bat plc annual report 2007 - Notes on the accounts: Note 1

 
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Annual Report and Accounts 2007

1 Accounting policies

Basis of Accounting

The Group accounts have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as adopted by the European Union and with those parts of the Companies Act 1985 applicable to companies reporting under IFRS.

The 2005 Financial Statements were the Group’s first consolidated Financial Statements prepared under IFRS, with a transition date of 1 January 2004. However, as permitted under IFRS, IAS32 and IAS39 on financial instruments were applied from 1 January 2005.

The Financial Statements have been prepared under the historical cost convention except as described in the accounting policy below on financial instruments.

In 2007, the Group adopted IFRS7 (Financial Instruments: Disclosures) and amendments to IAS1 (Capital Disclosures). As these only required amended disclosures, including comparatives, they have had no effect on the Group’s reported profit and equity.

The preparation of the Group accounts requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of revenues, expenses, assets and liabilities, and the disclosure of contingent liabilities at the date of the financial statements. The key estimates and assumptions are set out in the accounting policies below, together with the related notes to the accounts.

The most significant items include:

  • The exemptions taken under IFRS1 on the first time adoption of IFRS at 1 January 2004 and, in particular, those relating to goodwill on business combinations and retirement benefit costs which are explained in the accounting policies below. The main adjustments made in the transition to IFRS are summarised in the Five year summary.
     
  • The review of asset values, especially goodwill and impairment testing. The key assumptions used in respect of goodwill and impairment testing are the determination of cash generating units, the long term growth rate for cash flow projections and the rate used to discount the cash flow projections. These are described in note 9.
     
  • The estimation of and accounting for retirement benefit costs. The determination of the carrying value of assets and liabilities, as well as the charge for the year, involves judgements made in conjunction with independent actuaries. These involve estimates about uncertain future events based on the environment in different countries, including life expectancy of scheme members, salary and pension increases, inflation and expected returns on assets, as well as discount rates and asset values at the year end. The resultant volatility is moderated in the accounts by the deferral of some actuarial gains and losses as explained in the accounting policy below. The assumptions used by the Group and sensitivity analysis are described in note 12.
     
  • The estimation of other provisions including taxation. Provisions and liabilities, which are subject to uncertain future events, may extend over several years and so the amount and/or timing may differ from current assumptions. The accounting policy for taxation is explained below and the recognised deferred tax assets and liabilities, together with a note of unrecognised amounts, are shown in note 13. Other provisions are as set out in note 22. The accounting policy on contingent liabilities, which are not provided for, is set out below and the contingent liabilities of the Group are explained in note 30.
     
  • The definition of exceptional items, which are separately disclosed as memorandum information, is explained in the accounting policy below and the impact of these on the calculation of adjusted earnings is described in note 7.

Such estimates and assumptions are based on historical experience and various other factors that are believed to be reasonable in the circumstances and constitute management’s best judgement at the date of the Financial Statements. In the future, actual experience may deviate from these estimates and assumptions, which could affect the Financial Statements as the original estimates and assumptions are modified, as appropriate, in the year in which the circumstances change.

Basis of consolidation

The consolidated financial information includes the accounts of British American Tobacco p.l.c. and its subsidiary undertakings, together with the Group’s share of the results of its associates and joint ventures.

A subsidiary is an entity controlled by the Group, where control is the power to govern the financial and operating policies of the entity so as to obtain benefit from its activities.

Associates and joint ventures comprise investments in undertakings, which are not subsidiary undertakings, where the Group’s interest in the equity capital is long term and over whose operating and financial policies the Group exercises a significant influence and, in the case of joint ventures, has joint control. They are accounted for using the equity method.

The results of Group undertakings acquired during the period are included from the date of acquisition of a controlling interest at which date, for the purposes of consolidation, the purchase consideration is allocated between the underlying net assets acquired, including intangible assets other than goodwill, on the basis of their fair value.

The results of Group undertakings which have been sold during the year are included up to the date of disposal. The profit or loss on sale is calculated by reference to the net asset value at the date of disposal, adjusted for purchased goodwill previously consolidated in the Balance Sheet.

Where accumulated losses applicable to a minority exceed the minority’s interest in the equity of a subsidiary, the excess is allocated to the Group’s interest in the subsidiary, except to the extent that the minority has a binding obligation and is able to make an additional investment to cover the losses.

Inter-company balances and transactions, and any unrealised gains arising from inter-company transactions, are eliminated in preparing the consolidated Financial Statements.

