C3. Significant accounting policies
Consolidated financial statements
General – Subsidiaries
The consolidated financial statements comprise the parent company Telia Company AB and all entities over which Telia Company has control. The group controls an entity when the group is exposed to, or has rights to, variable returns from its involvement with the entity and has the ability to affect those returns through its power over the entity. The existence and effect of potential voting rights that are currently exercisable or convertible, including potential voting rights held by another entity, are considered when assessing whether an entity is controlled or not. Telia Company is assumed to have control if the group owns the majority of shares and the shares have equal voting rights attached, and a proportionate entitlement to a share of the returns of the entity and decisions about relevant activities are determined by majority votes. Telia Company is also assumed to have control if Telia Company selects the majority of the board contractually even if not holding the majority of the shares, see Notes C4 “Changes in group composition and events after the reporting period” and C19 “Equity and earnings per share.”
Acquisitions are accounted for using the acquisition method which measures goodwill at the acquisition date as: the fair value of the consideration transferred; plus the amount of any non-controlling interest in the acquiree recognized in the transaction; plus if the business combination is achieved in stages, the fair value of the previously held equity interest in the acquiree; less the net recognized amount of the identifiable assets acquired and liabilities assumed. When the difference is negative, a bargain purchase gain would be recognized in net income. Costs related to the acquisition are expensed as incurred.
Any contingent consideration payable would be recognized at fair value at the acquisition date. If the contingent consideration would be classified as equity, it is not remeasured and settlement is accounted for within equity. Otherwise, subsequent changes to the fair value of the contingent consideration are recognized in net income. Acquisition of additional shares in a subsidiary after obtaining control as well as a partial disposal of shares in a subsidiary while retaining control are accounted for as equity transactions with owners. See section “Non-controlling interests” below.
Assets (including any goodwill and fair value adjustments) and liabilities for entities acquired or divested during the year are included in the consolidated financial statements from the date on which control is obtained and excluded from the date on which control is lost.
Intra-group sales and other transactions have been eliminated in the consolidated financial statements. Profits and losses resulting from intra-group transactions are eliminated unless a loss indicates impairment.
Prior to 2010, transactions involving non-controlling interests were treated as transactions with non-related parties. Disposals of non-controlling interests resulted in capital gains or losses which were recognized in net income. Purchases of non-controlling interests resulted in goodwill, being the difference between any consideration paid and the relevant share acquired of the group’s carrying value of net assets of the subsidiary. Prospectively as of 2010, transactions with non-controlling interests are treated as equity transactions, including any transaction-related costs. Gains or losses on disposals as well as any excess or deficit of consideration paid over the carrying amount of non-controlling interests when acquiring additional shares in a subsidiary are recognized in retained earnings. Consideration paid for a call option or other similar contract giving Telia Company the right to acquire a fixed non-controlling interest in exchange for a fixed amount of cash or another financial asset is deducted from retained earnings.
Commitments to purchase non-controlling interests (NCI) made prior to 2010 and put options granted to holders of non-controlling interests (taking into account any subsequent capital contributions from or dividends to such shareholders) prior to 2010 are recognized as contingent consideration (provisions). Where the amount of the liability exceeds the amount of the non-controlling interest, the difference is recorded as goodwill. Subsequent changes in the value of put option liabilities are recognized as an adjustment to goodwill. Commitments entered into on or after 2010 are considered financial liabilities with subsequent changes in the value recognized as other operating income/expense. For each business combination the group elects to measure any non-controlling interest in a subsidiary either at fair value (goodwill recognized on non-controlling interest) or only at the proportionate share of the identifiable net assets (goodwill recognized only on acquired interest). If Telia Company has a commitment of a NCI option linked to a receivable from the same counter party and the shares are held as collateral for the receivable, then the receivable and liability is recognized and offset in the statement of financial position. The change in fair value of the option is assumed to equal the return on the shares held as collateral, see Note C26 “Financial risk management.”
Joint arrangements are entities over which the group has joint control by virtue of contractual arrangements. Joint arrangements are classified as either joint operations or joint ventures. Joint operations are arrangements whereby Telia Company has the right to the assets and obligation for the liabilities and accounts for its share of the assets, liabilities, revenue and expenses of the joint operation line by line in the consolidated financial statements. The joint operations are primarily designed for providing output to the shareholders.
Joint ventures on the other hand are arrangements where Telia Company has right to the net assets of the arrangement and the investment is accounted for under the equity method (similar to associated companies - see section below). Joint arrangements acquired or divested during the year are included in the consolidated financial statements from the date on which joint control is obtained and excluded from the date on which joint control is lost.
Associated companies are entities over which the group has significant influence but not control. If the group holds, directly or indirectly (eg through subsidiaries), 20 percent or more of the voting power of the investee, it is presumed that the group has significant influence, unless it can be clearly demonstrated that this is not the case. Holdings in associated companies are accounted for using the equity method and are initially recognized at cost, including any transaction costs. The group’s share of net income in associated companies is included in operating income because the operations of these companies are related to telecommunications and it is the group’s strategy to capitalize on industry know-how by means of investing in partly owned operations. The share of net income is based on the entity’s most recent accounts, adjusted for any discrepancies in accounting policies, and with estimated adjustments for significant events and transactions up to Telia Company’s close of books.
The line item Income from associated companies and joint ventures also includes amortization of fair value adjustments and other consolidation adjustments made upon the acquisition of associated companies as well as any subsequent impairment losses on goodwill and other intangible assets, and capital gains and losses on disposals of stakes in such companies. Telia Company’s share of any gains or losses resulting from transactions with associated companies is eliminated.
