4. Critical Accounting Estimates and JudgmentsAudited information
Estimates and judgments are continually evaluated and are based on historical experience and other factors, including expectations on future events that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances.
The Group makes estimates and takes assumptions concerning the future. The resulting accounting estimates will, by definition, seldom equal the related actual results. The estimates and assumptions that have a significant risk of causing a material adjustment to the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities within the next financial year are discussed below.
4.1 – Estimated impairment of goodwill, intangibles, and property, plant and equipment
The Group tests annually whether goodwill has suffered any im-pairment in accordance with the requirements of IAS 36, Impairment of Assets. The recoverable amounts of all cash generating units have been determined based on value-in-use calculations.
The recoverable value of intangibles and property, plant and equipment is also assessed applying value-in-use calculations. These calculations require the use of estimates, in particular in relation to the expected growth of sales, the discount rates, the development of raw material prices and the success of restructuring measures implemented (see notes 5 and 6).
4.2 – Environmental liabilities
The Group is exposed to environmental regulations in numerous jurisdictions. Significant judgment is required in determining the worldwide provision for environmental remediation. The Group constantly monitors its sites to ensure compliance with legislative requirements and to assess the liability arising from the need to adapt to changing legal demands. The Group recognizes liabilities for environmental remediation based on the latest assessment of the environmental situation of the individual sites and the most recent requirements of the respective legislation. Where the final remediation results in expenses that differ from the amounts previously recorded, such differences impact the income statement in the period in which such determination is made (see notes 20 and 33).
4.3 – Income tax and other taxes
The Group is subject to income tax and other taxes in numerous jurisdictions. Significant judgment is required in determining the worldwide provision for income tax and other taxes. There are many transactions and calculations for which the ultimate tax determination is uncertain at the time a liability must be recorded. The Group recognizes liabilities for anticipated tax audit issues based on estimates of whether additional taxes will be due. Where the final tax outcome of these matters is different from the amounts initially recorded, such differences impact the income tax and deferred tax provisions in the period in which such determination is made (see note 9).
As a substantial part of Clariant’s activities are based in Germany, this is where the largest tax risks arise.
Some subsidiaries generate tax losses. Often these can be used to offset taxable gains of subsequent periods. The Group constantly monitors the development of such tax loss situations. Based on the business plans for the subsidiaries concerned, the recoverability of such tax losses is determined. In the case that a tax loss is deemed to be recoverable, the capitalization of a deferred tax asset for such a tax loss is then decided.
4.4 – Estimates for the accounting for employee benefits
IAS 19, Employee Benefits, requires that certain assumptions are made in order to determine the amount to be recorded for retirement benefit obligations and pension plan assets, in particular for defined benefit plans. These are mainly actuarial assumptions such as expected future salary increases, long-term increase in health care costs, average life expectancy and discount rates. Substantial changes in the assumed development of any of these variables may significantly change the Group’s retirement benefit obligation and pension assets (see note 19).
4.5 – Contingencies
Clariant is regularly confronted with situations where possible obligations arising from past events will only be confirmed by the occurrence or non-occurrence of future events not wholly within the control of the Group or where the amount of the obligation cannot be reliably estimated.
Clariant reviews such situations at each balance sheet and makes judgments based on all information available on it if an outflow of resources can be reliably estimated or not. If this is not possible, a contingency is reported for each material case.