Goodwill

Goodwill arising on acquisitions is capitalised and is considered to have an indefinite life subject to impairment reviews. Any impairment of goodwill is recognised immediately in the Income Statement and is not subsequently reversed.

Goodwill represents the excess of the cost of acquisition of a subsidiary, associate or joint venture over the Group’s share of the fair value of identifiable net assets acquired. Goodwill is stated at cost less accumulated impairment losses and amortisation prior to 1 January 2004.

The Group’s policy up to and including 1997 was to eliminate goodwill against reserves. Goodwill acquired from 1998 to 31 December 2003 was capitalised and amortised over its useful economic life. As permitted under IFRS1, in respect of acquisitions prior to 1 January 2004, the classification and accounting treatment of business combinations was not amended on transition to IFRS. Goodwill previously written off direct to reserves is not recycled to the Income Statement on the disposal of the subsidiary or associate to which it relates.

Goodwill in respect of subsidiaries is included in intangible assets. In respect of associates, goodwill is included in the carrying value of the investment in the associated company. On disposal of a subsidiary or associate, the attributable amount of goodwill is included in the determination of the profit or loss on disposal.

Foreign currencies

The Income and Cash Flow Statements of Group undertakings expressed in currencies other than sterling are translated to sterling at average rates of exchange in each year provided that the average rate approximates the exchange rate at the date of the underlying transactions. Assets and liabilities of these undertakings are translated at rates of exchange at the end of each year. For high inflation countries, the translation from local currencies to sterling makes allowance for the impact of inflation on the local currency results.

The differences between retained profits of overseas subsidiary and associated undertakings translated at average and closing rates of exchange are taken to reserves, as are differences arising on the retranslation to sterling (using closing rates of exchange) of overseas net assets at the beginning of the year. Any differences that have arisen since 1 January 2004 are presented as a separate component of equity. As permitted under IFRS1, any differences prior to that date are not included in this separate component of equity. On the disposal of an overseas undertaking, the cumulative amount of the related exchange differences deferred in the separate component of equity are recognised in the income statement when the gain or loss on disposal is recognised.

Foreign currency transactions are initially recorded at the exchange rate ruling at the date of the transaction. Foreign exchange gains and losses resulting from the settlement of such transactions and from the translation of foreign currency assets and liabilities at year end rates of exchange are recognised in the Income Statement, except when deferred in equity as qualifying cash flow hedges, qualifying net investment hedges and on inter-company quasi-equity loans. Foreign exchange gains or losses recognised in the Income Statement are included in profit from operations or net finance costs depending on the underlying transactions that gave rise to these exchange differences.

Revenue

Revenue principally comprises sales of cigarettes, cigars, leaf and other tobacco products to external customers. Revenue excludes duty, excise and other taxes and is after deducting rebates, returns and other similar discounts. Revenue is recognised when the significant risks and rewards of ownership are transferred to a third party.

Retirement benefit costs

The Group operates both defined benefit and defined contribution schemes. The net deficit or surplus for each defined benefit pension scheme is calculated in accordance with IAS19, based on the present value of the defined benefit obligation at the balance sheet date less the fair value of the scheme assets.

As permitted under IFRS1, all actuarial gains and losses as at 1 January 2004, the date of transition to IFRS, were recognised. In respect of actuarial gains and losses that arise subsequent to that date, to the extent that cumulatively they exceed 10 per cent of the greater of the present value of the defined benefit obligation and the fair value of the scheme assets, that portion is recognised in the income statement over the expected average remaining working lives of the employees participating in the plan. Otherwise, the accumulated actuarial gains and losses are not recognised, except where there are unrecognised scheme surpluses. In such instances, the actuarial gains and losses are recognised as they occur.

Where the actuarial valuation of the scheme demonstrates that the scheme is in surplus, the recognised asset is limited to that for which the Group expects to benefit in future, by refunds or a reduction in contributions.

Past service costs resulting from enhanced benefits are expensed over the period to vesting and if they vest immediately, then they are recognised at that time in the Income Statement.

The Group also has certain post-retirement healthcare schemes and they are accounted for on a similar basis to the defined benefit pension schemes.

For defined benefit schemes, the actuarial cost charged to profit from operations consists of current service cost, interest cost, expected return on plan assets, past service cost and the impact of any settlements or curtailments, as well as actuarial gains or losses to the extent they are recognised, and changes in unrecognised scheme surpluses.

Some benefits are provided through defined contribution schemes and payments to these are charged as an expense as they fall due.

