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, 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

Customer relationships

 

5-29 years

Other intangible assets – Technologies

 

5-20 years

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

The asset is tested for impairment if (a) there is a trigger for impairment, and (b) annually for projects under development (see note F27 Impairment of property, plant, and equipment, intangible assets, and equity method investees).

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.

Patents, trademarks, and customer relationships

Those intangible assets have been acquired mainly through business combinations. Customer relationships consist of customer lists.

Other intangible assets

Other intangible assets include mainly technology acquired separately or in a business combination.

In € million

 

Development costs

 

Patents and trademarks

 

Customer relationships

 

Other intangible assets

 

Total

Gross carrying amount

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At December 31, 2016

 

292

 

1,742

 

2,172

 

789

 

4,995

Additions

 

69

 

11

 

 

 

35

 

115

Disposals and closures

 

(30)

 

(15)

 

 

 

(7)

 

(51)

Increase through business combinations

 

 

 

11

 

 

 

 

 

11

Currency translation differences

 

(8)

 

(132)

 

(199)

 

(70)

 

(410)

Other

 

9

 

31

 

 

 

(18)

 

22

Transfer to assets held for sale

 

(47)

 

(60)

 

(85)

 

(11)

 

(204)

At December 31, 2017

 

285

 

1,588

 

1,888

 

717

 

4,479

Additions

 

88

 

19

 

 

 

35

 

142

Disposals and closures

 

(6)

 

(5)

 

 

 

(5)

 

(16)

Increase through business combinations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5

 

5

Currency translation differences

 

2

 

34

 

68

 

18

 

122

Other

 

2

 

25

 

 

 

(28)

 

(1)

Transfer to assets held for sale

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

2

At December 31, 2018

 

372

 

1,661

 

1,956

 

743

 

4,731

Accumulated amortization

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At December 31, 2016

 

(84)

 

(629)

 

(423)

 

(260)

 

(1,395)

Amortization

 

(37)

 

(121)

 

(160)

 

(54)

 

(372)

Impairment

 

 

 

(18)

 

 

 

(12)

 

(31)

Disposals and closures

 

30

 

15

 

 

 

6

 

50

Currency translation differences

 

1

 

30

 

16

 

26

 

74

Other

 

(5)

 

6

 

 

 

(2)

 

(1)

Transfer to assets held for sale

 

20

 

37

 

75

 

3

 

135

At December 31, 2017

 

(74)

 

(680)

 

(492)

 

(293)

 

(1,539)

Amortization

 

(36)

 

(110)

 

(135)

 

(49)

 

(330)

Impairment

 

(2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(3)

Disposals and closures

 

6

 

5

 

 

 

5

 

16

Currency translation differences

 

 

 

(5)

 

(10)

 

(8)

 

(23)

Other

 

 

 

2

 

(4)

 

14

 

12

Transfer to assets held for sale

 

 

 

(1)

 

 

 

(3)

 

(4)

At December 31, 2018

 

(105)

 

(790)

 

(640)

 

(335)

 

(1,871)

Net carrying amount

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At December 31, 2016

 

208

 

1,113

 

1,750

 

529

 

3,600

At December 31, 2017

 

211

 

908

 

1,396

 

424

 

2,940

At December 31, 2018

 

266

 

872

 

1,315

 

408

 

2,861

Intangibles relate mainly to the intangibles acquired through the acquisitions of Rhodia and Cytec. The average remaining useful life of Rhodia’s assets is four years, and that of Cytec’s assets is 14 years.

Impairments recognized in 2017 related to discontinued operations.