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Last Update: 03/12/2009
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Part of the audited Consolidated Financial Statements and Management´s Analysis

C -- Accounting policies

Balance sheet date: The individual financial statements of the companies consolidated in the Consolidated Financial Statements of the BASF Group (hereinafter referred to as “consolidated companies”) are generally prepared as of the balance sheet date of the Consolidated Financial Statements.

Uniform valuation: Assets and liabilities of consolidated companies are accounted for and valued uniformly in accordance with the principles described herein. For companies accounted for using the equity method, material deviations from our accounting policies are adjusted.

Eliminations: Transactions between consolidated companies as well as inter-company profits resulting from sales and services rendered between consolidated companies are eliminated in full. For jointly operated companies this is conducted on a pro rata basis. Material inter-company profits related to companies accounted for using the equity method are eliminated.

Capital consolidation: Capital consolidation is based on the purchase method. Initially, all assets, liabilities and intangible assets that are to be capitalized are valued at fair value. Finally, the acquisition cost is compared with the proportionate share of the net assets acquired at fair value. The resulting differences are capitalized as goodwill and are only written down in the case of impairment.

Revenue recognition: Revenues from the sale of goods or the rendering of services are recognized upon the transfer of ownership and risk to the buyer. They are valued at the fair value of the consideration received and are reported without sales taxes. Expected rebates and other trade discounts are either accrued or deducted. Provisions are made to cover the return of products, estimated future warranty obligations and other claims.

Revenues from the sale of precious metals to industrial customers as well as some revenues from natural gas trading are recognized at the time of shipment and the corresponding purchase price is recorded at cost of sales.

Revenues from the trading of precious metals and their derivatives with broker-traders, where as a rule there is no physical delivery, are recorded on a net basis. Revenues from natural gas trading activities of a project company consolidated by BASF are also recorded on a net basis.

In certain cases, customer acceptance is required on delivery. In these cases, revenues are recognized after customer acceptance occurs.

Long-term contracts primarily relate to the construction of chemical plants for third parties. Realization of revenues and costs takes place according to the stage of completion when the outcome of the construction contract can be reliably estimated. To the extent that the outcome of the construction cannot be estimated reliably, revenue is recognized based on the contract costs incurred. Expected losses on the construction contract are recognized with a write-down to the fair value.

Payments relating to the sale or licensing of technologies or technological expertise are recognized in income according to the contractually agreed transfer of the rights and obligations associated with those technologies.

Borrowing costs: If the construction phase of property, plant and equipment extends beyond a period of one year, the interest incurred on borrowed capital that is directly attributable to that asset is capitalized as part of the cost of that asset. Borrowing costs are capitalized up to the date the asset is ready for its intended use. All other borrowing costs are recognized as an expense in the period in which they are incurred.

Investment subsidies: Government grants related to the acquisition or construction of property, plant and equipment reduce the acquisition or construction cost of the respective assets. Other government grants or government assistance are treated as deferred income and recognized as income over the underlying period or the expected useful life of the related asset.

Foreign currency transactions: The cost of assets acquired in foreign currencies and revenues from sales in foreign currencies are recorded at the exchange rate on the date of the transaction. Foreign currency receivables and liabilities are valued at the exchange rates on the balance sheet date. Foreign exchange gains or losses resulting from the conversion of assets and liabilities are reported as other operating expenses or other operating income.

Translation of foreign currency financial statements:
The translation of foreign currency financial statements depends on the functional currencies of the consolidated companies. Translation into the reporting currency is based on the current rate method: balance sheet items are translated to euro at year-end rates, expenses and income are translated to euro at monthly average rates and accumulated for the year. The translation adjustments due to the use of the closing rate method are shown under currency translation adjustments as a component of other comprehensive income in equity and are recognized in income only upon the disposal of a company.

For certain companies outside the euro or U.S. dollar zone, the euro or U.S. dollar is the functional currency.

