Discussion of Accounting Policy and its Implications of Leases Finance Essay

Published: 2021-06-26 22:20:04
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ASL capitalized its finance leases at inception at the fair value of the leased asset or lower, at the present value of the minimum lease payments, when there is a transfer of substantially all risks and rewards incidental to ownership of the leased assets to the Group. Capitalized leased assets are depreciated over the shorter of the lease term and the estimated useful life if there is no reasonable certainty that the Group will obtain ownership by the end of the lease term. sj.tay.20092011-03-04T21:56:00 The accounting measures the firm uses (quite long) I was trying to use it to link to the point that depreciation may play a significant impactA¢â‚¬A¦Thus, the Group’s depreciation policy of estimating the useful life would have a significant impact on the reported performance. A longer estimated useful life delays expense recognition. It overstates income in early term and understates income later in the lease term. Compared to Jaya, ASL seems aggressiveGrace2011-03-05T14:45:00 Why aggressive? in determining the useful lives of leasehold property and buildings. (ASL: 20-30 years; Jaya: remaining 1-18 years) However, ASL’s estimates are reasonable as they are the same as some of its competitors like Otto Marine Limited [1] and CIMC Raffles Offshore Singapore Limited [2] . The financing lease liabilities are stated on ASL’s balance sheet under interest-bearing loans and borrowings. Such a classification is fine as it is still an on-balance sheet liability. Also, ASL has included the finance lease liability into its total debt when calculating its gearing ratio. Such an approach is uncommon as people usually only include all borrowings as total debt. Hence, the additional finance lease liability will be increase the total debt which will then increase gearing ratio of debt-to-equity. A higher gearing ratio, at first sight, may not be desirable as it shows the Group poorer ability to cover its long-term obligations. However, there is tax deductibility on interest (including the finance lease interest) which will help to lower tax expense and increase profit after tax. On the other hand, ASL enters into operational leases on its vessels and commercial property. These leases are off-balance sheet liabilities. As lease interests are included with lease rental, it understates both ASL’s operating income and interest expense. Thus, interest coverage ratio is inflated. Not only that, a higher lease expense and lower interest understates operating cash flow and overstates financing cash flow. In addition, operating leases understate liabilities and assets. Thus, solvency ratios and return on investment ratios are improved. If we were to compare to Jaya, the company only has operating leases. This is surprising given that the type of industry it is in, most marine companies would want to lease plant and machinery for a major part of the asset’s useful life and capitalized the large amount of lease as finance lease. Also, depreciation is usually accounted into the lease agreement which at the end of the finance lease, the lessee can pay no more than a fair market value to gain full ownership of the asset. Thus, Jaya seems to place all leases as operating so as to reduce the likelihood of debt covenant violation and improving financial performance ratios like ROA via financial distortions. (Adjustments)sj.tay.20092011-03-04T21:56:00 I don’t know how to comment on the adjustments..If we were to capitalize operating leases back into the company’s Grace2011-03-05T14:48:00 Which company?financial statements to get a more proper view of their true debt and related expenses (refer to appendix), there is no change in net income.

Non-consolidated associates
Jointly-controlled entities
Even though proportionate consolidation is the benchmark method, ASL uses the equity method instead to consolidate its proportionate share of HKR-ASL Joint Venture Limited. By using such method, the joint venture’s revenues, expenses, assets and liabilities are not consolidated with those of parent. The implication of doing so is that ASL may consciously manage their percentage shareholdings in their joint venture in order to influence how the financial performance is reported in their statement. The use of equity method implies that ASL may try to “avoid” the consolidation of the investee’s liabilities by taking the liabilities off balance sheet. However, at closer view, ASL only has one joint venture and it has disclosed the proportional share of the assets and liabilities in the notes just that it used the equity method to consolidate the statement. Not only that, the joint venture has high amount of assets and “extraordinary” little liabilities ($1,000) in FY2010, thus it is not a serious problem to not consolidate using proportionate method since it is not trying to hide any liabilities. (Adjustments for JV) Instead, if they were to consolidate the high asset to liabilities ratio from the joint venture, the high average total assets they get will lead to a lower return on assets (ROA). Thus, a lower overall profitability ratio would be achieved. Also, the higher assets will lower total asset turnover, hence reflecting badly on the group’s efficiency at using its assets in generating revenue. The joint venture only has $1,000 liability and no turnover in FY2010 because it has been dormant since the completion of a ship-chartering project in FY2009. Initially, the joint venture was set up in 2005 to tap on the marine transportation business opportunities in China and the Board viewed it as an extension of the Group’s existing core businesses [3] . Thus, the establishment of joint venture seems “suspicious” as it seems to suggest that the Group is using the joint venture just to complete on the project. Since they used the equity method, the large expenses and liabilities that may be associated to the building of the project would not need to be consolidated with the Group’s financial statement. The group just has to reflect profit/loss from the joint venture. Hence, the cash flow from operating activities will appear to be rosy too. Jaya does not have joint venture. (Note that our group do not mention about associates as the method used by both groups is the same.)
