation.

For performance obligations satisfied over time, revenue is recognized based on a pattern that best reflects the transfer of control of the service to the customer. Usually this progress is measured by an input method whereby costs incurred, and hours expended relative to total costs expected to be incurred and total hours expected to be expended are used as a basis.

Any variable consideration that is promised in exchange of a license of IP and that is based upon achieving certain sales targets, is accounted for in the same way as sales-based royalties i.e. at the moment the related sales occur provided that the related performance obligation has been satisfied.

Any variable consideration such as a development milestone payment that is promised in exchange for development services or the license of IP, is only included in the transaction price as from the moment the achievement of the related milestone event is highly probable, which then results in a catch up of revenue at that moment for any performances up till that moment.

Any upfront payments or license fees for which there are subsequent performance obligations, are initially reported as deferred revenue and are recognized as revenue when performance obligations are satisfied over the period of the development collaboration or manufacturing obligation.

2.7.4 Interest income

Interest is recognized on a time proportion basis that takes into account the effective yield on the asset.

2.7.5 Dividend income

Dividends are recognized when the shareholder’s right to receive the payment is established.

2.8 Cost of sales

Cost of sales includes primarily the direct production costs, related production overheads and the amortization of the related intangible assets as well as services rendered. Start-up costs are expensed as incurred. Royalty expenses directly linked to goods sold are included in “cost of goods sold”.

2.9 Research and development

2.9.1 Internally-generated intangible assets, research and development expenditure

All internal research costs are expensed as incurred. Internal development expenditure is capitalized only if it meets the recognition criteria of IAS 38 Intangible Assets. Due to long development periods and significant uncertainties related to the development of new products (such as the risks related to the outcome of clinical trials as well as the likelihood of regulatory approval), internal development costs generally do not qualify for capitalization as intangible assets. At 31 December 2018, no internal development expenditures have met the recognition criteria.

2.9.2 Acquired intangible assets

Payments for acquired in-process research and development projects obtained through in-licensing arrangements, business combinations or separate asset purchases are capitalized as intangible assets provided that they are separately identifiable, controlled by the Group and expected to provide future economic benefits. As the probability criterion in IAS 38 is always considered to be satisfied for separately acquired research and development assets and the amount of the payments is determinable, upfront and milestone payments to third parties for pharmaceutical products or compounds for which regulatory marketing approval has not yet been obtained are recognized as intangible assets, and amortized on a straight line basis over their useful lives from the date on which the products are launched for sale.

2.10 Impairment of non-financial assets

At each reporting date, the Group reviews the carrying amounts of its intangible assets, goodwill, property, plant and equipment and investments in associates to determine whether there is any indication of impairment. If any such indication exists, the recoverable amount of the asset is estimated in order to determine the extent of the impairment loss. Irrespective of whether there is an indication of impairment, an impairment assessment of the intangibles not yet available for use and goodwill is carried out annually. These assets are not amortized. An impairment loss is recognized for the amount by which the asset’s carrying amount exceeds its recoverable amount.

Where it is not possible to estimate the recoverable amount of an individual asset, the Group estimates the recoverable amount of the cash-generating unit (CGU) to which the asset belongs. The recoverable amount is the higher of an asset’s fair value less costs to sell and value in use. To determine the value in use, the Group uses estimates of future cash flows generated by the asset or the CGU, using the same methods as those used in the initial measurement of the asset or the CGU on the basis of the medium-term plans of each business activity. Estimated cash flows are discounted using an appropriate rate that reflects current market assessments of the time value of money and the risks specific to the asset or the CGU.

An impairment loss is recognized directly in the income statement under the “impairment of non-financial assets” caption. Non-financial assets other than goodwill that suffered an impairment are reviewed for possible reversal of the impairment at each reporting date. The reversal of the impairment is recognized in the income statement. An impairment loss is reversed only to the extent that the asset’s carrying amount does not exceed the carrying amount that would have been determined, net of depreciation or amortization, if no impairment loss had been recognized. Impairment losses on goodwill are never reversed.

Intangible assets are assessed for impairment either on a compound by compound basis or by indication where applicable.

2.11 Restructuring expenses, other income and expenses

The expenses made by the Group in order to be better positioned to face the economic environment in which it operates are presented in the income statement as “restructuring expenses”.

