1.4 – Accounting Policies

The accounting policies for the individual items in the Balance Sheet and the Statement of Income are presented in the respective sections of the Notes.

Business combinations: In business combinations, the acquired assets and liabilities are recognized at fair value on the date the acquirer effectively obtains control. The fair value of acquired assets and assumed liabilities at the date of acquisition, as well as the useful lives of the acquired assets, are determined on the basis of assumptions. Measurement is largely based on projected cash flows. Actual cash flows can deviate significantly from those. Independent external appraisals are typically used for the purchase price allocation of material business combinations. Valuations in the course of business combinations are based on existing information as of the acquisition date.

Groups of assets and liabilities held for sale (disposal groups): These comprise those assets and directly associated liabilities shown separately on the balance sheet whose sale in the context of a single transaction is highly probable. A transaction is assumed to be highly probable if there are no significant risks of completion of the transaction, which usually requires the conclusion of binding contracts. The assets and liabilities of disposal groups are recognized at the lower of the sum of their carrying amounts or fair value less costs to sell; this does not apply to assets that do not fall under the valuation principles of IFRS 5. Depreciation of noncurrent assets and the use of the equity method are suspended.

Discontinued operations: These are classified as held for sale and are presented as discontinued operations in BASF’s Consolidated Financial Statements in accordance with IFRS 5. Until closing, the income after taxes of discontinued operations is shown in income after taxes of the BASF Group as a separate item (income after taxes from discontinued operations). In addition, the assets and liabilities of the discontinued operations are reclassified to a disposal group (assets or liabilities of disposal groups). The statement of cash flows is not restated. The activities of discontinued operations are not allocated to any reportable segment in financial reporting.

For more information, see:
Note 3
Note 5

Use of estimates and assumptions in preparing the Consolidated Financial Statements

The carrying amount of assets, liabilities and provisions, contingent liabilities and other financial obligations reported in the Consolidated Financial Statements depends on the use of estimates, assumptions and discretionary scope. Specific estimates or assumptions used in individual accounting or valuation methods are disclosed in their respective sections of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements. They are based on the circumstances and estimates on the balance sheet date and thus affect the amounts of income and expenses shown for the reporting periods presented. These assumptions primarily relate to the determination of discounted cash flows in the context of impairment tests and purchase price allocations; the useful lives of depreciable property, plant and equipment and intangible assets; the carrying amount of shareholdings; and the measurement of provisions for items such as employee benefits, warranties, trade discounts, environmental protection and taxes. Although uncertainty is appropriately incorporated in the valuation factors, actual results can differ from these estimates.

Impairment tests on assets are carried out whenever certain triggering events indicate potential impairment. External triggering events include, for example, changes in customer industries, technologies used and economic downturns. Internal triggering events for an impairment test include lower product profitability, planned restructuring measures or physical damage to assets. Impairment tests entail a comparison of the carrying amount and the recoverable amount. The recoverable amount is the higher of fair value less costs to sell and the value in use. As a rule, value in use is determined using the discounted cash flow method. The estimation of cash flows and the assumptions used consider all information available on the respective balance sheet date on the future development of the operating business. Actual future developments may vary. Impairment testing relies upon the cash-generating unit’s long-term earnings forecasts, which are based on macroeconomic trends. The weighted average cost of capital (WACC) based on the capital asset pricing model plays an important role in impairment testing. It comprises a risk-free interest rate, the market risk premium and an industry-specific spread for the credit risk. Additional important assumptions are the forecasts for the detailed planning period and the terminal growth rates used. Fair value less costs to sell must be determined for the impairment test of disposal groups; specific assumptions relating to the respective transaction must be made for this determination.

For more information, see:
Note 3
Note 14

An impairment is recognized if the recoverable amount of the asset is lower than the carrying amount. The impaired asset (excluding goodwill) is written down by the amount of the difference between these amounts.

The goodwill impairment test is based on cash-generating units. At BASF, these largely correspond to the business units, or in individual cases the divisions. If there is a need for impairment, the existing goodwill is, if necessary, completely written off as a first step. If there is further need for impairment, this is allocated to the remaining assets of the cash-generating unit. Goodwill impairments are reported under other operating expenses.

For planning purposes, BASF assumes an oil price of $50/bbl (Brent) and for gas of approximately €14/MWh (roughly $5/mmBtu) in 2021.