Acquired intangible assets – excluding goodwill and intangible assets with indefinite useful lives - are valued at cost less scheduled straight-line amortization. The useful life is determined based on the period of the underlying contract and the period of time over which the intangible asset is expected to be used. Impairment losses are recognized if the recoverable amount of the asset is permanently lower than the carrying amount. The recoverable amount is the higher of fair value less selling costs and value-in-use. Impairment losses are reversed if the reasons behind the impairment no longer exist.

Depending on the type of intangible asset, the amortization expense is recorded as cost of sales, selling expense, research and development expense or other operating expense.

Intangible assets with indefinite useful lives: Intangible assets with indefinite useful lives are trade names and trademarks that have been acquired as part of the 2006 acquisitions. They are tested for impairment annually.

Internally generated intangible assets are primarily comprised of internally developed software. Such software, as well as other internally generated assets for internal use, are valued at cost and amortized over their useful lives. Impairments are recorded if the carrying amount of an asset exceeds the recoverable amount.

Development costs also include, in addition to those costs directly attributable to the development of the asset, an appropriate allocation of overhead cost. Borrowing costs directly related to the development of the assets are capitalized to the extent that they are material and related to the period over which the asset is generated.

The average straight-line amortization period for intangible assets was 11 years in 2008 and 10 years in 2007 based on the following expected useful lives.

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Amortization periods in years

 

Distribution, supply and similar rights

2–20

Product rights, licenses and trademarks

2–30

Know-how, patents and production technologies

3–25

Internally generated intangible assets

3–5

Other rights and values

2–20

Goodwill is only written down if there is an impairment. Impairment testing takes place annually or if there is an indication of an impairment. The goodwill impairment test is based on cash-generating units and compares the recoverable amount of the unit with the respective carrying amount. At BASF, cash-generating units are predominantly the business units, in individual cases, the divisions. The recoverable amount is the higher of net sales price and the value-in-use. Value-in-use is generally determined using the discounted cash flow method.

If the impairment loss exceeds the carrying amount of goodwill, the goodwill is written off completely. Any impairment loss left over is allocated to the remaining assets of the cash-generating unit. Goodwill impairment losses are reported under other operating expenses.

The goodwill of the BASF Group is primarily attributable to the Catalysts and Construction Chemicals divisions in the Functional Solutions segment and the Crop Protection division in the Agricultural Solutions segment.

In 2008, goodwill of €1,383 million relates to the Crop Protection division (2007: €1,304 million), €1,246 million relates to the Catalysts division (2007: €1,269 million), €620 million relates to the Construction Chemicals division (2007: €612 million) and €381 million relates to the Oil & Gas segment (2007: €64 million). Changes arose in 2008 in particular from foreign currency translation effects and the acquisition of Sorex Holdings Ltd. by the Crop Protection division and Revus SAS by the Oil & Gas segment.

Emission rights: Emission right certificates granted free-of-charge by the German Emissions Trading Authority (‘Deutsche Emissionshandelsstelle’) or a similar authority in other European countries, are recognized on the balance sheet date at their fair value at the time they are credited to the electronic register run by the relevant government authority. Purchased emission rights are recorded at cost. The measurement at the balance sheet date occurs at fair value. If the fair value at the balance sheet date is lower than the carrying amount, the emission rights are written down.

Property, plant and equipment are stated at acquisition or production cost less scheduled depreciation over their estimated useful lives. Low-value assets are fully written off in the year of acquisition and are shown as disposals. The revaluation method is not used.

The cost of self-constructed plants includes direct costs, appropriate allocations of material and manufacturing costs, and an appropriate share of the administrative costs for those areas involved in the construction of the plants. Borrowing costs that are incurred during the period of construction are capitalized. For companies in Germany, borrowing costs were capitalized at 4.5% whereas country-specific rates were used for Group companies outside Germany.

Expected costs related to scheduled maintenance turnarounds of large-scale plants are capitalized as part of the asset and depreciated using the straight-line method over the period to the next planned turnaround.

