|Component: (Network and Table)|
002000 - Disclosure - Significant Accounting Policies (Policies)
|Reporting Entity [Axis]||0000874761 (http://www.sec.gov/CIK)|
|Significant accounting policies [Abstract]||Period [Axis]|
2012-01-01 - 2012-12-31
Significant accounting policies [Abstract]
PRINCIPLES OF CONSOLIDATION
PRINCIPLES OF CONSOLIDATION—The Consolidated Financial Statements of the Company include the accounts of The AES Corporation, its subsidiaries and controlled affiliates. Furthermore, variable interest entities (“VIEs”) in which the Company has a variable interest have been consolidated where the Company is the primary beneficiary. Investments in which the Company has the ability to exercise significant influence, but not control, are accounted for using the equity method of accounting. Intercompany transactions and balances are eliminated in consolidation.
A VIE is an entity (a) that has a total equity investment at risk that is not sufficient to finance its activities without additional subordinated financial support or (b) where the group of equity holders does not have (i) the ability to make significant decisions about the entity's activities, (ii) the obligation to absorb the entity's expected losses or (iii) the right to receive the entity's expected residual returns or (c) where the voting rights of some equity holders are not proportional to their obligations to absorb expected losses, receive expected residual returns, or both, and substantially all of the entity's activities either involve or are conducted on behalf of an investor that has disproportionately few voting rights.
The determination of which party has the power to direct the activities that most significantly impact the economic performance of the VIE could require significant judgment and assumptions. That determination considers the purpose and design of the business, the risks that the business was designed to create and pass along to other entities, the activities of the business that can be directed and which party can direct them, and the expected relative impact of those activities on the economic performance of the business through its life. The businesses for which significant judgment and assumptions were required were primarily certain generation businesses who have power purchase agreements (“PPAs”) to sell energy exclusively or primarily to a single counterparty for the term of those agreements. For these generation businesses, the counterparty has the power to dispatch energy and, in some instances, to make decisions regarding the sale of excess energy. As such, the counterparty has the power to direct certain activities that significantly impact the economic performance of the business primarily through the cash flows and gross margin, if any, earned by the business from the sale of energy to the counterparty and sometimes through the counterparty's absorption of fuel price risk. However, the counterparty usually does not have the power to direct any of the other activities that could significantly impact the economic performance. These other activities include: daily operation and management, maintenance, repairs and capital expenditures, plant expansion, decisions regarding the overall financing of ongoing operations and budgets and, in some instances, decisions regarding the sale of excess energy. As such, AES has the power to direct some activities of the business that significantly impact its economic performance, primarily through the cash flows and gross margin earned from capacity payments received from being available to produce energy and from the sale of energy to other entities (particularly during any period beyond the end of the power purchase agreement). For these businesses, the determination as to which set of activities most significantly impact the economic performance of the business requires significant judgment and the use of assumptions. The Company concluded that the activities directed by the counterparty were less significant than those directed by AES.
DP&L, our utility in Ohio, has undivided interests in seven generation facilities and numerous transmission facilities. These undivided interests in jointly-owned facilities are accounted for on a pro rata basis in our consolidated financial statements. Certain expenses, primarily fuel costs for the generating units, are allocated to the joint owners based on their energy usage. The remaining expenses, investments in fuel inventory, plant materials and operating supplies and capital additions are allocated to the joint owners in accordance with their respective ownership interests.
USE OF ESTIMATES
USE OF ESTIMATES—The preparation of these consolidated financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“U.S. GAAP”) requires the Company to make estimates and assumptions that affect reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements, as well as the reported amounts of revenue and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates. Items subject to such estimates and assumptions include: the carrying amount and estimated useful lives of long-lived assets; impairment of goodwill, long-lived assets and equity method investments; valuation allowances for receivables and deferred tax assets; the recoverability of deferred regulatory assets; the estimation of deferred regulatory liabilities; the fair value of financial instruments; the fair value of assets and liabilities acquired in a business combination accounted for under the purchase method; the determination of noncontrolling interest using the hypothetical liquidation at book value (“HLBV”) method for certain wind generation partnerships; pension liabilities; environmental liabilities; and potential litigation claims and settlements.
