Accounting policy

General

An intangible asset is an identifiable non-monetary asset without physical substance. It is identifiable when it is separable, i.e. is capable of being separated or divided from the Group, or when it arises from contractual or other legal rights. An intangible asset shall be recognized if, and only if:

  1. it is probable that the expected future economic benefits that are attributable to the asset will flow to the Group; and
  2. the cost of the asset can be measured reliably.

Intangible assets acquired or developed internally are initially measured at cost. The cost of an acquired intangible asset comprises its purchase price, including import duties and non-refundable purchase taxes, after deducting trade discounts and rebates, and any directly attributable cost of preparing the asset for its intended use. Subsequent expenditure on intangible assets is capitalized only if it is probable that it will increase the future economic benefits associated with the specific asset. Other expenditure is recognized in profit or loss as incurred.

After initial recognition, intangible assets are measured at cost less accumulated amortization and impairment losses, if any.

Intangible assets are amortized on a straight-line basis over their estimated useful lives, which do not exceed the contractual period, if any. The estimated useful lives, residual values, and amortization methods are reviewed at each year end, and any changes in estimates are accounted for prospectively.

Patents and trademarks

2-20 years

Software

3-5 years

Development expenditures

2-5 years

Other intangible assets – Customer relationships

5-29 years

Other intangible assets – Technology

5-20 years

Amortization expense is included in the consolidated income statement within cost of goods sold, commercial and administrative costs, and research and development costs.

The asset is tested for impairment if there is a trigger for impairment, and annually for projects under development (see note F28 Impairment).

Intangible assets are derecognized from the consolidated statement of financial position on disposal or when no future economic benefits are expected from their use or disposal. The gain or loss arising from the derecognition of an intangible asset is recognized in profit or loss at the moment of derecognition.

Research and Development costs

Research costs are recognized in profit or loss in the period in which they are incurred.

Development costs are capitalized if, and only if, all the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • the cost of the asset can be reliably measured;
  • the technical feasibility of the product has been demonstrated;
  • the product or process will be placed on the market or used internally;
  • the assets will generate future economic benefits (a potential market exists for the product or, where it is to be used internally, its future utility has been demonstrated); and
  • the technical, financial, and other resources required to complete the project are available.

Development costs comprise employee expenses, the cost of materials and services directly attributable to the projects, and an appropriate share of directly attributable fixed costs including, and where applicable, borrowing costs. The intangible assets are amortized as from the moment they are available for use, i.e. when they are in the location and condition necessary for them to be capable of operating in the manner intended by management. Development costs which do not satisfy the above conditions are recognized in profit or loss as incurred.

Other intangible assets

Other intangible assets consist mainly of customer lists and other intangible commercial assets acquired separately or in a business combination.

In € million

 

Development costs

 

Patents and trademarks

 

Customer relationships and other intangible assets

 

Total

Gross carrying amount

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At December 31, 2014

 

249

 

956

 

1,226

 

2,431

Additions

 

51

 

15

 

20

 

85

Disposals and closures

 

(5)

 

(5)

 

(1)

 

(11)

Increase through business combinations

 

0

 

731

 

1,728

 

2,460

Currency translation differences

 

3

 

5

 

51

 

60

Other

 

0

 

16

 

(12)

 

4

Transfer to assets held for sale

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

0

At December 31, 2015

 

298

 

1,719

 

3,012

 

5,029

Additions

 

68

 

8

 

22

 

98

Disposals and closures

 

(26)

 

(14)

 

(5)

 

(45)

Increase through business combinations

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

0

Currency translation differences

 

4

 

33

 

64

 

101

Other

 

(35)

 

60

 

(21)

 

4

Transfer to assets held for sale

 

(17)

 

(64)

 

(111)

 

(192)

At December 31, 2016

 

292

 

1,742

 

2,961

 

4,995

Accumulated amortization

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At December 31, 2014

 

(83)

 

(442)

 

(362)

 

(887)

Amortization

 

(25)

 

(72)

 

(126)

 

(223)

Disposals and closures

 

5

 

5

 

1

 

11

Currency translation differences

 

0

 

(3)

 

(11)

 

(14)

Other

 

(1)

 

(7)

 

12

 

4

Transfer to assets held for sale

 

0

 

0

 

0

 

0

At December 31, 2015

 

(105)

 

(518)

 

(487)

 

(1,110)

Amortization

 

(28)

 

(123)

 

(221)

 

(372)

Impairment

 

0

 

2

 

(4)

 

(2)

Disposals and closures

 

26

 

12

 

2

 

39

Currency translation differences

 

(1)

 

(11)

 

(7)

 

(19)

Other

 

16

 

(17)

 

2

 

1

Transfer to assets held for sale

 

8

 

26

 

34

 

67

At December 31, 2016

 

(84)

 

(629)

 

(683)

 

(1,395)

Net carrying amount

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At December 31, 2014

 

165

 

514

 

864

 

1,543

At December 31, 2015

 

193

 

1,201

 

2,525

 

3,919

At December 31, 2016

 

208

 

1,113

 

2,278

 

3,600

Intangibles relate mainly to the intangibles acquired from Rhodia (€ 471 million) and Cytec (€ 2,341 million, including € 694 million for patent and trademarks and € 1,647 million for acquired customer relationships). The average remaining useful life of Rhodia’s assets is six years, and that of Cytec’s assets is 16 years.

In 2015, the increase through business combinations relates mainly to Cytec for € 2,451 million.