Both movable and immovable fixed assets are depreciated using the straight-line method. The weighted-average depreciation periods used were as follows:

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Average depreciation in years

 

 

2008

2007

Buildings and structural installations

24

23

Machinery and technical equipment

11

11

Factory, office equipment and other facilities

7

8

Impairment losses are recorded whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. The evaluation is based on the present value of the expected future cash flows less expected costs for the disposal of the asset. An impairment loss is recorded for the difference between the carrying amount and the value of discounted future cash flows.

Investment properties held to realize capital gains or rental income are immaterial. They are valued at the lower of acquisition cost less scheduled depreciation and fair value.

Oil and gas exploration: Exploration and production costs are accounted for using the successful efforts method. Under this method, costs of successful exploratory drilling as well as successful and dry development wells are capitalized as property, plant and equipment.

An exploration well is a well located outside of an area with proven oil and gas deposits. A development well is a well which is sunk to the depth of a deposit of oil or gas within an area with proved reserves.

Production costs include all costs incurred to operate, repair and maintain the well and the associated plant. The costs for the operation, repair and maintenance as well as depreciation of ancillary production equipment are also included.

Exploration expenses relate exclusively to the Oil & Gas segment. These expenses include all costs connected with non-proven oil and gas deposits. Included here are costs for the exploration of areas with possible oil or gas reserves. Costs for geological and geophysical investigations are, as a matter of principle, reported under exploration expenses. In addition, this item includes depreciation on exploration wells which have no proven reserves. Scheduled depreciation on successful exploration wells is part of cost of sales.

Exploratory drilling is reported under construction in progress until its success can be determined. When the presence of hydrocarbons is proved such that the economic development of the field is probable, the costs remain capitalized as suspended well costs. Once a year, all suspended wells are assessed from an economic, technical and strategic viewpoint to see if development is still intended. If this is not the case, the well concerned is written off. When reserves are proven and the development of the field begins, the exploration wells are reclassified as machinery and technical equipment.

An Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) is a type of contract in crude oil and gas concessions whereby the expenses and profits from the exploration, development and production phases are divided between the state (National Oil Company) and one or more exploration and production companies using defined keys. The revenue BASF is entitled to under such contracts is reported as sales. The existing Libyan concessions are currently being renegotiated. They shall be replaced with Exploration and Production Sharing Agreements according to the EPSA-IV standard.

Provisions for required recultivations associated with oil and gas operations primarily concern the filling of wells and the removal of production facilities upon the termination of production. Initial measurement is conducted when the obligation arises at the present value of the future recultivation costs. Interest on the provision is accrued annually until the time of the planned recultivation. An asset of the same value is capitalized as part of the carrying amount of the plant concerned and together they are depreciated.

The unit of production method is used to depreciate assets from oil and gas exploration at the field or deposit level. As a matter of principal, depreciation is calculated on the basis of proven, developed reserves.

In the natural gas trading business, long-distance natural gas pipelines are depreciated using the straight-line method. The weighted-average depreciation period amounted to 24 years in 2008 (2007: 24 years). The intangible asset from the marketing contract for natural gas from the Yuzhno Russkoye natural gas field is amortized based on BASF‘s share of the produced and distributed volumes.

Leases: According to IAS 17, leasing contracts are classified as either finance or operating leases. Assets which are subject to operating leases are not capitalized. Lease payments are charged to income in the year they are incurred.

A lease is classified as a finance lease if it transfers substantially all of the risks and rewards related to the leased asset. Assets subject to a finance lease are recorded at the present value of the minimum lease payments. A leasing liability is recorded in the same amount. The periodic lease payments are divided into principal and interest components. The principal component reduces the outstanding liability, while the interest component represents an interest expense. Depreciation takes place over the shorter of the useful life of the asset or the period of the lease.