The gains and losses arising upon the sale of intangible assets other than development stage assets or property, plant and equipment as well as increases or reversals of provisions for litigations, other than tax litigations or litigations related to discontinued operations, are presented in the income statement as “other income and expenses”.

2.12 Income taxes

The tax expense for the period comprises current and deferred income taxes. Tax expense is recognized in the income statement except to the extent that it relates to items recognized in other comprehensive income or directly in equity. In the case of items recognized in other comprehensive income or in equity, the tax is also recognized in other comprehensive income or directly in equity, respectively.

For the accounting policies related to R&D tax credits we refer to 2.13.2 under Government grants.

The current income tax charge is calculated on the basis of the tax laws enacted or substantively enacted at the balance sheet date in the countries where the Company’s subsidiaries operate and generate taxable income.

Current tax assets and tax liabilities are offset if there is a legally enforceable right to offset and intention either to settle on a net basis, or to realize the asset and settle the liability simultaneously.

Deferred income tax is recognized, using the liability method, on temporary differences arising between the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities in the consolidated financial statements and the corresponding tax bases used in the computation of taxable profit.

Deferred income tax liabilities are generally recognized for all taxable temporary differences and deferred income tax assets are recognized to the extent that it is probable that future taxable profits will be available against which deductible temporary differences, carried forward tax credits or carried forward losses can be utilized. Deferred income tax is not accounted for if it arises from the initial recognition of goodwill or from the initial recognition of an asset or liability in a transaction (other than in a business combination) that at the time of the transaction affects neither accounting nor taxable profit.

The carrying amount of deferred income tax assets is reviewed at each balance sheet date and reduced to the extent that it is no longer probable that sufficient taxable profits will be available to allow all or part of the asset to be recovered.

Deferred income tax is calculated at the tax rates that are expected to apply in the period when the liability is settled, or the asset realized. The Group only considers substantively enacted tax laws when estimating the amount of deferred taxes to be recognized. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are not discounted.

Deferred tax liabilities and assets are not recognized for temporary differences between the carrying amount and tax bases of investments in foreign operations where the Company is able to control the timing of the reversal of the temporary differences and it is probable that the differences will not reverse in the foreseeable future.

Deferred tax assets and liabilities are only offset if there is a legally enforceable right to offset current tax liabilities and assets and the deferred income taxes relate to the same taxable entity and the same taxation authority.

2.13 Government grants

Grants from the government are recognized at their fair value where there is a reasonable assurance that the grant will be received and the Group will comply with all attached conditions.

2.13.1 Recoverable cash payments received from the government

The Group receives cash payments from the government to partially finance certain research and development projects. The cash payments received from the government are repayable in cash only if the Group decides to exploit and commercialize the results of the research phase of the related project. If the Group decides not to proceed with the results from the research phase, the cash payments are not repayable. In this case the rights to the research need to be transferred to the government. When the Group receives these cash payments, these are accounted for as other non-current liabilities. Only at the moment when there is reasonable assurance that the Group will not have to reimburse the cash payments, these cash payments are accounted for as government grants and taken up in “other operating income”. More specifically, this is at the moment the government confirms the receipt of the research results and its agreement with the Group’s decision not to proceed with the research.

2.13.2 R&D tax credit

The R&D tax credit is considered as a government grant related to assets if no additional relevant requirements are to be met that are not directly related to the asset. The tax credit is taken in profit and loss in line with the costs it is intended to compensate. If the tax credit is received to compensate research and development expenses that are not capitalized, the R&D tax credit is recognized in P&L at the same moment as the research and development expenses as a credit to the line “Research and development expenses”. If the tax credit is received to compensate amortizations on intangible assets e.g. licenses, the R&D tax credit is recognized in profit and loss over the (remaining) useful life of the asset and reported as “Other operating income”.

The part of the R&D tax credit that cannot be deducted from the taxable income is accounted for as a deferred tax asset. The part of the R&D tax credit that can be deducted from taxable income is debited to the current income tax liability. If the R&D tax credit is not refundable by the tax authorities, the recoverability of the deferred tax asset is assessed on a regular basis as for the other deferred tax assets.

2.14 Intangible assets

2.14.1 Patents, licenses, trademarks and other intangible assets

Patents, licenses, trademarks and other intangible assets (collectively referred to as “intangible assets”) are shown at historical cost. Intangible assets acquired in a business combination are recognized at fair value at the acquisition date.