DISCONTINUED OPERATIONS AND RECLASSIFICATIONS
DISCONTINUED OPERATIONS AND RECLASSIFICATIONS—A discontinued operation is a component of the Company that either has been disposed of or is classified as held for sale. A component of the Company comprises operations and cash flows that can be clearly distinguished, operationally and for financial reporting purposes, from the rest of the Company. Prior period amounts have been retrospectively revised to reflect the businesses determined to be discontinued operations, as further discussed in Note 23—Discontinued Operations and Held for Sale Businesses. Cash flows at discontinued and held for sale businesses are included within the relevant categories within operating, investing and financing activities. As cash at such businesses is reported within Current assets of discontinued and held for sale businesses, the aggregate amount of cash flows is offset by the net increase or decrease in cash of discontinued and held for sale businesses, which is presented as a separate line item in the Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows.
COMPREHENSIVE INCOME—In June 2011, the FASB issued ASU No. 2011-05, “Comprehensive Income (Topic 220): Presentation of Comprehensive Income” (“ASU No. 2011-05”) which requires comprehensive income to be reported in either a single statement or in two consecutive statements reporting net income and other comprehensive income. The amendment does not change what items are reported in other comprehensive income or the U.S. GAAP requirement to report the reclassification of items from other comprehensive income to net income. The Company adopted ASU No. 2011-05 on January 1, 2012 and chose to report comprehensive income in two consecutive statements by adding a new consolidated statement of comprehensive income. To be consistent with this new presentation, the Company has presented consolidated statements of comprehensive income for each year in the three-year period ended December 31, 2012 in these consolidated financial statements. As ASU No. 2011-05 impacts financial statement presentation only, the adoption did not have an impact on the Company's historical financial position or results of operations and is not expected to have an impact in future periods.
FAIR VALUE—Fair value, as defined in the fair value measurement accounting guidance, is the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date, or exit price. The Company applies the fair value measurement accounting guidance to financial assets and liabilities in determining the fair value of investments in marketable debt and equity securities, included in the consolidated balance sheet line items “Short-term investments” and “Other assets (noncurrent),” derivative assets, included in “Other current assets” and “Other assets (noncurrent)” and derivative liabilities, included in “Accrued and other liabilities (current)” and “Other long-term liabilities.” The Company applies the fair value measurement guidance to nonfinancial assets and liabilities upon the acquisition of a business or in conjunction with the measurement of an impairment loss on an asset group or goodwill under the accounting guidance for the impairment of long-lived assets or goodwill.
The fair value measurement accounting guidance requires that the Company make assumptions that market participants would use in pricing an asset or liability based on the best information available. These factors include nonperformance risk (the risk that the obligation will not be fulfilled) and credit risk of the reporting entity (for liabilities) and of the counterparty (for assets). The fair value measurement guidance prohibits the inclusion of transaction costs and any adjustments for blockage factors in determining the instruments' fair value. The principal or most advantageous market should be considered from the perspective of the reporting entity.
Fair value, where available, is based on observable quoted market prices. Where observable prices or inputs are not available, several valuation models and techniques are applied. These models and techniques attempt to maximize the use of observable inputs and minimize the use of unobservable inputs. The process involves varying levels of management judgment, the degree of which is dependent on the price transparency of the instruments or market and the instruments' complexity.
To increase consistency and enhance disclosure of fair value, the fair value measurement accounting guidance creates a fair value hierarchy to prioritize the inputs used to measure fair value into three categories. An asset or liability's level within the fair value hierarchy is based on the lowest level of input significant to the fair value measurement, where Level 1 is the highest and Level 3 is the lowest. The three levels are defined as follows:
Level 1—unadjusted quoted prices in active markets accessible by the reporting entity for identical assets or liabilities. Active markets are those in which transactions for the asset or liability occur with sufficient frequency and volume to provide pricing information on an ongoing basis.
Level 2—pricing inputs other than quoted market prices included in Level 1 which are based on observable market data, that are directly or indirectly observable for substantially the full term of the asset or liability. These include quoted market prices for similar assets or liabilities, quoted market prices for identical or similar assets in markets that are not active, adjusted quoted market prices, inputs from observable data such as interest rate and yield curves, volatilities or default rates observable at commonly quoted intervals or inputs derived from observable market data by correlation or other means. The fair value of most over-the-counter derivatives derived from internal valuation models using market inputs and most investments in marketable debt securities qualify as Level 2.