Leases can be embedded within other contracts. If IFRS requires separation, then the embedded lease is recorded separately from its host contract and each component of the contract is carried and valued in accordance with the applicable regulations.

Investments in companies accounted for using the equity method: These investments are accounted for under the same principles as for consolidated subsidiaries. The carrying amounts of these companies are adjusted annually based on the pro rata share of income, dividends and other changes in stockholders’ equity. Should there be indications of a permanent reduction in the value of an investment, then an impairment expense is recognized through profit or loss.

Financial Instruments: Financial assets and financial liabilities are recorded on the balance sheet when the BASF Group becomes a party to a financial instrument. Financial assets are derecognized when the contractual rights to the cash flows from the financial asset expire or when the financial asset, with all risks and rewards of ownership, is transferred. Financial liabilities are derecognized when the contractual obligation expires or is discharged or cancelled. Standard purchases and sales of financial instruments are accounted for using the settlement date and in precious metals trading using the day of trading.

The fair value is the amount for which an instrument could be exchanged in an arm’s length transaction between knowledgeable, willing parties. When pricing on an active market is available, for example on a stock exchange, this price is used. In other cases, a valuation is based on internal valuation models using current market parameters or external valuations from banks. These internal valuations predominantly use net present value and option pricing models.

If there is objective evidence of a permanent impairment of an available-for-sale financial instrument, an impairment charge is taken.

If the reason for the impairment of loans and receivables as well as held-to-maturity financial instruments no longer exists, the amortization is reversed up to the amortized cost and recognized as income. Impairment losses on financial instruments are booked separately in an allowance account.

Financial assets and liabilities are divided into the following valuation categories:

  • Financial assets and liabilities that are measured at fair value and recognized through profit or loss consist of derivatives and other trading instruments. BASF utilized this valuation category only for derivative instruments and does not make use of the fair value option under IAS 39. Derivatives are reported in other short-term assets or other short-term liabilities.
  • Loans and receivables comprise financial assets with fixed or determinable payments, which are not quoted on an active market and are not derivatives or classified as available-for-sale. Included in this category are trade accounts receivable, loans classified under other financial assets as well as other receivables and loans classified under other receivables and miscellaneous assets. Initial valuation is done at fair value, which generally matches the nominal value of the receivable or loan. Interest-free and low-interest long-term loans and receivables are recorded at present value. Subsequent valuations are generally done at amortized cost, under consideration of the effective interest method. If there is objective evidence for an impairment of a receivable or loan, an individual valuation adjustment is done. In addition, an impairment loss occurs when the contractual conditions which form the basis for the receivable or loan need to be changed through renegotiation in such a way that the present value of the future cash flows decreases. Receivables and loans are written off when their uncollectibility is finally determined. Receivables for which no objective indication for an impairment exists may be impaired, if necessary, based on expected default rates. The company applies historic default rates. In addition, valuation adjustments on receivables for transfer risks in certain countries are established.
  • Held-to-maturity financial assets consist of non-derivative financial assets with fixed or determinable payments and a fixed term, for which there is the ability and intent to hold until maturity, and which do not fall under other valuation categories. Initial valuation is made at fair value, which, in most cases, matches the nominal value. Subsequent valuations are done at amortized cost under consideration of the effective interest method. For BASF, there are no material financial assets that fall under this category.
  • Available-for-sale financial assets comprise financial assets which are not derivatives and do not fall under any of the previously stated valuation categories. This valuation category comprises participations not accounted for using the equity method under the item ‘other financial assets’; ‘long-term securities’; and securities contained under the item ‘marketable securities’. Initial valuation is done at fair value. Changes in the fair value are booked to equity under the item other comprehensive income and are only recorded in the income statement when the assets are disposed of or have been impaired. Participations whose fair value cannot be reliably determined are carried at historical cost and are written down in the case of an impairment in value. For these participations, the book values represent the best estimates of value. In the case of available-for-sale securities, write-ups principally are not recognized in the income statement, but are taken directly to equity (other comprehensive income). Write-ups to the amount of the original write-down are recognized in income in the case of debt instruments; write-ups above this amount are recognized in equity.
  • Financial liabilities which are not derivatives are initially valued at fair value. This normally corresponds to the amount received. Subsequent valuation is generally done at amortized cost, under consideration of the effective interest method.