Intangible assets (except for goodwill) are amortized over their useful lives on a straight-line basis as from the moment they are available for use (i.e., in case of a license related to a compound or product, when the product (containing the compound) is launched for sale). Estimated useful life is based on the lower of the contract life or the economic useful life (generally between 5 to 20 years). Intangible assets (except for goodwill) are considered to have a finite economic useful life; therefore, no intangible assets with an indefinite life have been identified.

2.14.2 Computer software

Acquired computer software licenses are capitalized on the basis of the costs incurred to acquire and bring to use the specific software. These costs are amortized over their estimated useful lives (3 to 5 years) on a straight-line basis.

2.15 Goodwill

Goodwill arises on the acquisition of subsidiaries and associates and represents the excess of the consideration transferred over the Group’s interest in the net fair value of the net identifiable assets, liabilities and contingent liabilities of the acquiree and the fair value of the non-controlling interest in the acquiree.

Goodwill is initially recognized as an asset at cost and is subsequently carried at cost less accumulated impairment losses. Goodwill related to the acquisition of subsidiaries is presented separately on the face of the balance sheet, whereas goodwill arising upon acquisition of associated companies is included in the investment in associated companies.

UCB operates as one segment and has one cash generating unit for the purpose of impairment testing.

As goodwill is considered to have an indefinite life, it is tested for impairment annually, and whenever there is an indication that it may be impaired, by comparing its carrying amount with its recoverable amount. If the recoverable amount of the cash-generating unit is less than the carrying amount of the unit, the impairment loss is allocated first to reduce the carrying amount of any goodwill allocated to the unit and then to the other assets of the unit pro rata on the basis of the carrying amount of each asset in the unit. Impairment losses on goodwill are not reversed.

On disposal of a subsidiary or an associate, the attributable amount of goodwill is included in the determination of the profit or loss on disposal of the entity.

In the event that the fair value of the identifiable assets, liabilities and contingent liabilities exceeds the cost of the business combination, the excess remaining after reassessment is recognized directly in profit or loss.

2.16 Property, plant and equipment

All property, plant and equipment are carried at cost less accumulated depreciation and impairment losses except for property, plant and equipment under construction, which is carried at cost less accumulated impairment losses.

Cost includes all directly attributable costs of bringing the asset to its working condition for its intended use.

Purchased software that is integral to the functionality of the related equipment is capitalized as part of that equipment.

Borrowing costs directly attributable to the acquisition, construction or production of a qualifying asset are capitalized as part of the cost of that asset.

Subsequent costs are included in the asset’s carrying amount or recognized as a separate asset, as appropriate, only when it is probable that future economic benefits associated with the item will flow to the Group and the cost of the item can be measured reliably. All other repairs and maintenance are expensed as they are incurred.

Depreciation is calculated using the straight-line method to allocate the cost of assets, other than land and properties under construction, to their residual values over their estimated useful lives. Depreciation commences when the asset is ready to be used. Land is not depreciated.

The residual value and the useful life of an asset are reviewed at least at each financial year-end and, if expectations differ from previous estimates, the change(s) is(are) accounted for as a change in an accounting estimate in accordance with IAS 8 Accounting Policies, Changes in Accounting Estimates and Errors.

The following useful lives are applicable to the main property, plant and equipment categories:

  • Buildings 20-33 years
  • Machinery 7-15 years
  • Laboratory equipment 7 years
  • Prototype equipment 3 years
  • Furniture and fixtures 7 years
  • Vehicles 5-7 years
  • Computer equipment 3 years
  • Right-of-use assetsShorter of asset’s useful
    life and leasing term

Gains and losses on disposals are determined by comparing the proceeds from disposal with the carrying amount and are recognized under “other income and expenses” in the income statement.

Investment property is indicative of land and buildings held to earn rentals. Such assets are initially carried at cost and depreciated on a straight-line basis over their estimated useful lives. The underlying useful lives correspond to those of self-used tangible assets. Given the insignificant amount of investment property, it is not separately presented in the balance sheet.

2.17 Leases

The Group leases various properties, equipment and cars and the rental contracts are typically made for a fixed, short- or long-term period. Lease terms are negotiated on an individual basis and contain a wide range of different terms and conditions. The lease agreements do not impose any covenants, but leased assets may not be used as security for borrowing purposes.