Share-based payments

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

Equity-settled share-based payments are measured at fair value at the date of grant. The fair value determined at the grant date of the equity-settled share-based payments is expensed over the vesting period, based on the Group’s estimate of awards that will eventually vest. For plans where vesting conditions are based on total shareholder returns, the fair value at date of grant reflects these conditions, whereas earnings per share vesting conditions are reflected in the calculation of awards that will eventually vest over the vesting period. For cash-settled share-based payments, a liability equal to the portion of the services received is recognised at its current fair value determined at each balance sheet date. Fair value is measured by the use of the Black-Scholes option pricing model, except where vesting is dependent on market conditions when the Monte Carlo option pricing model is used. The expected life used in the models has been adjusted, based on management’s best estimate, for the effects of non-transferability, exercise restrictions and behavioural considerations.

Research and development

Research expenditure is charged to income in the year in which it is incurred. Development expenditure is charged to income in the year it is incurred, unless it meets the recognition criteria of IAS38 Intangible Assets.

Taxation

Taxation is that chargeable on the profits for the period, together with deferred taxation.

Deferred taxation is provided in full using the liability method for temporary differences between the carrying amount of assets and liabilities for financial reporting purposes and the amount used for taxation purposes. Deferred tax is provided on temporary differences arising on investments in Group undertakings, except where the timing of the reversal of the temporary difference is controlled by the Group and it is probable that it will not reverse in the foreseeable future. A deferred tax asset is recognised only to the extent that it is probable that future taxable profits will be available against which the asset can be utilised. As required under IAS12, deferred tax assets and liabilities are not discounted.

Deferred tax is determined using the tax rates that have been enacted or substantively enacted by the balance sheet date and are expected to apply when the related deferred tax asset is realised or deferred tax liability is settled.

Tax is recognised in the income statement except to the extent that it relates to items recognised directly in equity, in which case it is recognised in equity.

Intangible assets other than goodwill

These intangible assets shown on the Group Balance Sheet consist mainly of computer software which is carried at cost less accumulated amortisation and impairment, and is amortised on a straight-line basis over a period ranging from three to five years.

The investments in associates shown in the Group Balance Sheet include brand names arising from the combination of Brown & Williamson (B&W) and R.J. Reynolds (RJR) in 2004 to form Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), as well as those arising on the acquisition of Conwood by RAI in 2006. As the combination of B&W and RJR for the Group involved the partial disposal of B&W and an investment in RAI, fair values were assigned to brands formerly owned by RJR but not to those formerly owned by B&W. Most of the carrying value of the brands relates to brands which are deemed to have indefinite lives and each brand is subject to an annual impairment test. Certain minor brands are being amortised over their remaining lives consistent with the pattern of economic benefits expected to be received. Any impairments of brands are recognised in the Income Statement but increases in brand values are not recognised.

Property, plant and equipment

Property, plant and equipment is stated at cost less accumulated depreciation and impairment. Depreciation is calculated on a straight-line basis to write off the assets over their useful economic life. No depreciation is provided on freehold land. Freehold and long leasehold property are depreciated at rates between 2.5 per cent and 4 per cent per annum, and plant and equipment at rates between 7 per cent and 25 per cent per annum. In accordance with the benchmark treatment under IAS23, borrowing costs associated with expenditure on property, plant and equipment are not capitalised.

Leased assets

Assets held under finance leases are included as part of property, plant and equipment. Finance lease assets are initially recognised at an amount equal to the lower of their fair value and the present value of the minimum lease payments at inception of the lease, then depreciated over the shorter of the lease term and their estimated useful lives. Leasing payments consist of capital and finance charge elements and the finance element is charged to the Income Statement.

Rental payments under operating leases are charged to the Income Statement on a straight-line basis over the lease term.

Where arrangements are entered into which, while they are not in the legal form of a lease, are in substance a lease under IFRIC Interpretation 4, then they are recognised on the same basis as the leased assets above.

Impairment of non-financial assets

Assets are reviewed for impairment whenever events indicate that the carrying amount of a cash-generating unit may not be recoverable. In addition, assets that have indefinite useful lives are tested annually for impairment. An impairment loss is recognised to the extent that the carrying value exceeds the higher of the asset’s fair value less costs to sell and its value in use.

A cash-generating unit is the smallest identifiable group of assets, that generates cash flows which are largely independent of the cash flows from other assets or groups of assets. At the acquisition date, any goodwill acquired is allocated to the relevant cash-generating unit or group of cash-generating units expected to benefit from the acquisition for the purpose of impairment testing of goodwill.

Impairment of financial assets

Financial assets are reviewed at each balance sheet date, or whenever events indicate that the carrying amount may not be recoverable. In the case of equity investments classified as available-for-sale, a significant or prolonged decline in the fair value of the investment below its cost is considered as an indicator that the investment is impaired.