There were no reclassifications between the valuation categories in 2007 and 2008. The option to reclassify certain assets given under the amendment to IAS 39 on October 15, 2008, was not used.

Revenue from interest-bearing assets is recognized on the outstanding receivables at reporting date using the interest rates calculated under the effective interest method. Dividends from participations not accounted for under the equity method are recognized when the shareholders’ right to receive payment is established.

Derivative financial instruments can be embedded within other contracts. If IFRS requires separation, then the embedded derivative is recorded separately from its host contract and shown at fair value.

Cash flow Hedge Accounting has been employed for selected deals to hedge future transactions. The effective portion of the change in fair value is thereby recognized directly in equity under other comprehensive income, taking deferred taxes into account. The ineffective portion is recognized immediately in income. In the case of future transactions that will lead to a non-financial asset or a non-financial debt, the cumulative fair value changes in equity are either charged against the acquisition cost on initial recognition or recognized in profit or loss in the reporting period in which the hedged item is recorded in the income statement. For hedges based on financial assets or debts, the cumulative fair value changes of the hedges are transferred from stockholders’ equity to the income statement in the reporting period in which the hedged item is recognized in the income statement. The maturity of the hedging instrument is based upon the effective date of the future transaction.

The derivatives employed by BASF for hedging purposes are effective hedges from an economic point of view. Changes in the fair value of the derivatives almost completely offset the change in the value of the underlying contracts.

Deferred tax assets: Deferred tax assets are recorded for temporary differences between the carrying amount of assets and liabilities in the financial statements and the carrying amounts for tax purposes. In addition, deferred taxes are recorded for tax loss carryforwards to the extent that it is probable that future taxable profit for the relevant tax authority will be available against which the tax loss carryforwards can be utilized. For companies located in Germany, a 29% tax rate is applied; for other companies, the tax rates applicable in the individual countries are used. Appropriate valuation allowances are made if expected future earnings of a company make it seem more likely than not that the tax benefits will not be realized.

The valuation of deferred tax assets depends on the estimation of the probability of a reversal of the valuation differences and the utilization of the tax loss carryforwards. A deferred tax asset is recognized for future tax benefits arising from temporary differences and for tax loss carryforwards to the extent that the tax benefits are likely to be realized. Based on experience and the expected development of taxable income, it is assumed that the benefit of deferred tax assets recognized will be realized.

Inventories: Inventories are carried at acquisition costs or production costs. If the listed, market, or fair value of the sales product which forms the basis for the net realizable value is lower, then this is applied. The net realizable value is based on the estimated selling price in the ordinary course of business less the estimated costs of completion and costs necessary to make the sale.

Cost of sales include, in addition to direct costs, an appropriate allocation of production overhead costs based on normal utilization rates of the production plants. In addition, pensions, social services and voluntary social benefits are included as well as allocations for administrative costs, provided they relate to the production process. Financing costs are not included in production costs.

Deductions on inventories result from price declines in sales products, lack of salability and high level of inventory on hand.

IAS 2 “Inventories” does not apply to commodity broker-traders. Accordingly, precious metals held for trading purposes are measured at fair value. Changes in fair value are recognized in income.

Assets and liabilities of disposal groups: These comprise those assets and directly associated liabilities shown on the balance sheet whose sale in the context of a single transaction is highly probable. The assets and liabilities of disposal groups are recognized at the lower of the sum of their carrying amounts or fair value less costs to sell. Scheduled depreciation of long-term assets is suspended. Should a disposal group cease to be classified as such, then the depreciation and amortization for the period of suspension must be taken.
Further information on disposal groups is found in Note 2

Provisions for pensions and similar obligations: Provisions for pensions are based on actuarial computations made according to the projected unit credit method. Similar obligations, especially those arising from commitments in North America to pay the healthcare costs and life insurance premiums of retired staff and their dependents, are included in pension provisions. Actuarial profits and losses are offset against retained earnings. The calculation of pension provisions is based on actuarial reports.