Dividend received reduces the carrying amount of an investment. Negative equity participations in associated companies are recognized only to the extent contractual obligations to contribute additional capital exist and are then recorded as Other provisions.
The group’s share of associated entities equity transactions such as the acquisition or sale of treasury shares from third parties are recognized directly in equity.
Cash flow reporting
Cash flows from operating activities are reported using the indirect method and include dividends received from associated companies and other equity instruments, interest paid or received (except for paid interest capitalized as part of the acquisition or construction of non-current assets and therefore included in cash flows from investing activities), provisions and taxes paid or refunded. Changes in non-interest bearing receivables and liabilities are reported in working capital, except for IRU-related prepayments made or received which are included in cash flows from investing activities. Terminal financing receivables are also included in working capital.
Cash flows from investing activities include CAPEX, payments to acquire or receipts from the sale of joint ventures, associates, subsidiaries (obtaining or losing control) net of cash and cash equivalents acquired or disposed of and other equity instruments. Further, cash flows from investing activities include compensation from or contributions to the Swedish pension fund, payments related to leasing receivables, as well as other investments with maturities over 3 months.
Cash flows from financing activities include dividends paid to owners of the parent and to holders of non-controlling interests, payments and receipts from changes in ownership of non-controlling interest and cash flows from settlement of foreign exchange derivative contracts used for economic hedges of cash-pool balances including any payments or receipts from CSA. Proceeds from and repayment of long-term borrowings include cash flows from derivatives hedging such borrowings.
Cash and cash equivalents include cash at hand, bank deposits and highly-liquid short-term investments (including blocked amounts) with maturities up to and including 3 months.
Cash flows of a foreign entity are translated at the average exchange rate for the reporting period, except for certain transactions like dividends from associates, dividends paid to holders of non-controlling interests, acquisitions or disposals of subsidiaries and associated companies, and other major non-recurring transactions which are translated at the rate prevailing on the transaction day.
The group’s businesses are managed on a geographical basis. Countries are grouped in two geographical regions: Sweden and Europe. Operating segments that are not individually reportable, the associates MegaFon and Turkcell, and certain group functions are combined into “Other operations.” The former segment region Eurasia is classified as held for sale and discontinued operations since December 31, 2015, and is therefore not included in the segment information. For additional information, see Note C5 “Segment information.” Segments are consolidated based on the same accounting principles as for the group as a whole. When significant operations are transferred between segments, comparative period figures are restated.
Foreign currency translation and inflation adjustments
Currency translation is based on market rates with information from major market providers and are fixed daily.
Separate financial statements of a group entity are presented in the entity’s functional currency, being the currency of the primary economic environment in which the entity operates, normally the local currency. In preparing the financial statements, foreign currency transactions are translated at the exchange rates prevailing at the date of each transaction. At the end of each reporting period, monetary assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currencies are translated at the closing rates existing at that date. Exchange rate differences arising from operating receivables or liabilities are recognized in operating income, while differences attributable to financial assets or liabilities are recognized in finance items. Exchange rate differences on available-for-sale equity instruments and on cash flow hedges are recognized in other comprehensive income.
The consolidated financial statements are presented in Swedish krona (SEK), which is the functional currency of the parent company. For consolidation purposes, income and expenses of foreign operations (subsidiaries, joint ventures and associated companies, and branch offices) are translated at the average exchange rates for the period. However, for items related to dividends, gains or losses on disposal of operations or other major transactions or if exchange rates fluctuated significantly during the period, the exchange rates at the date of the transactions are used. Assets and liabilities, including goodwill and fair value adjustments arising on acquisition of foreign operations, are translated at closing rates at the end of the reporting period except for equity components, which are translated at historical rates. Translation differences are recognized in other comprehensive income and accumulated in equity attributable to owners of the parent or to non-controlling interests, as appropriate.
When a foreign operation is disposed, any related cumulative exchange rate difference is recycled to net income as part of the gain or loss on the sale, except for accumulated exchange rate differences related to non-controlling interests which are derecognized but not recycled to net income. However, if Telia Company would dispose of a non-controlling interest in a foreign operation while retaining control, the relevant proportion of the cumulative amount is reattributed to non-controlling interests.
When the functional currency for a foreign operation is the currency of a hyperinflationary economy, prior to translating the financial statements, the reported non-monetary assets and liabilities, and equity are restated in terms of the measuring unit current at the end of the reporting period.
Net sales principally consist of traffic charges including interconnect and roaming, subscription fees, connection and installation fees, service charges and equipment sales. Sales revenues are recognized at fair value of the consideration received, normally being the sales value, adjusted for rebates and discounts granted and sales-related taxes.
Revenue is recognized in the period in which the service is performed, based on actual traffic or over the contract term, as applicable. Revenue from rendering of services is recognized when it is probable that the economic benefits associated with a transaction will flow to Telia Company, and the amount of revenue, and the associated costs incurred, or to be incurred, can be measured reliably. Revenue from voice and data services is recognized when the services are used by the customer. Revenue from interconnect traffic with other telecom operators is recognized at the time of transit across Telia Company’s network. When invoicing end-customers for third-party content services, amounts collected on behalf of the principal are excluded from revenue.