Inventories

Inventories are stated at the lower of cost and net realisable value. Cost is based on the average cost incurred in acquiring inventories and bringing them to their existing location and condition, which will include raw materials, direct labour and overheads where appropriate. Net realisable value is the estimated selling price less costs to completion and sale. Tobacco inventories which have an operating cycle that exceeds 12 months are classified as current assets, consistent with recognised industry practice.

Financial instruments

Financial assets and financial liabilities are recognised when the Group becomes a party to the contractual provisions of the relevant instrument and derecognised when it ceases to be a party to such provisions. Such assets and liabilities are classified as current if they are expected to be realised or settled within 12 months after the balance sheet date or if they are derivative financial instruments not designated as hedges in accordance with IAS39. If not, they are classified as non-current.

Non-derivative financial assets are classified on initial recognition as available-for-sale investments, loans and receivables or cash and cash equivalents as follows:

Available-for-sale investments: available-for-sale investments are those non-derivative financial assets that cannot be classified as loans and receivables or cash and cash equivalents.

Loans and receivables: these are non-derivative financial assets with fixed or determinable payments that are not quoted in an active market.

Cash and cash equivalents: cash and cash equivalents include cash in hand and deposits held on call, together with other short term highly liquid investments. Cash equivalents normally comprise instruments with maturities of three months or less at date of acquisition. In the Cash Flow Statement, cash and cash equivalents are shown net of bank overdrafts, which are included as current borrowings in the liabilities on the Balance Sheet.

Apart from available-for-sale investments, non-derivative financial assets are stated at amortised cost using the effective interest method, subject to reduction for allowances for estimated irrecoverable amounts. These estimates for irrecoverable amounts are recognised when there is objective evidence that the full amount receivable will not be collected according to the original terms of the asset. Such evidence might include financial difficulties of the debtor, defaults of payment or significant overdue balances. For interest-bearing assets, their carrying value includes accrued interest receivable.

Available-for-sale investments are stated at fair value, with changes in fair value being recognised directly in equity. When such investments are derecognised (e.g. through disposal) or become impaired, the accumulated gains and losses, previously recognised in equity, are recognised in the Income Statement within ‘finance income’. Dividend and interest income on available-for-sale investments are included within ‘finance income’ when the Group’s right to receive payments is established.

Fair values for quoted investments are based on observable market prices. If there is no active market for a financial asset, the fair value is established by using valuation techniques principally involving discounted cash flow analysis.

Non-derivative financial liabilities are stated at amortised cost using the effective interest method. For borrowings, their carrying value includes accrued interest payable, as well as unamortised issue costs.

Derivative financial assets and liabilities are initially recognised, and subsequently measured, at fair value, which includes accrued interest receivable and payable where relevant. Changes in their fair values are recognised as follows:

  • For derivatives that are designated as cash flow hedges, the changes in their fair values are recognised directly in equity, to the extent that they are effective, with the ineffective portion being recognised in the Income Statement. Where the hedged item results in a non-financial asset, the accumulated gains and losses, previously recognised in equity, are included in the initial carrying value of the asset (basis adjustment) and recognised in the Income Statement in the same periods as the hedged item. Where the underlying transaction does not result in such an asset, the accumulated gains and losses are recognised in the Income Statement;
     
  • For derivatives that are designated as fair value hedges, the carrying value of the hedged item is adjusted for the fair value changes attributable to the risk being hedged, with the corresponding entry being made in the Income Statement. The changes in fair value of these derivatives are also recognised in the Income Statement;
     
  • For derivatives that are designated as hedges of net investments in foreign operations, the changes in their fair values are recognised directly in equity, to the extent that they are effective, with the ineffective portion being recognised in the Income Statement. Where non-derivatives such as foreign currency borrowings are designated as net investment hedges, the relevant exchange differences are similarly recognised. The accumulated gains and losses are recognised in the Income Statement when the foreign operation is disposed of; and
     
  • For derivatives that do not qualify for hedge accounting or are not designated as hedges, the changes in their fair values are recognised in the Income Statement in the period in which they arise.

In order to qualify for hedge accounting, the Group is required to document prospectively the relationship between the item being hedged and the hedging instrument. The Group is also required to demonstrate an assessment of the relationship between the hedged item and the hedging instrument, which shows that the hedge will be highly effective on an ongoing basis. This effectiveness testing is reperformed periodically to ensure that the hedge has remained, and is expected to remain, highly effective.