Other provisions: Other provisions are accrued when there is a present obligation as a result of a past event and when there is a probable outflow of resources whose amount can be reliably estimated. Provisions are made at the probable settlement value.

Provisions for German trade income tax, German corporate income tax and similar income taxes are made in the amount necessary to meet the expected payment obligations, less any prepayments that have been made. Other taxes assessed are appropriately considered.

Provisions are established for certain environmental protection measures and risks if the measures are considered likely as a result of legal or regulatory obligations or other events and these measures have not to be capitalized. Provisions for required recultivations primarily concern the filling of wells and the removal of production facilities upon the termination of production in the Oil & Gas segment. The present value of the obligation increases the cost of the respective asset when it is initially recognized.

Provisions are made for expected severance payments or similar personnel expenses as well as for demolition expenses and other charges related to the closing down of operations that have been planned and publicly announced by management.

Provisions for long service and anniversary bonuses are predominantly calculated based on actuarial principles. For contracts signed under the early retirement programs, provisions for the supplemental payments are provided in their full amount and the wage and salary payments due during the passive phase of agreements are accrued in installments. Provisions are recorded for the expected costs that are anticipated to be contracted during the term of the collective bargaining agreements.
Information on provisions for the BASF options program in Note 25

The probable amount required to settle long-term obligations is discounted if the effect of discounting is material. In this case, valuation of the provision is done at present value. Related financing costs are shown in other financial results.

Deferred tax liabilities: Deferred tax liabilities are recorded for temporary differences between the carrying amount of assets and liabilities in the financial statements and the carrying amounts for tax purposes to the extent that there is a surplus of taxable temporary differences relating to a fiscal unit.

Deferred tax liabilities resulted, in particular, from the revaluation of assets at fair value as part of the purchase price allocation of recent years.

Earnings per share: The calculation of earnings per share is based on the average number of common shares outstanding during the applicable period and the net income. Own shares are included in the calculation for the period of time that they were outstanding.

Use of estimates in the preparation of the Consolidated Financial Statements:
The carrying amount of assets, liabilities and provisions, contingent liabilities and other financial obligations in the Consolidated Financial Statements depends on the use of estimates and assumptions. They are based on the circumstances and estimates at the balance sheet date and affect the reported amounts of income and expenses during the reporting periods. These assumptions affect the selection of useful lives of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets, the measurement of provisions, the carrying amount of investments, and other similar valuations of assets and obligations. Given the uncertainty regarding the determination of these factors, actual results could differ from these estimates.

In business combinations , the acquired assets and liabilities are recognized at fair value on the date the acquirer effectively obtains control. The determination of fair value of the acquired intangible assets, property, plant and equipment and liabilities assumed at the date of exchange as well as the useful lives of the acquired intangible assets and property, plant and equipment is based on assumptions. The measurement is largely based on projected cash flows. The actual cash flows can differ significantly from the cash flows used to determine the fair values. The purchase price allocation of material acquisitions is based on external, independent expert reports. The measurement of business combinations is based on the information available on the acquisition date.

Impairment tests on assets are required whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that an assessment is necessary. Impairment tests are based on a comparison of the carrying amount and the recoverable amount. The recoverable amount is the higher of net realizable value and value-in-use. The determination of value-in-use requires the estimation and discounting of cash flows. The estimation of cash flows and assumptions used consider all information available on the respective balance sheet date on the future development of the operating business and may deviate from actual future developments. An impairment charge is taken for the difference between the recoverable amount and the carrying amount.