Leases are recognized as a right-of-use asset and corresponding liability at the date of which the leased asset is available for use by the Group. Each lease payment is allocated between the liability and finance cost. The finance cost is charged to the income statement over the lease period so as to produce a constant periodic rate of interest on the remaining balance of the liability for each period. The right-of-use asset is depreciated over the shorter of the asset’s useful life and the lease term on a straight-line basis.

Assets and liabilities arising from a lease are initially measured on a present value basis. Lease liabilities include the net present value of the following lease payments:

  • fixed payments (including in-substance fixed payments), less any lease incentives receivable;
  • variable lease payments that are based on an index or a rate.

There are no leases for which it is expected that the Group would need to pay a residual value guarantee or a certain amount to exercise a purchase option whereby it is reasonably certain that the Group will exercise this option or any penalties for terminating the lease in case the lease term reflects that the Group will exercise this option.

The lease payments are discounted using the interest rate implicit in the lease, if that rate can be determined, or the Group’s incremental borrowing rate.

Right-of-use assets are measured at cost comprising the following:

  • the amount of the initial measurement of lease liability;
  • any lease payments made at or before the commencement date;
  • any initial direct costs (except for the leases already existing at transition date), and
  • restoration costs.

Right-of-use assets are presented as part of property, plant and equipment and lease liabilities as part of borrowings in the statement of financial position. All lease payments that are due within 12 months are classified as current liabilities. All lease payments that are due at least 12 months after the balance sheet date are classified as non-current liabilities.

Payments associated with short-term leases and leases of low-value assets are recognized on a straight-line basis as an expense in profit or loss. Short-term leases are leases with a lease term of 12 months or less. Low-value assets comprise mainly IT-equipment (laptops, tablets, mobile phones, pc’s) and small items of office equipment and furniture.

Some of the car leases contain variable lease payments. It concerns car lease agreements that contain a Terminal Rental Adjustment Clause (TRAC): a final settlement calculation is made at termination of the lease to determine the final rental adjustment. This final rent adjustment is a rent payment (or credit) that reflects actual usage of the vehicle while under lease. This final amount is not known at lease commencement. The rental adjustment amount is not a specified amount but depends upon known factors such as monthly depreciation and initial acquisition cost, and several unknown factors at lease commencement, such as mileage, condition of the vehicle, wear and tear, damage, geography of operation, disposal channel, and other factors. Together, these factors generally represent “use” of the vehicle. Payments that vary due to use of the underlying asset and vehicle mileage specifically are variable lease payments. The final rental adjustment is recognized as expense or, in case of a credit, as a reduction of expenses when realized.

Extension options are included in a number of property and car leases across the Group. These terms are used to maximize operational flexibility in terms of managing contracts. The extension options held are exercisable only by the Group and not by the respective Lessor.

There are no material lease agreements whereby the Group is lessor.

2.18 Financial assets: investments

2.18.1 Classification

The Group classifies its financial assets in the following measurement categories: those to be measured subsequently at fair value through profit or loss (FVPL), those to be measured subsequently at fair value through other comprehensive income (FVOCI), those to be measured at amortized cost. The classification depends on the Group’s business model for managing the financial assets and the contractual terms of the cash flows.

Investments are included in non-current assets unless management intends to dispose of the investment within 12 months of the balance sheet date.

Regular purchases and sales of financial assets are recognized on the trade date – the date on which the Group commits to purchase or sell the asset. Financial assets are derecognized when the rights to receive cash flows from the investments have expired or have been transferred and the Group has transferred substantially all risks and rewards of ownership.

For assets measured at fair value, gains and losses will either be recorded in profit or loss or other comprehensive income (OCI). For investments in equity instruments that are not held for trading, this will depend on whether the Group has made an irrevocable election at the time of initial recognition to account for the equity investment at fair value through OCI (FVOCI).

2.18.2 Measurement

At initial recognition, the Group measures a financial asset at its fair value plus, in case of a financial asset not at fair value through profit or loss (FVPL), transaction costs that are directly attributable to the acquisition of the financial asset. Transaction costs of financial assets carried at FVPL are expensed in profit or loss.

Financial assets with embedded derivatives are considered in their entirety when determining whether their cash flows are solely payment of principal and interest.

Debt instruments

The Group currently does not have any investments in debt instruments.