Subscription fees are recognized as revenue over the subscription period. Sales relating to pre-paid phone cards, primarily mobile, are deferred and recognized as revenue based on the actual usage of the cards. For open access fiber installed at customer’s premises, non-refundable customer fees and related installation costs, including planning, trenching, cabling, splicing, mounting, connection, cross connect equipment and media converter, are recognized when the installation is finalized. Connection fees are separately recognized at completion of connection, if the fees do not include any amount for subsequent servicing but only cover the connection costs. Amounts for subsequent servicing are deferred. Revenue from equipment sales is recognized when delivery has occurred and the significant risks and rewards have been transferred to the customer, i.e. normally on delivery and when accepted by the customer.
Under customer loyalty programs, customers are entitled to certain discounts (award credits) relating to services and goods provided by Telia Company. Based on relative fair values, proceeds are allocated between services and goods provided and the award credits for future services and goods. For the proportion of award credits expected to be redeemed, revenue is deferred and subsequently recognized when the award credits are redeemed and the obligations to supply the awards are fulfilled. For recognition of customer acquisition costs, see section “Operating expenses” below.
Telia Company may bundle services and products into one customer offering. Offerings may involve the delivery or performance of multiple products, services, or rights to use assets (multiple deliverables). In some cases, the arrangements include initial installation, initiation, or activation services and involve consideration in the form of a fixed fee or a fixed fee coupled with a continuing payment stream. The revenue is allocated to equipment and services in proportion to the fair value of the individual items. Services invoiced based on usage are not included in the allocation. Customized equipment that can be used only in connection with services or products provided by Telia Company is not accounted for separately and revenue is deferred over the total service arrangement period.
To corporate customers, Telia Company offers long-term functional service agreements for total telecom services, which may include switchboard services, fixed telephony, mobile telephony, data communication and other customized services. There are generally no options for the customer to acquire the equipment at the end of the service contract period. Revenue for such functionality agreements is recognized over the service period but part of the periodic fixed fee is deferred to meet the costs at the end of the contract period (maintenance and up-grades).
Service and construction contract revenues are recognized using the percentage of completion method. The stage of completion is estimated using measures based on the nature and terms of the contracts. When it is probable that total contract costs will exceed total contract revenue, the expected loss is immediately expensed.
Within the international carrier operations, sales of Indefeasible Rights of Use (IRU) regarding fiber and duct are recognized as revenue over the period of the agreement (see also section “Telia Company as operating lessor” below).
Telia Company presents its analysis of expenses using a classification based on function. Cost of sales comprises all costs for services and products sold as well as for installation, maintenance, service, and support. Selling and marketing expenses comprise all costs for selling and marketing services and products and includes expenses for advertising, PR, pricelists, commission fees, credit information, debt collection, etc. Bad debt losses as well as doubtful debt allowances are also included. Recovery of receivables written-off in prior years is included in Other operating income. Research and development expenses (R&D) include expenses for developing new or substantially improving already existing services, products, processes or systems. Maintenance and minor adjustments to already existing services, products, processes or systems are not included in R&D. Expenses that are related to specific customer orders (customization) are included in Cost of sales. Amortization, depreciation and impairment losses are included in each function to the extent referring to intangible assets or property, plant and equipment used for that function.
Costs for retailer commissions, other customer acquisition costs, advertising, and other marketing costs are expensed as incurred.
All pension benefit costs except for the interest component are recognized as personnel expenses. For equity-settled share-based payments to employees, such as Telia Company’s Performance Share Programs, cost, being the fair value at the allotment date of the equity instruments allotted, is recognized as personnel expenses allocated over the vesting period and with a corresponding increase in equity. Cost is based on the best available estimate of the number of equity instruments to vest. If necessary, the estimate is revised during the vesting period and finally revised at the end of the vesting period.
Other operating income and expenses
Other operating income and other operating expenses include gains and losses, respectively, on disposal of shares or operations in subsidiaries (see section “Associated companies” above) and on disposal or retirement of intangible assets or property, plant and equipment.
Also included in other operating income and expenses are impairment losses of goodwill, government grants, exchange rate differences on operating transactions, results from court-settled disputes with other operators regarding historical interconnect and roaming fees, restructuring costs and other similar items. Government grants are initially measured at fair value and recognized as income over the periods necessary to match them with the related costs. Exchange rate differences from operating transactions also include effects from economic hedges and value changes in derivatives hedging operational transaction exposure (see section “Derivatives and hedge accounting” below).
Finance costs and other financial items
Interest income and expenses are recognized as incurred, using the effective interest rate method, with the exception of borrowing costs directly attributable to the acquisition, construction or production of an asset, which are capitalized as part of the cost of that asset (see also section “Intangible assets, and property, plant and equipment” below). Increases in provisions due to passage of time are recognized as interest expenses.
Interest income and expenses also include changes in fair value of the interest component of cross currency interest rate swaps as well as changes in fair value of interest rate swaps. The initial difference between nominal value and net present value of borrowings with an interest rate different to market rate (“day 1 gain”) is amortized until due date and recognized as Other interest income. The interest component of changes in the fair value of borrowings measured at fair value and of derivatives hedging loans and borrowings (see section “Derivatives and hedge accounting” below) are included in Other interest income (gains) or in Interest expenses (losses). Exchange rate differences on financial transactions also comprise changes in fair value of the currency component of cross currency interest rate swaps and of forward contracts hedging currency risks in external borrowings.
Dividend income from equity investments is recognized when Telia Company’s rights to receive payment have been established. Income and expenses relating to guarantee commissions are included in Other interest income and Interest expenses, respectively. Interest expenses include funding-related bank fees and fees to rating institutions and market makers. Further the net interest on the net defined benefit liability (asset) is recognized as part of finance costs.