Goodwill has to be allocated to cash-generating units and tested for impairment once a year. Impairment losses are recorded when the carrying amount of the cash-generating unit exceeds the recoverable value. Impairment testing relies upon long-term earnings predictions based on economic trends. The estimated cash flows are generally based on the current business plans for the next three years and on the expertise of the respective business unit management and take appropriate account of the relevant specific risks. For cash flow projections beyond the detailed planning period, growth rates ranging from 0% to 3% were assumed depending on the individual business and cash-generating unit. The discount rates used depend on the underlying business and the country in which the business operates and correspond to after-tax rates ranging from 6.7% to 14.5%.

Intangible assets and property, plant and equipment: The estimated useful life and method chosen are based on historical values, plans and estimates. Estimates are made on the period and distribution of future cash inflows.

Impairment charges are taken when circumstances lead to a permanent impairment. These circumstances could include lower profitability of the products concerned, the consequence of restructuring measures or poor economic conditions. Should the reasons for the impairment no longer be valid, then reversals are taken up to, but not exceeding, the value of the amortized cost.

Intangible assets with indefinite useful lives are subject to an annual impairment test. An impairment test is conducted if certain triggering events indicate an impairment. This could include changes in customer industries, in technologies and in the business environment.

Deferred tax assets/liabilities: The realization of deferred tax assets depends on the future taxable profits of the respective group companies. Allowances are recorded when it is uncertain if future earnings will be sufficient to take advantage of the tax loss carryforwards. The continued valuation of deferred tax assets is based on internal projections, among other things based on the future earnings of the Group company.
More information can be found in Note 8

Receivables and loans are valued at their amortized costs using the effective interest method. Impairments on receivables and loans are recognized in income. Such evidence for an impairment could, for example, be when the financial difficulties of a debtor become known or payment delays occur. When assessing the need for an impairment, regional and sector specific conditions are considered. In addition, use is made of external ratings as well as the assessments of debt collection agencies and credit insurers when available. A significant proportion of receivables is covered by credit insurance. Bank guarantees and letters of credit are used to a limited extent. Only those receivables which are not covered by insurance or other collateral are impaired. Receivables whose insurance includes a deductible are impaired to the value of the deductible. Impairments are based on historical values on customer solvency and the age, period overdue, insurance policies and customer-specific risks. If, in a subsequent period, the amount of the impairment loss decreases and the decrease can be related objectively to an event occurring after the impairment was recognized, the previously recognized impairment loss is be reversed through profit or loss. The write-up may not exceed the amortized cost.

Pension provisions and defined benefit assets are measured using actuarial methods, applying among others the following valuation parameters: future developments in compensation and pensions, the expected performance of plan assets, employee turnover and the life expectancy of beneficiaries. The resulting obligations are discounted by reference to market yields at the balance sheet date on high quality corporate fixed-rate bonds with a AA rating. Actuarial gains and losses are recognized directly in retained earnings. They result from the variance between the actual development in pension obligations and pension assets and the assumptions made at the beginning of the year as well as the updating of actuarial assumptions.
More information on provisions for pensions and similar obligations can be found in Note 20

Other provisions also cover risks resulting from legal disputes and proceedings. In order to determine the amount of the provisions, the facts related to each case, the size of the claim, claims awarded in similar cases and independent expert advice are considered along with assumptions regarding the probability of a successful claim and the range of possible claims. The actual costs can deviate from these estimates.
More information can be found in Note 24

Other provisions also include expected charges for the rehabilitation of contaminated sites, the recultivation of landfills, the removal of environmental contamination at existing production or storage facilities and other similar measures. If BASF is the only responsible party that can be identified, the provision covers the entire expected claim. At sites operated together by one or more parties, the provision covers only BASF’s share of the expected claim. The determination of the amount of the provision is based on the available technical information on the site, the technology used, legal regulations and processes used as well as current regulations and official obligations.