Provisions, contingent liabilities and assets
Provisions
Provision for warranty claims represents the best estimate of the Group’s liability to repair vessels and replace affected parts during warranty period and is calculated based on past experience of the level of repairs and returns [4] . As the Group’s offers general repair and maintenance services for vessels, the provision thus present a fair view of the liabilities the Group has to incur in the future. As the provision provided was based on an estimated figure, there is a possibility that management may underestimate the amount of provision. Thus, this decreases the Group’s liabilities, especially during a bad year. Looking to the notes to the financial statement, it was unclear whether the provision was made for a particular job or a few jobs and how long the warranty period is. The provision charged during the past few years were always utilized instead of being reversed. This shows that (1) the Group has been fairly accurate in the estimation for provision (2) its shiprepair service needs improvement. In comparison, the provision for Jaya Holdings is made for the cancellation and deferment of certain committed purchase orders instead of warranty claims. Hence, the different purpose for which provision is provided for could reflect different amount of liabilities of the Group. In addition, the difference in reasons for provision made highlights the financials of the company. ASL did not provide for cancellation of orders as compared to Jaya probably reflects that ASL has better credibility among its shareholders. Therefore, the likelihood of cancellation of orders is low. It can be seen that provision covered under FRS 37 encompasses a wide area of issues. As long as it is more than 50% likelihood that a present obligation by the firm exists, the Group has to make a provision. Still, provision is an estimated amount and could be manipulated by management unless the firm is more forthcoming in its disclosure.
Contingent liabilities
The Group disclosed two contingent liabilities – corporate guarantees (unsecured) and a legal claim for FY 2010. Corporate guarantees were given to the Group’s subsidiaries in respect of bank loan agreements obtained. Provision should be made if it is likely that its subsidiaries default on these agreements. Items that are classified as contingent liabilities are not recognized on the balance sheet and therefore have no impact on the Group’s financial figures. Therefore, this may be a blind spot to investors as management may choose not to recognise or account for provision despite the likelihood that its subsidiaries may default its payment. However, from FY 2006 to FY 2009, the Group has been maintaining an increasing net profit from long term chartering contracts and ship repair projects. Therefore, the chances of default by the Group’s subsidiaries are considered to be low, no adjustment is required. The Group had also reported a legal claim as a contingent liability. In May 2009, two of its wholly-owned subsidiaries were involved in an incident, causing damage to an underwater pipeline. As a result, the subsidiaries were served with arbitration proceedings [5] by a customer for exposure to a third party claim for the damage caused. The claim could cost approximately USD 1.75 million if the subsidiaries were found liable. However, considering that the case is still in its early stages, it is uncertain how the case would proceed. It is not a matter that is wholly within the firm’s control as the case mainly depends on the customer to proceed with the claim. Therefore, it is justified for legal claim be classified under contingent liabilities. No adjustment is required. Similarly, Jaya Holdings disclosed the Group’s financial guarantees as part of its contingent liabilities. But there is an incentive for management to recognise the guarantees under contingent liabilities instead of the balance sheet because it is not disclosed which company in the Group the guarantee is for. In the event of a default, provision made would have prepared the management for unforeseen uncertainties. This allows for the flexibility to repay its liabilities and not being cash-strapped later.
FRS 16: Property, Plant and Machinery
Features:
Both companies recognise fixed assets initially at cost if, and only if, the economic benefits flowing out from these assets to the entity are probable and can be measured reliably. They are then depreciated over their useful life on a straight line basis, less any impairment losses. Assets under construction or incomplete are recognised at cost but are not depreciated as they are not ready for use. Once the asset is held for disposal or when no future economic benefits are expected from its use, the assets are derecognized. Residual values and useful lives of the fixed assets are estimated based on the expected consumption pattern of future economic benefits. For ASL, the management estimation of useful lives range from 1 to 30 years. Changes in useful lives and hence, depreciation charges are primarily affected by the changes in expected utilization rate and technological developments. This would give the management more leeway as long as they can reasonable justify for any changes made. The useful lives of Jaya’s fixed asset are estimated to be from 12 to 15 years, which are based on past experience and industry trends. (Risks?)