Incomes taxes comprise current and deferred tax. Current and deferred income taxes are recognized in net income or in other comprehensive income, to the extent relating to items recognized in other comprehensive income. Deferred income taxes are provided in full, using the balance sheet liability method, on temporary differences arising between the tax bases of assets and liabilities and their carrying values in the consolidated financial statements and on unutilized tax deductions or losses. Where a subsidiary has a history of tax losses, Telia Company recognizes a deferred tax asset only to the extent that the subsidiary has sufficient taxable temporary differences or there is convincing other evidence that sufficient taxable profit will be available.
On initial recognition of assets and liabilities, deferred taxes are not recognized on temporary differences in transactions that are not business combinations. Deferred tax liabilities for undistributed earnings or temporary differences related to investments in subsidiaries, joint ventures and associated companies are not recognized because such retained earnings can be withdrawn as non-taxable dividends and the companies can be sold without tax consequences. However, some foreign jurisdictions impose withholding tax on dividends. In such cases, a deferred tax liability is recognized, calculated by applying the respective withholding tax rate on undistributed earnings. In certain countries, income tax is not levied on profits, but on dividends paid or declared. In those cases, since current and deferred taxes should be recognized at the rate of undistributed earnings, no deferred tax is recognized and current tax is recognized in the period when dividends are declared.
Current and deferred income tax is determined using tax rates and tax legislation that have been enacted or substantively enacted at the end of the reporting period and in the case of deferred tax that are expected to apply when the related deferred income tax asset or liability is settled. Effects of changes in tax rates are recognized in the period when the change is substantively enacted. Deferred tax assets are recognized to the extent that the ability of utilizing the tax asset is probable. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are offset when a legally enforceable right exists to set off current tax assets against current income tax liabilities and the deferred taxes relate to the same taxable entity and the same taxation authority.
Interest on current tax payable or refundable calculated by tax authorities is classified as Interest expenses and Other interest income, respectively.
Intangible assets, and property, plant and equipment
Goodwill is measured, after initial recognition, at cost, less any accumulated impairment losses. Goodwill is not amortized but tested for impairment at least annually. Impairment losses are not reversed. Based on management analysis, goodwill acquired in a business combination is for impairment testing purposes allocated to the groups of cash-generating units that are expected to benefit from the synergies of the combination. Each group represents the lowest level at which goodwill is monitored for internal management purposes and it is never larger than an operating segment.
Other intangible assets are measured at cost, including directly attributable borrowing costs, less accumulated amortization and any impairment losses. Direct external and internal development expenses for new or substantially improved products and processes are capitalized, provided that future economic benefits are probable, costs can be measured reliably and the product and process is technically and commercially feasible. Activities in projects at the feasibility study stage as well as maintenance and training activities are expensed as incurred.
Intangible assets acquired in a business combination are identified and recognized separately from goodwill where they satisfy the definition of an intangible asset and their fair values can be measured reliably. The cost of such intangible assets is their fair value at the acquisition date. Subsequent to initial recognition, intangible assets acquired in a business combination are measured on the same basis as intangible assets acquired separately. Fair values of intangible assets acquired in a business combination are determined as follows. Patents and trademarks are valued based on the discounted estimated royalty payments that have been avoided as a result of the patent or trademark being owned. Customer relationships are valued using the multi-period excess earnings method. For other intangible assets, income, market and cost approaches are considered in a comprehensive valuation analysis, by which the nature of the intangible asset, any legal and contractual circumstances and the availability of data will determine which approach(es) ultimately to be utilized to derive each asset’s fair value.
Property, plant and equipment are measured at cost, including directly attributable borrowing costs, less accumulated depreciation and any impairment losses. Software used in the production process is considered to be an integral part of the related hardware and is capitalized as plant and machinery. Property and plant under construction is valued at the expense already incurred, including interest during the installation period. To the extent a legal or constructive obligation to a third party exists, the acquisition cost includes estimated costs of dismantling and removing the asset and restoring the site. The cost of replacing a part of an item of property, plant and equipment is recognized in the carrying value of the item if it is probable that the future economic benefits embodied within the item will flow to Telia Company and the cost of the item can be measured reliably. All other replacement costs are expensed as incurred. A change in estimated expenditures for dismantling, removal and restoration is added to and/or deducted from the carrying value of the related asset. To the extent that the change would result in a negative carrying value, this effect is recognized in net income. The change in depreciation charge is recognized prospectively.
Fair values for property, plant and equipment acquired in a business combination are determined as follows. Commercial real estate is normally valued using an income or market approach, while technical buildings, plant and equipment are normally valued using a cost approach, in which the fair value is derived based on depreciated replacement cost for the asset.
Capitalized interest is calculated, based on the group’s estimated average cost of borrowing. However, actual borrowing costs are capitalized if individually identifiable, such as interest paid on construction loans for buildings.
Government grants received as compensation for the cost of an asset are initially measured at fair value, normally being the consideration received. A government grant reduces the carrying value of the related asset and the depreciation charge recognized over the asset’s useful life.
Amortization and depreciation
Amortization of intangible assets other than goodwill and depreciation on property, plant and equipment is based on cost, less residual values, and taking into account the estimated useful lives of various asset classes or individual assets. Land is not depreciated. For assets acquired during a year, amortization and depreciation is calculated from the date of acquisition. Amortization and depreciation is mainly recognized on a straight-line basis.