Level 3—pricing inputs that are unobservable, or less observable, from objective sources. Unobservable inputs are only used to the extent observable inputs are not available. These inputs maintain the concept of an exit price from the perspective of a market participant and should reflect assumptions of other market participants. An entity should consider all market participant assumptions that are available without unreasonable cost and effort. These are given the lowest priority and are generally used in internally developed methodologies to generate management's best estimate of the fair value when no observable market data is available. The fair value of implied goodwill and long-lived assets determined using discounted cash flows valuation models for impairment evaluation purposes qualify as Level 3.
Any transfers between all levels within the fair value hierarchy levels are recognized at the end of the reporting period.
CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS
CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS—The Company considers unrestricted cash on hand, deposits in banks, certificates of deposit and short-term marketable securities, that mature within three months or less from the date of purchase, to be cash and cash equivalents. The carrying amounts of such balances approximate fair value.
RESTIRCTED CASH AND DEBT SERVICE RESERVES
RESTRICTED CASH AND DEBT SERVICE RESERVES—These include cash balances which are restricted as to withdrawal or usage. The nature of restrictions includes restrictions imposed by financing agreements such as security deposits kept as collateral, debt service reserves, maintenance reserves and others, as well as restrictions imposed by long-term PPAs.
INVESTMENTS IN MARKETABLE SECURITIES
INVESTMENTS IN MARKETABLE SECURITIES—Short-term investments in marketable debt and equity securities consist of securities with original or remaining maturities in excess of three months but less than one year. The Company's marketable investments are primarily unsecured debentures, certificates of deposit, government debt securities and money market funds.
Marketable debt securities that the Company has both the positive intent and ability to hold to maturity are classified as held-to-maturity and are carried at amortized cost. Other marketable securities that the Company does not intend to hold to maturity are classified as available-for-sale or trading and are carried at fair value. Available-for-sale investments are marked-to-market at the end of each reporting period, with unrealized holding gains or losses, which represent changes in the market value of the investment, reflected in accumulated other comprehensive loss (“AOCL”), a separate component of equity. In measuring the other-than-temporary impairment of debt securities, the Company identifies two components: 1) the amount representing the credit loss, which is recognized as “other non-operating expense” in the Consolidated Statements of Operations; and 2) the amount related to other factors, which is recognized in AOCL unless there is a plan to sell the security, in which case it would be recognized in earnings. The amount recognized in AOCL for held-to-maturity debt securities is then amortized in earnings over the remaining life of such securities.
Investments classified as trading are marked-to-market on a periodic basis through the Consolidated Statements of Operations. Interest and dividends on investments are reported in interest income and other income, respectively. Gains and losses on sales of investments are determined using the specific identification method.
See Note 4—Fair Value and the Company's fair value policy for additional discussion regarding the determination of the fair value of the Company's investments in marketable debt and equity securities.
ACCOUNTS AND NOTES RECEIVABLE AND ALLOWANCE FOR DOUBTFUL ACCOUNTS
ACCOUNTS AND NOTES RECEIVABLE AND ALLOWANCE FOR DOUBTFUL ACCOUNTS—Accounts and notes receivable are carried at amortized cost. The Company periodically assesses the collectability of accounts receivable considering factors such as specific evaluation of collectability, historical collection experience, the age of accounts receivable and other currently available evidence of the collectability, and records an allowance for doubtful accounts for the estimated uncollectible amount as appropriate. Certain of our businesses charge interest on accounts receivable either under contractual terms or where charging interest is a customary business practice. In such cases, interest income is recognized on an accrual basis. In situations where the collection of interest is uncertain, interest income is recognized as cash is received. Individual accounts and notes receivable are written off when they are no longer deemed collectible.
INVENTORY—Inventory primarily consists of coal, fuel oil and other raw materials used to generate power, and spare parts and supplies used to maintain power generation and distribution facilities. Inventory is carried at lower of cost or market. Cost is the sum of the purchase price and incidental expenditures and charges incurred to bring the inventory to its existing condition or location. Cost is determined under the first-in, first-out (“FIFO”), average cost or specific identification method. Generally, cost is reduced to market value if the market value of inventory has declined and it is probable that the utility of inventory, in its disposal in the ordinary course of business, will not be recovered through revenue earned from the generation of power.