Equity instruments

The Group subsequently measures all equity investments at fair value. Where the Group’s management has elected to present fair value gains and losses on equity investments in OCI, there is no subsequent reclassification of fair value gains and losses to profit or loss following the derecognition of the investment. Dividends from such investments continue to be recognized in profit or loss as financial income when the Group’s right to receive payments is established.

Impairment losses (and reversal of impairment losses) on equity investments measured at FVOCI are not reported separately from other changes in fair value.

Changes in the fair value of financial assets at FVPL are recognized in financial income/expenses in the income statement.

The fair value of listed investments is based on current bid prices. If the market for a financial asset is not active (and for unlisted securities), the Group establishes fair value by using valuation techniques.

2.19 Derivative financial instruments and hedging activities

The Group uses derivative financial instruments to hedge its exposure to foreign exchange and interest rate risks arising from operational, financing and investment activities. The Group does not engage in speculative transactions.

Derivative financial instruments are initially recorded at fair value and attributable transaction costs are recognized in the income statement when incurred. Derivative financial instruments are subsequently remeasured at their fair value.

The Group includes the credit and the nonperformance risks into its valuation techniques leading to non-material impact on derivative valuation resulting from credit or debit margin adjustments made on counterparts with who financial market transactions are contracted.

The method of recognizing the resulting gains or losses depends on whether the derivative financial instrument is designated as a hedging instrument and if so, the nature of the item being hedged. The Group designates derivative financial instruments as either cash flow hedges, fair value hedges or net investment hedges.

The Group documents at inception of the transaction the economic relationship between the hedging instrument and the hedged item, as well as its risk management objectives and strategy for undertaking the hedging transaction. The Group updates this assessment when required for example when the hedge ratio is rebalanced or when the analysis of sources of hedge ineffectiveness is updated.

The full fair value of a hedging derivative financial instrument is classified as a non-current asset or liability when the remaining maturity of the hedged item is more than 12 months and as a current asset or liability when the remaining maturity of the hedged item is less than 12 months.

Derivative financial instruments embedded in financial liabilities are separated from the host contract and accounted for separately if the economic characteristics and risks of the host contract and the embedded derivative financial instrument are not closely related, a separate instrument with the same terms as the embedded derivative financial instrument would meet the definition of a derivative financial instrument, and the combined instrument is not measured at fair value through profit or loss.

2.19.1 Cash flow hedges

The effective portion of changes in the fair value of derivative financial instruments that are designated and qualify as cash flow hedges is recognized in other comprehensive income. The gain or loss relating to the ineffective portion is recognized immediately in the income statement within “Financial income/Financial expenses”.

When option contracts are used to hedge a firm commitment or forecast transaction, the group designates only the intrinsic value of the options as the hedging instrument. Gains or losses relating to the effective portion of the change in intrinsic value of the options are recognized in other comprehensive income. The changes in the time value of the options that relate to the hedged item (‘aligned time value’) are also recognized within OCI. These will be moved to the income statement (financial income/expenses) when the hedged transaction affects the P&L (in case of transaction related hedges) or over the period of the hedge (in case of time-period related hedges).

When forward contracts are used to hedge forecast transactions, the Group generally designates only the change in fair value of the forward contract related to the spot component as the hedging instrument. Gains or losses relating to the effective portion of the change in the spot component of the forward contracts are recognized in OCI. The change in the forward element of the contract that relates to the hedged item (‘aligned forward element’) is recognized in the income statement (financial income/expenses).

Gains or losses relating to the effective portion of the change in intrinsic value of the options or relating to the effective portion of the change in the spot component of the forward contracts accumulated in other comprehensive income are reclassified to profit or loss in the periods when the hedged item affects profit or loss on the same line of the income statement where the designated hedged item affects profit or loss. However, if the cash flow hedge of a firm commitment or forecasted transaction results in the recognition of a non-financial asset or a non-financial liability, then, at the time the asset or liability is recognized, the associated gains or losses on the derivative financial instrument that had previously been recognized in other comprehensive income are included in the initial measurement of the asset or liability.

When hedging with forwards and financial instruments with foreign currency basis spreads, the Group decides on a hedging-relationship-by-hedging-relationship basis to account for the changes in the currency basis spread by applying either the same accounting as for the time value of options or by recognizing these changes in value in the income statement (financial income/expenses).