Mobile and fixed telecommunication licenses to operate a specific network are regarded as integral to the network and amortization does not commence until the related network is ready for use. Amortization of network-independent licenses to use specific radio frequencies (spectrum) commences when the related frequency block is available for use. License fees based on future services, i.e. relating to the on-going performance of the entity are not capitalized but expensed as incurred.
Goodwill and other intangible assets (currently none existing) with indefinite useful lives and intangible assets not yet available for use are tested for impairment annually, and whenever there is an indication that the asset may be impaired. Intangible assets with a finite life and tangible assets are tested for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying value of an asset may not be recoverable. Where it is not possible to estimate the recoverable amount of an individual asset, the recoverable amount of the cash-generating unit to which the asset belongs is tested for impairment. If an analysis indicates that the carrying value is higher than its recoverable amount, which is the higher of the fair value less costs to sell and value in use, an impairment loss is recognized for the amount by which the carrying amounts exceeds the recoverable amount.
Value in use is measured based on the expected future discounted cash flows (DCF model) attributable to the asset.
Financial instruments are for measurement purposes grouped into categories. The categorization depends on the purpose or by definition in IAS 39 and is determined at initial recognition. Category “Financial assets at fair value through profit and loss” comprises derivatives not designated as hedging instruments (held-for-trading) with a positive fair value and investments held-for-trading. Category “Held-to-maturity” comprises non-derivative financial assets with fixed or determinable payments and fixed maturity that Telia Company has the positive intention and ability to hold to maturity. This category includes commercial papers, certain government bonds and treasury bills. Category “Loans and receivables” comprises non-derivative financial assets with fixed or determinable payments that are not quoted in an active market. This category includes trade receivables, accrued revenues for services and goods, loan receivables, bank deposits and cash at hand. Category “Available-for-sale financial assets” comprises non-derivative financial assets that are designated to this category or not to any of the other categories. This category currently includes equity instruments and convertible bonds. Assets included in the categories are reported under the statement of financial position items Other non-current assets (Note C15), Trade and other receivables (Note C17), Interest-bearing receivables, cash and cash equivalents (Note C18).
Category “Financial liabilities at fair value through profit and loss” comprises derivatives not designated as hedging instruments (held-for-trading) with a negative fair value. Category “Financial liabilities measured at amortized cost” comprises all other financial liabilities, such as borrowings, trade payables, accrued expenses for services and goods, and certain provisions settled in cash. Liabilities included in the categories are reported under the statement of financial position items Long-term and short-term borrowings (Note C20), Other provisions (Note C22), Other long-term liabilities (Note C23) and Trade payables and other current liabilities (Note C24).
Transaction costs, impairment and derecognition
Financial assets and financial liabilities are initially recognized at fair value plus transaction costs that are directly attributable to the acquisition or issue of the financial asset or financial liability. However, transaction costs related to assets or liabilities held for trading are expensed as incurred. A financial asset is considered impaired if objective evidence indicates that one or more events have had a negative effect on the estimated future cash flow of that asset. Individually significant financial assets are tested for impairment on an individual basis. The remaining financial assets are assessed collectively. Evidence of impairment includes that debtors, individually or collectively, default in payments or other indications that they experience significant financial difficulty, including the probability of entering bankruptcy or other financial reorganization.
A financial asset (or, where applicable, a part of a financial asset or part of a group of similar financial assets) is derecognized when Telia Company has transferred its rights to receive cash flows from the asset and has transferred substantially all the risks and rewards of the asset, or has transferred control of the asset. A financial liability is derecognized when the obligation under the liability is discharged or canceled or expires. When an existing financial liability is replaced by another from the same lender on substantially different terms, or the terms of an existing liability are substantially modified, such an exchange or modification is treated as a derecognition of the original liability and the recognition of a new liability, and the difference between the carrying amounts is recognized in net income.
Fair value hierarchy levels
The carrying values of classes of financial assets and liabilities measured at fair value were determined based on a three-level fair value hierarchy, as follows.
Fair value determination
Quoted (unadjusted) prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities
Primarily quoted equity instruments classified as available-for-sale or held-for-trading
Inputs other than quoted prices included in level 1 that are observable for the asset or liability, either directly (prices) or indirectly (derived from prices)
Derivatives designated as hedging instruments or held-for-trading and borrowings in fair value hedge relationships
Inputs for the asset or liability that are not based on observable market data (unobservable inputs)
Unquoted equity instruments classified as available-for-sale or held-for-trading
Inputs for fair value measurements disclosed for assets and liabilities that are not carried at fair value are categorized to fair level hierarchy 2.
Fair value estimation
The fair values of financial instruments traded in active markets are based on quoted market prices at the end of the reporting period. For financial assets, the current bid price is used. The fair values of financial instruments that are not traded in active markets are determined by using valuation techniques. Management uses a variety of methods and makes assumptions that are based on market conditions existing at the end of the reporting period.
Quoted market prices or dealer quotes for similar instruments are used for long-term debt. Other techniques, such as estimated discounted cash flows (DCF analyses), are used to determine fair value for the remaining financial instruments. DCF analyses are performed using the applicable yield curve for the duration of the instruments for non-optional derivatives, and option pricing models for optional derivatives. Forward exchange contracts are measured using quoted forward exchange rates and yield curves derived from quoted interest rates matching maturities of the contracts. Interest rate swaps are measured at the present value of future cash flows, estimated and discounted based on the applicable yield curves derived from quoted interest rates.
