The following new and revised standards were binding for the first time during the 2016 financial year:
The following standards have been endorsed or are in the process of endorsement by the European Union. However, mandatory application of these standards will first take place in the future.
IFRS 9 FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS
FRS 9 – Financial Instruments contains regulations for recognition, measurement, elimination and hedge accounting. The accounting approach stipulated in IFRS 9 fully replaces the accounting of financial instruments previously included in IAS 39 – Financial Instruments. IFRS 9 is to be applied for the first time in the first reporting period of a financial year beginning on or after January 1, 2018, but the earlier application of this standard is permitted. From today’s perspective, Austrian Post intends to apply IFRS 9 for the first time as at January 1, 2018.
Austrian Post has implemented a preliminary assessment of the potential effects relating to the application of IFRS 9 based on the financial instruments it owns as at December 31, 2016:
In particular, rules on the classification and valuation of financial assets were revised. In the new standard, the classification and valuation of financial instruments is now contingent upon the business model and contractual cash flows. Depending on the type of financial asset, the business model and the contractual cash flows, the subsequent measurement is implemented at amortised cost and is recognised either at fair value through profit and loss (“FVTPL”) or at fair value through other comprehensive income (“FVOCI”). On the basis of its preliminary assessment, the Austrian Post Group takes the view that the new classification requirements, inasmuch as they are applied as at December 31, 2016, will not have a material effect on the accounting treatment of its financial instruments. As at December 31, 2016, the Austrian Post Group owns stakes in companies with a carrying amount of about EUR 61.1m, which are classified as available for sale. If these shares continue to be held for the same reason within the first-time application of IFRS 9, the Austrian Post Group can classify them either as FVOCI or FVTPL. The Austrian Post Group has not yet reached a decision on this matter. In the former case, all changes in fair value are recognised in other comprehensive income, impairment losses are not reported in profit or loss and gains or losses are not reclassified to profit or loss upon disposal. In the latter case, all changes in fair value are recognised in profit or loss, as soon as they occur, which increases the volatility of Group profits. There will be no changes in classification with respect to financial liabilities.
New rules were also introduced for the accounting treatment of impairment losses on financial assets. They now stipulate the recognition of expected losses (expected loss model). This requires considerable judgments to be made with respect to the extent to which the expected credit defaults will be influenced by changes in economic factors. This estimate is determined on the basis of probability- weighted aspects. The preliminary assessment by the Austrian Post Group concluded that the application of impairment provisions contained in IFRS 9 as at December 31, 2016 will have likely led to an increase in value adjustments at this point in time compared to the impairment losses recognised in accordance with IAS 39. This can be particularly attributed to the high level of investments in fixed term deposits and investment grade securities for which no impairment losses have been recognised up until now. With regard to trade receivables, no material changes are to be expected due to the overall low default risk. Nevertheless, the Austrian Post Group has not yet definitely specified the impairment methods it will apply in accordance with IFRS 9.
IFRS 9 requires new, extensive disclosures, especially with regard to accounting, credit risk and expected credit defaults. The appropriate systems for the purpose of collecting required data are currently being evaluated in order to ensure their timely implementation.
Changes in accounting policies related to the application of IFRS 9 are generally to be applied retroactively, though the standard permits deviations in some cases. Accordingly, the Austrian Post Group intends to make use of the exception stipulated by IFRS 9 which allows the company not to adjust comparative information for previous periods with regard to changes in the classification and valuation (including impairment losses). Differences between the carrying amount for financial assets and financial liabilities attributable to the application of IFRS 9 will generally be recognised in revenue reserves as at January 1, 2018.
IFRS 15 REVENUE FROM CONTRACTS WITH CUSTOMERS
The aim of IFRS 15 – Revenue from Contracts with Customers – is to bundle a large number of regulations contained in various standards and interpretations. The core principle of IFRS 15 is that the revenue which is recognised depicts the transfer of promised goods or services to customers as contractually stipulated in an amount that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled. The core principle is implemented within the context of a five-step model framework. This model stipulates that the transfer of control (control approach) determines the time or period of realising revenue, replacing the previous risk and reward model (transfer of risks and rewards). In addition, the scope of the required explanatory notes in the consolidated financial statements is expanded.
