The European Union Regulation no. 1606/2002 made it mandatory for all EU listed companies to prepare consolidated financial statements in accordance with International Accounting Standards (IAS) for each financial year starting on or after 1 January 2005. As it is well known, the implementation of impairment test is emerging as one of the most debated issues. In particular, the impairment test for intangible assets is rather complex and will become even more important in consideration of the ongoing amendment of IAS 38 (Intangible Assets) and IAS 36 (Impairment Test) which is currently carried out by the IASB “Business Combination Project” in the footsteps of US’s SFAS 141 and SFAS 142. The purpose of the paper is to challenge IAS 36 Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) approach to impairment test by proposing Real Options Analysis (ROA) as a fruitful and viable methodology for giving content to this test. At present, the impairment test of intangible assets follows the general rules provided by IAS 36, and it is based on net-selling price and value-in-use. The latter is measured by “…(a) estimating the future cash inflows and outflows to be derived from continuing use of the asset and from its ultimate disposal; and (b) applying the appropriate discount rate to these future cash flows.” Unfortunately, DCF approach undervalues systematically high-risk assets since it does not account for managerial flexibility giving the firm the opportunity to take advantage of positive states of nature without suffering from bad ones. This flexibility, usually referred to as real option, is often connected with and arises from intangible assets and, if it is not incorporated in the value-in-use calculation, intangible assets could be unfairly impaired. Indeed, looking at the finance literature, ROA application to intangible investments, such as R&D investments, patents and licences, has often demonstrated the pitfalls of DCF approach in assessing their value. In spite of its theoretical fairness in measuring value-in-use, ROA should be implemented with caution. An asset could provide the firm an option to grow or expand. Nevertheless, such an option could ask for new investments to be made and this could violate IAS 36. Current formulation of IAS 36 requires in fact that future cash flows to be considered for the value-in-use valuation should be estimated for an asset with the reference to its present state without taking into account other investments (“stand-alone asset” approach). The extent of ROA applicability, then, is to be carefully determined and the typologies of real options to be considered in the asset value-in-use valuation should be clearly identified. Some numerical examples will also be provided in order to reinforce the theoretical conclusions of the paper. Despite those technical bewares, the paper nonetheless sets a case for the employment of ROA – instead of DCF approach –for the practical implementation of the impairment test for European companies

Impairment Test and Real Options Analysis: Congenial or Uncongenial Twins? With Special Reference to Intangible Assets

MARZO, Giuseppe
2004

Abstract

The European Union Regulation no. 1606/2002 made it mandatory for all EU listed companies to prepare consolidated financial statements in accordance with International Accounting Standards (IAS) for each financial year starting on or after 1 January 2005. As it is well known, the implementation of impairment test is emerging as one of the most debated issues. In particular, the impairment test for intangible assets is rather complex and will become even more important in consideration of the ongoing amendment of IAS 38 (Intangible Assets) and IAS 36 (Impairment Test) which is currently carried out by the IASB “Business Combination Project” in the footsteps of US’s SFAS 141 and SFAS 142. The purpose of the paper is to challenge IAS 36 Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) approach to impairment test by proposing Real Options Analysis (ROA) as a fruitful and viable methodology for giving content to this test. At present, the impairment test of intangible assets follows the general rules provided by IAS 36, and it is based on net-selling price and value-in-use. The latter is measured by “…(a) estimating the future cash inflows and outflows to be derived from continuing use of the asset and from its ultimate disposal; and (b) applying the appropriate discount rate to these future cash flows.” Unfortunately, DCF approach undervalues systematically high-risk assets since it does not account for managerial flexibility giving the firm the opportunity to take advantage of positive states of nature without suffering from bad ones. This flexibility, usually referred to as real option, is often connected with and arises from intangible assets and, if it is not incorporated in the value-in-use calculation, intangible assets could be unfairly impaired. Indeed, looking at the finance literature, ROA application to intangible investments, such as R&D investments, patents and licences, has often demonstrated the pitfalls of DCF approach in assessing their value. In spite of its theoretical fairness in measuring value-in-use, ROA should be implemented with caution. An asset could provide the firm an option to grow or expand. Nevertheless, such an option could ask for new investments to be made and this could violate IAS 36. Current formulation of IAS 36 requires in fact that future cash flows to be considered for the value-in-use valuation should be estimated for an asset with the reference to its present state without taking into account other investments (“stand-alone asset” approach). The extent of ROA applicability, then, is to be carefully determined and the typologies of real options to be considered in the asset value-in-use valuation should be clearly identified. Some numerical examples will also be provided in order to reinforce the theoretical conclusions of the paper. Despite those technical bewares, the paper nonetheless sets a case for the employment of ROA – instead of DCF approach –for the practical implementation of the impairment test for European companies
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11392/1399486
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