The carrying value less impairment provision of trade receivables and payables are assumed for disclosure purposes to approximate their fair values. The fair value of financial liabilities is for disclosure purposes estimated by discounting the future contractual cash flows at the current market interest rate that is available for similar financial instruments with adjustment for credit purposes based on known credit spreads from exchange traded Telia Company bonds. The fair value of loans and receivables is for disclosure purposes estimated by discounting the future contractual cash flows at the current market interest rate that is available for similar financial instruments with adjustment for credit purposes based on known credit spreads, where available and if not available, individual estimates.
Current/non-current distinction, offsetting
Financial assets and liabilities maturing more than one year from the end of the reporting period are considered to be non-current. Other financial assets and liabilities are recognized as current. Financial assets and liabilities are recognized and derecognized applying settlement date accounting.
Financial assets and liabilities are offset only if there is an enforceable legal right to offset the recognized amounts and there is an intention to settle on a net basis, or to realize the assets and settle the liabilities simultaneously.
Financial assets – measurement
Quoted equity instruments are measured at fair value, being the quoted market prices. Unrealized gains and losses arising from changes in fair value other than impairment losses up to the date of sale are recognized in other comprehensive income and accumulated in the fair value reserve. If the fair value of a quoted equity instrument classified as availabe for sale declines, management makes assumptions about the decline in value to determine whether it is an impairment that should be recognized in profit or loss. Evidence of impairment is a significant or prolonged decline in the fair value below the cost of the instrument. Unquoted equity instruments are measured at fair value with fair value changes recognized in other comprehensive income. Telia Company’s primary valuation technique for unquoted equity instruments is based on the most recent transaction for the specific company if such transaction has been recently done. Adjustments to the carrying value is made to reflect significant changes in circumstances since the transaction date if Telia Company assess that the change will have a material impact on the fair value. The estimated fair value for material unquoted equity instruments is verified by applying other valuation models in the form of valuation multiples from peers on relevant financial and operational metrics. Unquoted equity instruments whose fair value cannot be reliably determined are valued at cost less any impairment. An impairment loss on an unquoted equity instrument is calculated as the difference between the carrying amount and the present value of estimated future cash flows discounted at the current market rate of return for a similar financial asset. Impairment losses on equity investments carried at cost are not subsequently reversed and impairment losses on equity instruments classified as available-for-sale are never reversed through net income. Holdings in venture capital entities are measured at fair value with changes in fair value recognized in net income.
Government bonds and treasury bills held-to-maturity are initially recognized at fair value and subsequently measured at amortized cost, using the effective interest rate method, less impairment. Bonds available for sale are measured at fair value (quoted market prices) with unrealized changes in fair value recognized in other comprehensive income. Receivables arising from own lending, except for short-term receivables where the interest effect is immaterial, are measured at amortized cost, using the effective interest rate method, less impairment. An impairment loss on government bonds and treasury bills held-to-maturity and on receivables from own lending is calculated as the difference between the carrying amount and the present value of the estimated future cash flow discounted at the original effective interest rate.
Short-term investments with maturities over 3 months comprise bank deposits, commercial papers issued by banks, bonds and investments held-for-trading. Cash and cash equivalents include cash at hand and bank deposits as well as highly-liquid short-term investments with maturities up to and including 3 months, such as commercial papers issued by banks. All instruments are initially measured at fair value and subsequently at fair value if categorized as held-for-trading, otherwise at amortized cost.
Financial liabilities – measurement
Financial liabilities (interest-bearing loans and borrowings), except for short-term liabilities where the interest effect is immaterial, are initially recognized at fair value and subsequently measured at amortized cost, using the effective interest rate method. Liabilities that are hedged against changes in fair value are, however, measured at hedged fair value. Any difference between the proceeds (net of transaction costs) and the settlement or redemption of borrowings is recognized over the term of the loan or borrowings. Borrowings with an interest rate different to market rate are initially measured at fair value, being the net present value applying the market interest rate. The difference between the nominal value and the net present value is amortized until due date.
Financial guarantee liabilities are contracts that require a payment to be made to reimburse the holder for a loss it incurs because the specified debtor fails to make a payment when due in accordance with the terms of a debt instrument. Financial guarantee contracts are recognized initially as a liability at fair value, adjusted for transaction costs that are directly attributable to the issue of the guarantee. Subsequently, the liability is measured at the higher of the best estimate of the expenditure required to settle the present obligation at the end of the reporting period and the amount initially recognized.
Trade receivables and trade payables – measurement
Trade receivables are initially recognized at fair value, normally being the invoiced amount, and subsequently carried at invoiced amount less impairment (bad debt losses), which equals amortized cost since the terms are generally 30 days and the recognition of interest would be immaterial. An estimate of the amount of doubtful receivables is made when collection of the full amount is no longer probable. An impairment loss on trade receivables is calculated as the difference between the carrying amount and the present value of the estimated future cash flow. Bad debts are written-off when identified and charged to Selling and marketing expenses. Accrued trade payables are recognized at the amounts expected to be billable.
Trade payables are initially recognized at fair value, normally being the invoiced amounts, and subsequently measured at invoiced amounts, which equals amortized cost, using the effective interest rate method, since generally the payments terms are such that the impact of discounting would be immaterial.
Derivatives and hedge accounting – measurement and classification
Telia Company uses derivative instruments, such as interest and cross currency interest rate swaps, forward contracts and options, primarily to control exposure to fluctuations in exchange rates and interest rates. For hedging of net investments in foreign operations, Telia Company also uses financial liabilities.