When a hedging instrument expires, or is sold or terminated, or when a hedge no longer meets the criteria for hedge accounting, any cumulative deferred gain or loss in other comprehensive income at that time remains in other comprehensive income until the forecast transaction occurs, resulting in the recognition of a non-financial asset or liability. When the forecast transaction is no longer expected to occur, the cumulative gains or losses that were reported in other comprehensive income are immediately reclassified to the income statement (financial income/expenses).

2.19.2 Fair value hedges

Changes in the fair value of derivative financial instruments that are designated and qualify as fair value hedges are recorded in the income statement under “Financial income/Financial expenses”, together with any changes in the fair value of the hedged asset or liability that are attributable to the hedged risk.

2.19.3 Net investment hedges

Hedges of net investments in foreign operations are accounted for similarly to cash flow hedges. Any gain or loss on the hedging instrument relating to the effective portion of the hedge is recognized in the cumulative translation adjustments reserve; the gain or loss relating to the ineffective portion is recognized immediately in the income statement within “Financial income/Financial expenses”. Gains and losses accumulated in equity are recycled to the income statement when the foreign operation is partially disposed of or sold.

2.19.4 Derivative financial instruments that do not qualify for hedge accounting

Certain derivative financial instruments do not qualify for hedge accounting. Changes in the fair value of any derivative financial instruments that do not qualify for hedge accounting are recognized immediately in the income statement within “Financial income/ Financial expenses”.

2.20 Inventories

Raw materials, consumables, goods purchased for resale, work in progress and finished goods are valued at the lower of cost and net realizable value.

Cost is determined using the weighted average cost method. The cost of work in progress and finished goods comprises all the costs of conversion and other costs incurred in bringing the inventories to their present location and condition. The conversion costs include the cost of production and the related fixed and variable production overhead costs (including depreciation charges).

Net realizable value represents the estimated selling price less all estimated costs of completion and costs to be incurred in marketing, selling and distribution.

2.21 Trade receivables

Trade receivables are recognized initially at their transaction price and are subsequently measured at amortized cost using the effective interest rate method, less provision for expected credit losses.

For determining the expected credit losses, the Group applies the simplified approach permitted by IFRS 9, which requires lifetime losses to be recognized from initial recognition of the receivables. The Group identified 2 categories of trade receivables: receivables on private customers and receivables on public sector customers. For each of these categories, the Group makes use of a provision matrix in order to determine lifetime expected credit losses.

In case there is an indication or evidence of impairment for a specific receivable, this receivable will be impaired for the amount of lifetime expected credit losses.

For all receivables that are covered by a credit insurance or by a factoring agreement without recourse, the lifetime expected credit losses will be calculated taking into account this cover.

2.22 Cash and cash equivalents

For the purpose of presentation in the Statement of Cash Flows, cash and cash equivalents comprise cash on hand and demand deposits and other short-term highly liquid investments with original maturities of three months or less that are readily convertible to known amounts of cash and which are subject to an insignificant risk of changes in value, and bank overdrafts. Bank overdrafts are shown within borrowings in current liabilities in the balance sheet.

2.23 Non-current assets (or disposal groups) held for sale and discontinued operations

A discontinued operation is a component of the company that either has been disposed of, or that is classified as held for sale. It must either: represent a major separate line of business or geographical area of operations; be part of a single coordinated disposal plan; or be a subsidiary acquired exclusively with a view to resale.

Intercompany transactions between continuing and discontinued operations are eliminated against continuing operations.

Non-current assets or a disposal group are classified as held for sale when their carrying amount is to be recovered principally through a sale transaction and a sale is considered highly probable. Non-current assets and disposal groups are measured at the lower of the carrying amount and fair value less costs to sell if their carrying amount will be recovered principally through a sale transaction rather than through continuing use. Impairment losses upon initial classification as held for sale are recognized in the income statement. Non-current assets classified as held for sale are neither depreciated nor amortized.

2.24 Share capital

2.24.1 Ordinary shares

Ordinary shares are classified as equity. Incremental costs directly attributable to the issue of new shares or options are shown in equity as a deduction, net of tax, from the proceeds. The Company did not issue any preference or mandatory redeemable preference shares.

2.24.2 Treasury shares

When any Group company purchases the Company’s equity share capital (treasury shares), the consideration paid, including attributable direct costs (net of income taxes) is deducted from the equity attributable to the Company’s equity holders until the shares are cancelled or sold. Where such shares are subsequently sold, any consideration received, net of any directly attributable incremental transaction costs and the related income tax effects, is included in equity attributable to the Company’s equity holders.