The Austrian Post Group carried out an initial evaluation of the potential consequences arising from the application of IFRS 15 on its consolidated financial statements. The focus was on existing customer contracts within the context of the main business activities of Austrian Post, namely the acceptance, sorting and delivery of letters and parcels. Existing customer contracts or the services to be rendered are generally characterised by a very high degree of uniformity. Moreover, the processing times for rendering the services are short (for example, 95 % of all letters in Austria are delivered within one working day in line with statutory regulations). Significant accounting issues arise from IFRS 15 (as with IAS 18 up until now) in the estimate of the extent to which the consideration has already been received but the service has not yet been rendered (e. g. the sale of stamps) and the estimate of variable consideration (e. g. discounts and bonuses). In both cases there will likely be no major changes compared to the previous approach and thus the time and amount in which revenue is recognised.
With respect to other business areas (e. g. sale of postal and telecommunications products or financial services in cooperation with business partners or the rendering of additional services along the value chain for letters or parcels), individual circumstances were identified within the context of an initial screening leading to the conclusion that changes could take place pursuant to IFRS 15, but the type and extent of these changes have not yet been defined. However, the revenue related to these customer contracts are as a whole of subordinate importance. For this reason, no major effects on the earnings situation is expected.
The Austrian Post Group is currently carrying out a further evaluation about the consequences of applying IFRS 15 and assumes that additional quantitative information will be provided before the application of IFRS 15.
Austrian Post has the option of either selecting a full retrospective approach or a modified retrospective approach for the first-time application of the new standard. At the present time, Austrian Post intends to apply IFRS 15 as at January 1, 2018. The selection of the transition approach has not yet taken place.
IFRS 16 LEASES
The new IFRS 16 – Leases – replaces the previous regulations contained in IAS 17 and the related interpretations. In particular, the accounting treatment of lease agreements by the lessee is redefined. The lessee now recognises a liability for every leasing relationship to the amount of the future leasing payments. At the same time, the right-of-use asset is capitalised to the present value of future lease payments and subsequently written off as an expense on a straight-line basis. Accordingly, the previous distinction made between the operating and finance lease no longer applies. For the lessor, the rules contained in the new standard are similar to the previously valid regulations of IAS 17. Moreover, IFRS 16 contains rules on sale and leaseback transactions as well as the required explanatory notes in the consolidated financial statements.
Austrian Post has begun with an initial assessment of the potential consequences of applying this standard on its consolidated financial statements. The most important specific application relates to real estate leasing contracts as the lessee for logistics sites, branch offices and administrative buildings. The most significant effects result from the recognition of right-of-use assets and liabilities for these operating lease agreements. Furthermore, the type of expenses related to these operating lease agreements will change, in line of the fact that IFRS 16 replaces expenses recognised on a straightline basis by depreciation expenses for right-of-use assets and interest expenses for lease liabilities in accordance with IAS 17. No material effects are expected with respect to existing finance lease agreements in accordance with IAS 17. No material effects are also expected for existing lease agreements in which Austrian Post acts as the lessor.
The effects on the reported assets and liabilities of the Austrian Post Group resulting from the application of IFRS 16 have not yet been quantified. Regarding the existing operating lease agreements at the balance sheet date, refer to Note 11.2 Other financial obligations. The Austrian Post Group assumes that the selected transition approach and the quantitative effects will be specified before the first-time application.
For the first-time application of the new standard, Austrian Post can either choose a full retrospective approach or a modified retrospective approach. The selected approach will be consistently implemented for all leasing relationships relating to Austrian Post as a lessee. From today’s perspective, Austrian Post intends to apply IFRS 16 for the first time as at January 1, 2018. The choice of a transition approach has not yet been made.
The other revised standards are unlikely to have a material impact on the consolidated financial statements of Austrian Post.