Derivatives and embedded derivatives, when their economic characteristics and risks are not clearly and closely related to other characteristics of the host contract, are recognized at fair value. Derivatives with a positive fair value are recognized as non-current or current receivables and derivatives with a negative fair value as non-current or current liabilities. Currency swaps, forward exchange contracts and options are classified as non-interest-bearing and interest rate swaps and cross currency interest rate swaps as interest-bearing items. For classification in the statement of comprehensive income, see sections “Other operating income and expenses” and “Finance costs and other financial items” above.
Hedging instruments are designated as hedges in economic hedges, see below or in either fair value hedges, cash flow hedges, or hedges of net investments in foreign operations. Hedges of foreign exchange risk on firm commitments are accounted for as cash flow hedges. Documentation on hedges includes: the relationship between the hedging instrument and the hedged item; risk management objectives and strategy for undertaking various hedge transactions; and whether the hedging instrument used is highly effective in offsetting changes in fair values or cash flows of the hedged item.
For fair value hedges, the effective and ineffective portions of the change in fair value of the derivative, along with the gain or loss on the hedged item attributable to the risk being hedged, are recognized in net income.
For cash flow hedges, the effective portion of the change in fair value of the derivative is recognized in other comprehensive income until the underlying transaction is reflected in net income, at which time any deferred hedging gains or losses are recycled to net income. The ineffective portion of the change in fair value of a derivative used as a cash flow hedge is recognized in net income. However, when the hedged forecast transaction results in the recognition of a non-financial asset or liability, the gains and losses are included in the initial measurement of the cost of the asset or liability.
Hedges of net investments in foreign operations are accounted for similarly to cash flow hedges. Any gain or loss on the hedging instrument relating to the effective portion of the hedge is recognized in other comprehensive income. The gain or loss relating to the ineffective portion is recognized in net income. Gains and losses deferred in the foreign currency translation reserve are recycled to net income on disposal of the foreign operation. Changes in the fair value of derivative instruments that do not meet the criteria for hedge accounting are recognized in net income.
Hedge accounting is not applied to derivative instruments that economically hedge monetary assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currencies (economic hedges) or that are initiated in order to manage e.g. the overall interest rate duration of the debt portfolio. Changes in the fair value of economic hedges are recognized in net income as exchange rate differences, offsetting the exchange rate differences on monetary assets and liabilities. Changes in the fair value of portfolio management derivatives are recognized in net income as Finance costs.
Repurchase agreements, means that the parties have agreed on sale and repurchase of a certain security, at a predetermined price and point in time. Since the group remains exposed to the risk and rewards of the asset during the transaction period, securities remains accounted for in the balance sheet as financial assets. Received cash is accounted for as financial liabilities. Sold securities are also disclosed as pledged assets.
Inventories are carried at the lower of cost and net realizable value. Costs, including an appropriate portion of fixed and variable overhead expenses, are assigned to inventories held by the method most appropriate to the particular class of inventory, with the majority being valued on a first-in-first-out basis. Net realizable value represents the estimated selling price for inventories less all estimated costs of completion and costs necessary to make the sale.
Obsolescence is assessed with reference to the age and rate of turnover of the items. The entire difference between the opening and closing balance of the obsolescence allowance is charged to cost of sales. The fair value of inventories acquired in a business combination is determined based on the estimated selling price less the estimated cost of sale and a reasonable profit margin.
Assets held for sale
Non-current assets and disposal groups are classified as held for sale if their carrying value will be recovered principally through a sale transaction rather than through continuing use. An asset held for sale is measured at the lower of its previous carrying value and fair value less costs to sell.
One of the conditions that must be satisfied for an asset to be classified as held for sale is that the sale is highly probable and the asset (or disposal group) is available for immediate sale in its present condition. One criteria for the sale to qualify as highly probable is that the appropriate level of management must be committed to a plan to sell the assets or disposal group in its present condition. In the telecom industry acquisitions often require regulatory approval. If the buyer is a telecom operator in the same market parties often have to agree to a number of remedies to get the approval. If the buyer is expected to be a telecom operator in the same market and significant remedies are expected, a sale is usually not regarded as highly probable and consequently the assets are not classified as held for sale by Telia Company, until the remedies are agreed upon and accepted by management. The determination if and when non-current assets and disposal groups should be classified a as held for sale requires management judgment considering all facts and circumstances relating to the transaction, the parties and the market and entities can come to different conclusions under IFRS.
Equity attributable to owners of the parent
Equity attributable to owners of the parent is divided into share capital, other contributed capital, hedging reserve, fair value reserve, foreign currency translation reserve, revaluation reserve, inflation adjustment reserve, equity transaction in associates and retained earnings. Share capital is the legally issued share capital. Other contributed capital comprises contributions made by shareholders in the form of share premiums in connection with new share issues, specific share holder contributions, etc. This item is reduced by reimbursements to shareholders made in accordance with separately decided and communicated capital repayment programs (e.g. through purchasing own shares or extraordinary dividends). The hedging reserve as well as the fair value reserve and the foreign currency translation reserve are reclassified to net income. Cash flow hedges may also adjust the initial cost of a non-financial asset or liability. The revaluation reserve is used in connection with step acquisitions made before 2010 and the inflation adjustment reserve when accounting for operations in hyperinflationary economies. Equity transactions in associates are the effect on the group from equity transactions such as buyback of shares from third parties by an associated entity. All other equity is retained earnings.
Dividend payments are proposed by the Board of Directors in accordance with the regulations of the Swedish Companies Act and decided by the General Meeting of shareholders. The proposed cash dividend for 2016 will be recorded as a liability immediately following the final decision by the shareholders.