Hedge accounting is discontinued when a hedging instrument is derecognised (e.g. through expiry or disposal), or no longer qualifies for hedge accounting. Where the hedged item is a highly probable forecast transaction, the related gains and losses remain in equity until the transaction takes place, when they are removed from equity in the same manner as for cash flow hedges as described above. When a hedged future transaction is no longer expected to occur, any related gains and losses, previously recognised in equity, are immediately recognised in the Income Statement.

Derivative fair value changes recognised in the Income Statement are either reflected in arriving at profit from operations (if the hedged item is similarly reflected) or in finance costs.

Dividends

Final dividend distributions to the Company’s shareholders are recognised as a liability in the Group’s Financial Statements in the period in which the dividends are approved by the Company’s shareholders at the Annual General Meeting, while interim dividend distributions are recognised in the period in which the dividends are declared and paid.

Segmental analysis

A segment is a distinguishable component of the Group that is engaged in providing products or services within a particular economic environment, and the Group’s geographical segments form the focus of the Group’s internal reporting systems. The Group is a single product business providing cigarettes and other tobacco products. While the Group has clearly differentiated brands, global segmentation between a wide portfolio of brands is not part of the regular internally reported financial information. It is not feasible to segment global results by brand without a high degree of estimation, especially given that geographically the same operations are used to produce the different brands, and brand results are managed in the context of the geographic markets in which they are sold.

The prices agreed between Group companies for intra-group sales of materials, manufactured goods, charges for royalties, commissions, services and fees, are based on normal commercial practices which would apply between independent businesses. Royalty income, less related expenditure, is included in the region in which the licensor is based.

Exceptional items

Exceptional items are items in the profit from operations and the Group share of the post-tax results of associates which individually or, if of a similar type, in aggregate, are relevant to an understanding of the Group’s financial performance. These items are separately disclosed as memorandum information on the face of the Income Statement and in the segmental analyses.

Provisions

Provisions are recognised when either a legal or constructive obligation as a result of a past event exists at the balance sheet date, it is probable that an outflow of economic resources will be required to settle the obligation and a reasonable estimate can be made of the amount of the obligation.

Contingent liabilities

Subsidiaries and associate companies are defendants in tobacco-related litigation. Provision for this litigation would be made at such time as an unfavourable outcome became probable and the amount could be reasonably estimated.

The Group records its external legal fees and other external defence costs for tobacco-related litigation as these costs fall due.

Repurchase of share capital

When share capital is repurchased the amount of consideration paid, including directly attributable costs, is recognised as a deduction from equity. Repurchased shares which are not cancelled, or shares purchased for the employee share ownership trusts, are classified as treasury shares and presented as a deduction from total equity.

Future changes to accounting policies

Certain changes to IFRS will be applicable for the Group accounts in future years and set out below are those which are considered to affect the Group.

  • IFRIC14 (IAS19 – The Limit on a Defined Benefit Asset, Minimum Funding Requirements and their Interaction) will be effective from 1 January 2008, once it has been endorsed by the EU. The interpretation clarifies the conditions under which a surplus in a post-retirement benefit scheme can be recognised in the financial statements, as well as setting out the accounting implications where minimum funding requirements exist. It is not expected that this change would materially alter the Group’s reported profit and equity for 1 January 2007 or 31 December 2007.

There are other changes which are effective from 1 January 2009 but can be adopted before 2009.

  • IFRS8 (Operating Segments) has been endorsed by the EU. This standard requires segmental reporting in the financial statements to be on the same basis as is used for internal management reporting. This will not require any change to the segments currently reported by the Group but there will be some additional disclosures.
     
  • The revised IAS1 (Presentation of Financial Statements) is awaiting EU endorsement. This standard will require some changes in the format of the financial statements and permit some changes in terminology, but it will not affect the measurement of reported profit or equity.
     
  • The revised IAS23 (Borrowing costs) is also awaiting endorsement by the EU. This standard requires borrowings directly attributable to the acquisition, construction or production of an asset that takes a substantial period of time to get ready for its intended use or sale, to be capitalised as part of the cost of the asset. The Group’s current policy is to expense such borrowing costs as they are incurred. It is not expected that this change would materially affect the Group’s reported profit or equity.

In addition, the revised IFRS3 (Business Combinations) and IAS27 (Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements) have been issued and change the accounting for business combinations and transactions with minorities. While these revised standards are applicable for periods beginning on or after 1 July 2009, with early adoption permitted from on or after 30 June 2007, these are only to be applied prospectively and so there is no restatement of transactions prior to the effective date. Moreover, these standards have not yet been endorsed by the EU and will only be applicable once that endorsement has occurred.

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