PROPERTY, PLANT AND EQUIPMENT
LONG-LIVED ASSETS—Long-lived assets include property, plant and equipment, assets under capital leases and intangible assets subject to amortization (i.e., finite-lived intangible assets).
Property, plant and equipment
Property, plant and equipment are stated at cost, net of accumulated depreciation. The cost of renewals and improvements that extend the useful life of property, plant and equipment are capitalized.
Construction progress payments, engineering costs, insurance costs, salaries, interest and other costs directly relating to construction in progress are capitalized during the construction period, provided the completion of the project is deemed probable, or expensed at the time the Company determines that development of a particular project is no longer probable. The continued capitalization of such costs is subject to ongoing risks related to successful completion, including those related to government approvals, site identification, financing, construction permitting and contract compliance. Construction in progress balances are transferred to electric generation and distribution assets when an asset group is ready for its intended use. Government subsidies, liquidated damages recovered for construction delays and income tax credits are recorded as a reduction to property, plant and equipment and reflected in cash flows from investing activities.
Depreciation, after consideration of salvage value and asset retirement obligations, is computed primarily using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the assets, which are determined on a composite or component basis. Maintenance and repairs are charged to expense as incurred. Capital spare parts, including rotable spare parts, are included in electric generation and distribution assets. If the spare part is considered a component, it is depreciated over its useful life after the part is placed in service. If the spare part is deemed part of a composite asset, the part is depreciated over the composite useful life even when being held as a spare part.
INTANGIBLE ASSETS SUBJECT TO AMORTIZATION
Intangible Assets Subject to Amortization
Finite-lived intangible assets are amortized over their useful lives which range from 1 – 50 years. The Company accounts for purchased emission allowances as intangible assets and records an expense when utilized or sold. Granted emission allowances are valued at zero.
IMPAIRMENTS OF LONG-LIVED ASSETS
Impairment of Long-lived Assets
The Company evaluates the impairment of long-lived assets (asset group) using internal projections of undiscounted cash flows when circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of such assets may not be recoverable or the assets meet the held for sale criteria under the relevant accounting standards. Events or changes in circumstances that may necessitate a recoverability evaluation may include but are not limited to: adverse changes in the regulatory environment, unfavorable changes in power prices or fuel costs, increased competition due to additional capacity in the grid, technological advancements, declining trends in demand, or an expectation that it is more likely than not that the asset will be disposed of before the end of its previously estimated useful life. The carrying amount of a long-lived asset (asset group) may not be recoverable if it exceeds the sum of undiscounted cash flows expected to result from the use and eventual disposal of the asset (asset group). In such cases, fair value of the long-lived asset (asset group) is determined in accordance with the fair value measurement accounting guidance. The excess of carrying amount over fair value, if any, is recognized as an impairment expense. For regulated assets, an impairment expense could be reduced by the establishment of a regulatory asset, if recovery through approved rates was probable. For non-regulated assets, impairment is recognized as an expense against net income.
DEFERRED FINANCING COSTS
DEFERRED FINANCING COSTS—Costs incurred in connection with the issuance of long-term debt are deferred and amortized over the related financing period using the effective interest method or the straight-line method when it does not differ materially from the effective interest method. Make-whole payments in connection with early debt retirements are classified as cash flows used in financing activities.
EQUITY METHOD INVESTMENTS
EQUITY METHOD INVESTMENTS—Investments in entities over which the Company has the ability to exercise significant influence, but not control, are accounted for using the equity method of accounting and reported in “Investments in and advances to affiliates” on the Consolidated Balance Sheets. The Company periodically assesses the recoverability of its equity method investments. If an identified event or change in circumstances requires an impairment evaluation, management assesses the fair value based on valuation methodologies, including discounted cash flows, estimates of sale proceeds and external appraisals, as appropriate. The difference between the carrying amount of the equity method investment and its estimated fair value is recognized as impairment when the loss in value is deemed other-than-temporary and included in “Other non-operating expense” in the Consolidated Statements of Operations.