2.25 Bonds and borrowings

Bonds, borrowings and overdrafts are initially measured at fair value, net of transaction costs incurred, and are subsequently measured at amortized cost, using the effective interest rate method. Any difference between the proceeds (net of transaction costs) and the settlement or redemption of borrowings is recognized over the term of the borrowings in accordance with the Group accounting policy.

Borrowings are classified as current liabilities unless the Group has an unconditional right to defer settlement of the liability for at least 12 months after the balance sheet date.

2.26 Compound financial instruments

Compound financial instruments issued by the Group comprise convertible bonds that can be converted into ordinary shares at the option of the Issuer. The number of shares to be issued does not vary with changes in their fair value. In the past, due to the existence of the option by the Issuer to redeem in cash, such convertible bonds were separated into a debt and a derivative component.

Upon initial recognition of the bond, the fair value of the debt component was determined based on the present value of the contractually determined stream of cash flows discounted at the rate of interest applied at that time by the market to instruments of comparable credit status and providing substantially the same cash flows, on the same terms, but without the conversion option.

Subsequent to initial recognition, the debt component is measured based on its amortized cost, using the effective interest method.

The remainder of the proceeds was allocated to the conversion option and recognized within “other derivatives”. Subsequent to initial recognition, the derivative component was measured at fair value, with all gains and losses upon re-measurement being recognized in the income statement.

As a result of the Board’s decision in 2010 to revoke UCB’s rights related to the cash settlement option, the derivative component was reclassified to equity based on its fair value at the date of revocation. The equity component was reclassified to share premium upon the conversion of the remaining convertible bonds in 2014.

Transaction costs that are directly attributable to the bond offering and incremental, are included in the calculation of the amortized cost, using the effective interest method, and are amortized through the income statement over the life of the instrument.

2.27 Trade payables

Trade payables are initially measured at fair value and are subsequently measured at amortized cost using the effective interest method.

2.28 Employee benefits

2.28.1 Pension obligations

The Group operates various post-employment schemes, including both defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans.

A defined contribution plan is a pension plan under which the Group pays fixed contributions into a separate entity and has no legal or constructive obligations to pay further contributions in the event that the fund does not hold sufficient assets to pay all employees the benefits relating to employee service in the current and prior periods. Obligations for contributions to defined contribution pension plans are recognized as an employee benefit expense in the consolidated income statement when they are due. Prepaid contributions are recognized as an asset to the extent that a cash refund or a reduction in future payments is available.

Typically, defined benefit plans define an amount of pension benefit that an employee will receive on retirement, usually dependent on one or more factors such as age, years of service and compensation. The liability recognized in the consolidated statement of financial position in respect of defined benefit pension plans is the present value of the defined benefit obligation less the fair value of plan assets. Any surplus resulting from this calculation is limited to the present value of any economic benefits available in the form of refunds from the plans or reductions in future contributions to the plans.

The defined benefit obligation is calculated by independent actuaries using the Projected Unit Credit Method. A full actuarial valuation based on updated personnel information is performed at least every three years. Additionally, if the net fluctuation recognized on the balance sheet is more than 10% from one-year to the next due to plan circumstances (significant membership changes, modification to plan, etc.), a full actuarial valuation is also required. For years where a full actuarial valuation is not required, projections (known as “roll-forwards”) from the previous year with updated assumptions (discount rate, salary increase, turnover) is used. For these “roll-forward” valuations, the individual employee data from the last full valuation date are used taking into account assumptions for salary increases and possibly turnover.

All valuations measure liabilities at the applicable balance sheet date and the market value of retirement plan assets are also reported at this date regardless of whether a full or a “roll-forward” valuation is performed.

The present value of the defined benefit obligation is determined by discounting the estimated future cash outflows using yields on high-quality corporate bonds that have maturity dates approximating the terms of the related Group obligations and that are denominated in the same currency in which the benefits are expected to be paid.

Remeasurement comprising of actuarial gains and losses, the effect of the asset ceiling (if applicable) and the return on plan assets (excluding interest) are recognized immediately in the statement of financial position with a charge or credit to other comprehensive income in the period in which they occur. Remeasurement recorded in other comprehensive income is not recycled. However, the entity may transfer those amounts recognized in other comprehensive income within equity. Past service cost is recognized in profit or loss in the period of plan amendment. Net-interest is calculated by applying the discount rate to the net defined benefit liability or asset. Defined benefit costs are split into three categories:

  • service cost, past-service cost, gains and losses on curtailments and settlements;
  • net-interest expense or income;
  • remeasurement.