Provisions for pensions and employment contracts
Telia Company provides defined contribution or defined benefit pension plans to its employees. Contributions to defined contribution plans are normally set at a certain percentage of the employee’s salary and are expensed as incurred. Telia Company pays fixed contributions to separate legal entities and will have no legal or constructive obligation to pay further amounts if the fund does not hold sufficient assets to pay all employee benefits. Contributions to defined contribution plans are expensed when employees provide services entitling them to the contribution.
Defined benefit pension plans, provided to part of Telia Company employees in Sweden, Finland and Norway, means that the individual is guaranteed a pension equal to a certain percentage of his or her salary. The pension plans mainly include retirement pension, disability pension and family pension. The present value of pension obligations and pension costs are calculated annually, using the projected unit credit method, which distributes the cost over the employee´s service period. The pension cost is recognized in three components, service cost, net interest and remeasurements. Service cost is recognized in operating income and net interest, based on discount rate, on defined benefit obligation and plan assets is reported as interest income or interest expenses in financial items. Changes in actuarial assumptions and experience adjustments of obligations and changes in fair value of plan assets, deviations from discount rate, results in remeasurements and are recognized in Other Comprehensive Income at the end of the reporting period.
Actuarial assumptions are determined at the end of the reporting period. The assets of Telia Company’s pension funds constitute pension plan assets and are valued at fair value at the end of the reporting period.
Net provisions or assets for post-employment benefits in the statement of financial position represent the present value of obligations at the end of the reporting period less the fair value of plan assets.
Other provisions and contingencies
A provision is recognized when Telia Company has a present obligation (legal or constructive) as a result of a past event; it is probable that an outflow of resources embodying economic benefits will be required to settle the obligation; and a reliable estimate can be made of the amount of the obligation. If the likelihood of an outflow of resources is less than probable but more than remote, or a reliable estimate is not determinable, the matter is disclosed as a contingency provided that the obligation or the legal claim is material.
Provisions are measured at management’s best estimate, at the end of the reporting period, of the expenditure required to settle the obligation, and are discounted to present value where the effect is material. From time to time, parts of provisions may also be reversed due to better than expected outcome in the related activities in terms of cash outflow.
Where there are a number of similar obligations, e.g. product warranty commitments, the probability that an outflow will be required in settlement is determined by considering the class of obligations as a whole. A provision is recognized even if the likelihood of an outflow with respect to any one item included in the same class may be small but it is probable that some outflow of resources will be needed to settle the class of obligations as a whole.
Other provisions comprise contingent consideration resulting from business combinations or from put options granted to holders of non-controlling interests in existing subsidiaries (for additional information, see section “Consolidated financial statements − Non-controlling interests” above) as well as restructuring provisions which include termination benefits, onerous contracts and other expenses related to cost reduction programs, post-acquisition integration programs, closing-down of operations, etc. Restructuring provisions are mainly recognized as Other operating expenses, since they are not expenses for post-decision ordinary activities.
Termination benefits are recognized at the earlier of when Telia Company no longer can withdraw the offering of those benefits or when Telia Company has made an appropriate public announcement, specifying the terms of redundancy and the number of employees affected, or after individual employees have been advised of the specific terms.
Onerous contracts are recognized when the expected benefits to be derived by from a contract are lower than the unavoidable cost of meeting the obligations under the contract. The provision is measured at the present value of the lower of the expected cost of terminating the contract and the expected net cost of continuing with the contract. Before a provision is established, any impairment loss on the assets associated with that contract is provided for.
Other provisions also include warranty commitments, environmental restoration, litigation, onerous contracts not related to restructuring activities, etc. These provisions are recognized as Cost of sales, Selling and marketing expenses, Administrative expenses or Research and development expenses as applicable.
Leases are classified as finance leases whenever the terms of the lease transfer substantially all the risks and rewards of ownership to the lessee. All other leases are classified as operating leases.
Telia Company as lessee
As a lessee, Telia Company has entered into finance and operating leases and rental contracts. For a finance lease agreement, the leased asset is recognized as a tangible non-current asset and the future obligation to the lessor as a liability, capitalized at the inception of the lease at the lower of the fair value of the leased property or the present value of the minimum lease payments. Initial direct costs are added to the capitalized amount. Minimum lease payments are apportioned between the finance charges and reduction of the lease liability to produce a constant rate of interest on the remaining balance of the liability. Finance charges are charged directly to net income. Other agreements are operating leases, with the leasing costs recognized evenly throughout the period of the agreement.
Telia Company as finance lessor
Telia Company owns assets that it leases to customers under finance lease agreements. Amounts due from lessees are recorded as receivables at the amount of the net investment in the leases, which equals the net present value. Initial direct costs are included in the initial measurement of the financial lease receivable and reduce the amount of income recognized over the lease term. Income is recognized over the lease term on an annuity basis.
Telia Company as operating lessor
Rental revenues from operating leases are recognized on a straight-line basis over the term of the relevant lease. Initial direct costs incurred in negotiating and arranging an operating lease are added to the carrying value of the leased asset and are recognized on the same basis as the lease revenues.
Fiber and duct are sold as part of the operations of Telia Company’s international carrier business. Telia Company has decided to view these as integral equipment to land. Under the agreements, title is not transferred to the lessee. The transactions are therefore recorded as operating lease agreements. The contracted sales price is mainly paid in advance and sales that are not recognized in income are recorded as long-term liabilities or short-term deferred revenues.