The Company discontinues the application of the equity method when an investment is reduced to zero and the Company is not otherwise committed to provide further financial support to the investee. The Company resumes the application of the equity method if the investee subsequently reports net income to the extent that the Company's share of such net income equals the share of net losses not recognized during the period in which the equity method of accounting was suspended.
GOODWILL AND INDEFINITE-LIVED INTANGIBLE ASSETS
GOODWILL AND INDEFINITE-LIVED INTANGIBLE ASSETS—The Company evaluates goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets for impairment on an annual basis and whenever events or changes in circumstances necessitate an evaluation for impairment. The Company's annual impairment testing date is October 1.
The Company evaluates goodwill impairment at the reporting unit level, which is an operating segment, as defined in the segment reporting accounting guidance, or a component (i.e., one level below an operating segment). In determining its reporting units, the Company starts with its management reporting structure. Operating segments are identified and then analyzed to identify components which make up these operating segments. Two or more components are combined into a single reporting unit if they share the economic similarity criteria prescribed by the accounting guidance. Assets and liabilities are allocated to a reporting unit if the assets will be employed by or a liability relates to the operations of the reporting unit or would be considered by a market participant in determining its fair value. Goodwill resulting from an acquisition is assigned to the reporting units that are expected to benefit from the synergies of the acquisition. Generally, each AES business constitutes a reporting unit.
Goodwill is evaluated for impairment either under the qualitative assessment option or the two-step test approach depending on facts and circumstances of a reporting unit. Examples of such facts and circumstances include: the excess of fair value over carrying amount in the last valuation, or changes in business environment. If the Company determines it is “more likely than not” that the fair value of a reporting unit is greater than its carrying amount, the two-step impairment test is unnecessary. When goodwill is evaluated for impairment using the two step test, the carrying amount of a reporting unit is compared to its fair value in Step 1 and if the fair value exceeds the carrying amount, Step 2 is unnecessary. If the carrying amount exceeds the reporting unit's fair value, this could indicate potential impairment and Step 2 of the goodwill evaluation process is required to determine if goodwill is impaired and to measure the amount of impairment loss to recognize, if any. When a Step 2 is necessary, the fair value of individual assets and liabilities is determined using valuations (which in some cases may be based in part on third party valuation reports), or other observable sources of fair value, as appropriate. If the carrying amount of goodwill exceeds its implied fair value, the excess is recognized as an impairment loss.
Most of the Company's reporting units are not publicly traded. Therefore, the Company estimates the fair value of its reporting units using internal budgets and forecasts, adjusted for any market participants' assumptions and discounted at the rate of return required by a market participant. The Company considers both market and income-based approaches to determine a range of fair value, but typically concludes that the value derived using an income-based approach is more representative of fair value due to the lack of direct market comparables. The Company does use market data to corroborate and determine the reasonableness of the fair value derived from the income-based discounted cash flow analysis.
Indefinite-lived Intangible Assets:
The Company's indefinite-lived intangible assets primarily include land use rights, easements, concessions and trade name. These are tested for impairment on an annual basis or whenever events or changes in circumstances necessitate an evaluation for impairment. If the carrying amount of an intangible asset exceeds its fair value, the excess is recognized as impairment expense.
In July 2012, the FASB issued ASU No. 2012-02, Testing Indefinite-Lived Intangible Assets for Impairment (ASU No. 2012-02), which amended the existing guidance for indefinite-lived intangible assets impairment testing. Under the amendments in ASU No. 2012-02, an entity has the option to first assess qualitative factors to determine whether the existence of events or circumstances indicate that it is more likely than not that an intangible asset is impaired. If, after assessing the totality of events and circumstances, an entity determines that it is not more likely than not that an intangible asset is impaired, then the entity is not required to take further action. An entity also has the option to bypass the qualitative assessment for any intangible asset in any period and proceed directly to performing the quantitative impairment test. ASU No. 2012-02 is effective for annual and interim impairment tests performed for fiscal periods beginning on or after September 15, 2012 and early adoption is permitted. AES elected to adopt ASU No. 2012-02 early for its 2012 annual intangible asset impairment evaluations performed at October 1 and qualitatively assessed certain of its intangible assets. The adoption did not have an impact on the Company's financial position, results of operations or cash flows and is not expected to have an impact in future periods.