The estimation of future costs is subject to many uncertainties. This refers in particular to rehabilitation measures that involve several parties and longer time periods.

Assumptions have to be made in determining the discount rate to be used in calculating long-term provisions.

IFRSs and IFRICs which do not yet have to be considered in the preparation of these statements
The effects of IFRSs and IFRICs not yet in force or not yet endorsed by the European Union in the reporting year 2008 were reviewed:

  • IFRS 8 “Operating Segments”, which follows the Management Approach, replaces IAS 14 which follows the Risk-and-Reward Approach. This leads to segmentation based on the internal reporting structure and associated with this the disclosure of management information used for evaluating segment performance and deciding how to allocate resources to operating segments. IFRS 8 shall be applied to financial years beginning on or after January 1, 2009. Earlier application is permitted. As BASF already uses the same performance indicators for external reporting as for internal management reporting, IFRS 8 will not have any effect on the Consolidated Financial Statements of the BASF Group.
  • IAS 1 “Presentation of Financial Statements” was amended by the IASB as of September 6, 2007. The goal is to ease the analysis and comparison of financial statements. Additional information on stockholders’ equity must be presented, for example on the determination, planning and control of the capital structure, and on any supervisory requirements regarding the equity level. The amended version of IAS 1 applies to all financial years beginning on or after January 1, 2009, and has no noteworthy impact on BASF.
  • The IASB published an amended version of IAS 23 “Borrowing Costs” on March 29, 2007. It is mandatory to capitalize borrowing costs directly associated with the purchase, construction or production of a qualifying asset. The standard applies to all borrowing costs eligible for capitalization on or after January 1, 2009. BASF took the option to capitalize such costs, hence there will be no impact on the BASF Group Consolidated Financial Statements.
  • IFRIC 12 “Service Concession Arrangements” regulates the accounting for service concession arrangements between private sector companies and government or other public sector entities to provide public services. IFRIC 12 will not have an effect on BASF.
  • The amended versions of IFRS 3 “Business Combinations” and IAS 27 “Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements” allow the option of measuring minority interests at fair value or based on their identifiable net assets. In addition, changes in the ownership percentage without loss of control are recognized directly in equity. Changes in the ownership percentage with loss of control are recognized in profit and loss. Incidental acquisition costs are to be expensed in the future. The changes affect business combinations whose acquisition date falls in a reporting period beginning on or after of July 1, 2009. BASF will apply the changes as soon as they come into force, or are endorsed by the European Union.
  • IFRIC 15 “Agreements for the Construction of Real Estate” governs the recognition of revenue and the corresponding expense on the construction of real estate. IFRIC 15 will not have an effect on BASF.
  • IFRIC 16 “Hedges of a Net Investment in a Foreign Operation“ clarifies which exchange differences resulting from the difference between the functional currency of the group and the functional currency of the foreign operation can be designated as a hedged risk. IFRIC 16 will not have an effect on BASF.
  • IFRIC 17 “Distributions of Non-cash Assets to Owners“ clarifies that the valuation difference between the book value of the asset and the fair value should be recognized in profit or loss, except for common control transactions. It shall be applied to financial years beginning on or after July 1, 2009. IFRIC 17 will not have an effect on BASF.
  • IFRIC 18 “Transfers of Assets from Customers“ governs agreements in which an entity receives from a customer an asset that the entity must then use either to connect the customer to a network or to provide the customer with ongoing access to a supply of goods or services. The interpretation was published by the IASB on January 29, 2009, and shall be applied to agreements concluded on or after July 1, 2009. The impact on BASF is currently being investigated.
  • The amendments to IAS 1 and IAS 32 “Puttable Financial Instruments and Obligations Arising on Liquidation” clarify that under certain conditions puttable financial instruments and financial instruments with an enforceable claim on proportionate net assets should be classified as equity and not as liabilities. The amendments will have no impact on the BASF Group Consolidated Financial Statements.
  • Other amendments of the standards will have no material impact on BASF.

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