Accounting Flexibility:
ASL: Annually, the management has the flexibility to change the depreciation policy, residual values and useful lives when deemed appropriate. Thus the depreciation policy is easily manipulated and can be adjusted to suit the quality of the firm’s earnings. Jaya: It is implicitly stated in the Notes that the residual values, useful lives and depreciation policy are reviewed annually to ensure consistency throughout the financial period. The management does not have significant control over the depreciation method and useful lives as these values need to be consistent with past estimates and industry trends. Thus, it is less likely to overstate its reported earnings.
Accounting Strategy:
Average useful life of fixed assets: As shown in tables above, the average useful lives of fixed assets are almost similar except for leasehold properties where ASL adopts a more aggressive approach in estimating its useful life. The straight-line basis adopted is simple as compared to accelerated depreciation as depreciation charges are allocated equally over the asset’s useful life. This would avoid big baths when using accelerated depreciation method. With reference to the Appendix, weighted average of useful life used is almost half of the weighted average of useful life remaining for ASL in FY 2009 and FY 2010. However, for Jaya, these weighted averages are almost equal to one another. One minor reason is the more aggressive approach taken by ASL. The average useful life of ASL’s leasehold property is twice as much as that of Jaya. This causes the depreciation charges claimed over each financial year for ASL to be lower than Jaya. I believe the main reason is due to the completion of projects undertaken by ASL and the expansion of it Batam port operations. This causes the cost of ASL’s fixed assets, excluding assets under construction, to increase substantially by 19% from FY 2009 to FY 2010. However, it is noted that the cost of Jaya’s fixed assets, excluding assets under construction, increased by 12%. The additions to Jaya’s fixed assets are partially set off by impairment losses incurred in FY2010. The total impairment loss recognised in Jaya’s financial reporting is $11m while ASL did not incur any impairment losses in FY 2010.
FRS 23: Tangible Assets (Borrowing Costs)
Features:
Borrowing costs attributable to the acquisition, construction or production of a qualifying asset are capitalized. They define a qualifying asset that necessarily takes a substantial period of time to get ready for their intended use or sale. Thus, Jaya identified vessels under construction as qualifying assets. Whereas for ASL, the construction of vessels, plant and machinery and the development of yard facilities in China and Batam are assets under construction and hence, are classified under qualifying assets. Capitalization of qualifying assets commences when the activities to prepare assets for its intended use or sale are in progress. Capitalization ceases when assets are ready for their intended use. However the definition of “substantial period of time” defers for both companies. In ASL’s balance sheet and notes, they disclosed interest expenses capitalized as part of the cost of property, plant and equipment, inferring that qualifying assets will take more than a year to bring the assets to its intended use. But, this definition defers for Jaya where they defined qualifying assets as current assets- stocks and work-in-progress. Furthermore, the amount to be capitalized depends on the interest expense from funds borrowed generally. Both companies incur interest expenses from bank borrowings and finance leases which are then offset by the capitalized amount. We believe that this capitalized amount is identified as attributable to the qualifying assets.
Accounting flexibility:
ASL: The Group adopts an efficient and optimal interest cost structure to apply a mixture of fixed and variable interest rates on the borrowings. The interest rates applied increased from 3.65% in FY 2009 to 5.13% in FY 2010. Jaya: Adjusts interest rates to foreign currency exposure so as to minimise interest rate risks on borrowings. Only recently, the Group has restructured its bank borrowings into a 5-year USD denominated secured loans with a principal holiday for the first two years and quarterly repayment installments over the subsequent three years. Prior to the Scheme, the average interest rate was 6.05% in FY 2009 but fell to 2.84% in FY 2010.
Accounting Strategy:
The interest expense to be capitalized as part of the cost of the underlying assets forms an insignificant portion of the cost. Most of the acquisition costs of the qualifying assets are financed internally. In ASL FY 2010, about 3% of the cost of PPE is financed through borrowings whereas for Jaya, 23% of the cost of stocks and work-in-progress is financed via bank borrowings. Thus, ASL’s management is more focused on financial risk then Jaya.

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