ACCOUNTS PAYABLE AND OTHER ACCRUED LIABILITIES
ACCOUNTS PAYABLE AND OTHER ACCRUED LIABILITIES—Accounts payable consists of amounts due to trade creditors related to the Company's core business operations. The nature of these payables include amounts owed to vendors and suppliers for items such as energy purchased for resale, fuel, maintenance, inventory and other raw materials. Other accrued liabilities include items such as income taxes, regulatory liabilities, legal contingencies and employee-related costs including payroll, benefits and related taxes.
REGULATORY ASSETS AND LIABILITIES
REGULATORY ASSETS AND LIABILITIES—The Company records assets and liabilities that result from the regulated ratemaking process that are not recognized under GAAP for non-regulated entities. Regulatory assets generally represent incurred costs that have been deferred due to the probability of future recovery in customer rates. Regulatory liabilities generally represent obligations to make refunds to customers. Management continually assesses whether the regulatory assets are probable of future recovery by considering factors such as applicable regulatory changes, recent rate orders applicable to other regulated entities and the status of any pending or potential deregulation legislation. If future recovery of costs previously deferred ceases to be probable, the related regulatory assets are written off and recognized in income from continuing operations.
PENSION AND OTHER POSTRETIREMENT PLANS
PENSION AND OTHER POSTRETIREMENT PLANS—The Company recognizes in its Consolidated Balance Sheets an asset or liability reflecting the funded status of pension and other postretirement plans with current year changes in the funded status recognized in AOCL, except for those plans at certain of the Company's regulated utilities that can recover portions of their pension and postretirement obligations through future rates. All plan assets are recorded at fair value. AES follows the measurement date provisions of the accounting guidance, which require a year-end measurement date of plan assets and obligations for all defined benefit plans.
INCOME TAXES—Deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the future tax consequences attributable to differences between the financial statement carrying amounts of the existing assets and liabilities, and their respective income tax bases. The Company establishes a valuation allowance when it is more likely than not that all or a portion of a deferred tax asset will not be realized. The Company's tax positions are evaluated under a more-likely-than-not recognition threshold and measurement analysis before they are recognized for financial statement reporting.
Uncertain tax positions have been classified as noncurrent income tax liabilities unless expected to be paid within one year. The Company's policy for interest and penalties related to income tax exposures is to recognize interest and penalties as a component of the provision for income taxes in the Consolidated Statements of Operations.
ASSET RETIREMENT OBLIGATIONS
ASSET RETIREMENT OBLIGATIONS—The Company records the fair value of the liability for a legal obligation to retire an asset in the period in which the obligation is incurred. When a new liability is recognized, the Company capitalizes the costs of the liability by increasing the carrying amount of the related long-lived asset. The liability is accreted to its present value each period and the capitalized cost is depreciated over the useful life of the related asset. Upon settlement of the obligation, the Company eliminates the liability and, based on the actual cost to retire, may incur a gain or loss.
NONCONTROLLING INTERESTS—Noncontrolling interests are classified as a separate component of equity in the Consolidated Balance Sheets and Consolidated Statements of Changes in Equity. Additionally, net income and comprehensive income attributable to noncontrolling interests are reflected separately from consolidated net income and comprehensive income in the Consolidated Statements of Operations and Consolidated Statements of Changes in Equity. Any change in ownership of a subsidiary while the controlling financial interest is retained is accounted for as an equity transaction between the controlling and noncontrolling interests. Losses continue to be attributed to the noncontrolling interests, even when the noncontrolling interests' basis has been reduced to zero.
Although in general, the noncontrolling ownership interest in earnings is calculated based on ownership percentage, certain of the Company's wind businesses use the HLBV method as an approximation of certain profit sharing arrangements. HLBV uses a balance sheet approach, which measures the Company's equity in income or loss by calculating the change in the amount of net worth the partners are legally able to claim based on a hypothetical liquidation of the entity at the beginning of a reporting period compared to the end of that period. This method is used in Wind Generation partnerships which contain agreements designating different allocations of value among investors, where the allocations change in form or percentage over the life of the partnership.