The Group presents the first two components of defined benefit costs in the line item “employee benefits expense” in its consolidated income statement (by nature of expenses aggregation). Net-interest expense or income is presented as part of the Operating profit. Curtailments gains and losses are accounted for as past-service cost. Remeasurements are recorded in other comprehensive income.

2.28.2 Other post-retirement employee benefits

Some Group companies provide post-retirement healthcare benefits to their retirees. The Group’s net obligation is the amount of future benefits that employees have earned in return for their service in the current and prior periods. The expected costs of these benefits are accrued over the period of employment using the same methodology used for defined benefit plans.

2.28.3 Termination benefits

Termination benefits are payable when employment is terminated before the normal retirement date, or when an employee accepts voluntary redundancy in exchange for these benefits. The Group recognizes termination benefits when it is demonstrably committed to either: terminating the employment of current employees according to a detailed formal plan without possibility of withdrawal; or providing termination benefits as a result of an offer made to encourage voluntary redundancy. Benefits falling due more than 12 months after balance sheet date are discounted to present value.

2.28.4 Other long-term employee benefits

The liabilities for jubilee premiums and long service awards are measured as the present value of expected future payments to be made in respect of services provided by employees up to the end of the reporting period using the projected unit credit method. Consideration is given to expected future wage and salary levels, experience of employee departures and periods of service. Expected future payments are discounted using yields on high-quality corporate bonds with terms and currencies that match, as closely as possible, the estimated future cash outflows. Remeasurements as a result of experience adjustments and changes in actuarial assumptions are recognized in profit or loss.

2.28.5 Profit-sharing and bonus plans

The Group recognizes a liability and an expense for bonuses and profit-sharing, based on a formula that takes into consideration the profit attributable to the company’s shareholders after certain adjustments. The Group recognizes a provision where contractually obliged or where there is a past practice that has created a constructive obligation and a reliable estimate of the obligation can be made.

2.28.6 Share-based payments

The Group operates several equity-settled and cash-settled share-based compensation plans.

The fair value of the employee services received in exchange for the grant of stock options is recognized as an expense. The total amount to be expensed is determined by reference to the fair value of the stock options granted, excluding the impact of any service and non-market performance vesting conditions (for example profitability, remaining an employee of the entity over a specified time period).

Service and non-market vesting conditions are included in the assumptions about the number of options that are expected to vest. The total amount expensed is recognized over the vesting period, which is the period over which all the specified vesting conditions are to be satisfied.

The fair value of the stock option plan is measured at the grant date using the Black-Scholes valuation model which takes into account the expected life and cancellation rate of the options. At each balance sheet date, the entity revises its estimates of the number of options that are expected to vest. It recognizes the impact of the revision to original estimates, if any, in the income statement, with a corresponding adjustment to equity.

The proceeds received net of any directly attributable transaction costs are credited to share capital (nominal value) and share premium when the options are exercised. The fair value of the amount payable to employees in respect of share appreciation rights, phantom share option, share award and performance share plans, which are settled in cash, is recognized as an expense, with a corresponding increase in liabilities, over the period that the employees become unconditionally entitled to payment. The liability is re-measured at each balance sheet date and at settlement date.

Any changes in the fair value of the liability are recognized as personnel expenses in the income statement.

2.29 Provisions

Provisions are recognized in the balance sheet when:

  • there is a present obligation (legal or constructive) as a result of a past event;
  • it is probable that an outflow of resources embodying economic benefits will be required to settle the obligation; and
  • a reliable estimate can be made of the amount of the obligation.

The amount recognized as a provision is the best estimate of the expenditure required to settle the present obligation at the balance sheet date. Provisions are measured at the present value of the expenditures expected to be required to settle the obligation using a discount rate that reflects current market assessments of the time value of money and the risks specific to the obligation. The increase in the provision due to the passage of time is recognized as interest expense.

A restructuring provision is recognized when the Group has a detailed formal plan and has raised a valid expectation in those affected that it will carry out the restructuring by starting to implement that plan or announcing its main features to those affected by it.