GUARANTOR ACCOUNTING—At the inception of a guarantee, the Company records the fair value of a guarantee as a liability, with the offset dependent on the circumstances under which the guarantee was issued. The Company does not recognize guarantees given to third parties for its subsidiaries' performance.
TRANSFER OF FINANCIAL ASSETS
TRANSFER OF FINANCIAL ASSETS— As of December 31, 2012, the Company has $50 million recognized as accounts receivable and as an associated secured borrowing on its Consolidated Balance Sheet. IPL, the Company's integrated utility in Indianapolis, has securitized these accounts receivable through IPL Funding, a special-purpose entity. Under the arrangement, interests in these accounts receivable are sold, on a revolving basis, to unrelated parties (the Purchasers) up to the lesser of $50 million or an amount determinable under the facility agreement. The Purchasers assume the risk of collection on the interest sold without recourse to IPL, which retains the servicing responsibilities for the interest sold. While no direct recourse to IPL exists, IPL risks loss in the event collections are not sufficient to allow for full recovery of the retained interests. No servicing asset or liability is recorded since the servicing fee paid to IPL approximates a market rate. The retained interest in these securitized accounts receivable does not meet the definition of a participating interest thereby requiring the Company to recognize on its Consolidated Balance Sheet the portion transferred and the proceeds received as accounts receivable and a secured borrowing, respectively.
FOREIGN CURRENCY TRANSLATION
FOREIGN CURRENCY TRANSLATION—A business' functional currency is the currency of the primary economic environment in which the business operates and is generally the currency in which the business generates and expends cash. Subsidiaries and affiliates whose functional currency is a currency other than the U.S. Dollar translate their assets and liabilities into U.S. Dollars at the current exchange rates in effect at the end of the fiscal period. The revenue and expense accounts of such subsidiaries and affiliates are translated into U.S. Dollars at the average exchange rates that prevailed during the period. Translation adjustments are included in AOCL. Gains and losses on intercompany foreign currency transactions that are long-term in nature and which the Company does not intend to settle in the foreseeable future, are also recognized in AOCL. Gains and losses that arise from exchange rate fluctuations on transactions denominated in a currency other than the functional currency are included in determining net income. Accumulated foreign currency translation adjustments are reclassified to net income only when realized upon sale or upon complete or substantially complete liquidation of the investment in a foreign entity.
REVENUE RECOGNITION—Revenue from Utilities is classified as regulated in the Consolidated Statements of Operations. Revenue from the sale of energy is recognized in the period during which the sale occurs. The calculation of revenue earned but not yet billed is based on the number of days not billed in the month, the estimated amount of energy delivered during those days and the estimated average price per customer class for that month. Differences between actual and estimated unbilled revenue are usually immaterial. The Company has businesses where it makes sales and purchases of power to and from Independent System Operators (“ISOs”) and Regional Transmission Organizations (“RTOs”). In those instances, the Company accounts for these transactions on a net hourly basis because the transactions are settled on a net hourly basis. Revenue from Generation businesses is classified as non-regulated and is recognized based upon output delivered and capacity provided, at rates as specified under contract terms or prevailing market rates. Certain of the Company PPAs meet the definition of an operating lease or contain similar arrangements. Typically, minimum lease payments from such PPAs are recognized as revenue on a straight line basis over the lease term whereas contingent rentals are recognized when earned. Revenue is recorded net of any taxes assessed on and collected from customers, which are remitted to the governmental authorities.
SHARE-BASED COMPENSATION—The Company grants share-based compensation in the form of stock options and restricted stock units. The expense is based on the grant-date fair value of the equity or liability instrument issued and is recognized on a straight-line basis over the requisite service period, net of estimated forfeitures. Currently, the Company uses a Black-Scholes option pricing model to estimate the fair value of stock options granted to its employees.
GENERAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES
GENERAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES—General and administrative expenses include corporate and other expenses related to corporate staff functions and initiatives, primarily executive management, finance, legal, human resources and information systems, which are not directly allocable to our business segments. Additionally, all costs associated with business development efforts are classified as general and administrative expenses.
DERIVATIVES AND HEDGING ACTIVITIES
DERIVATIVES AND HEDGING ACTIVITIES—Under the accounting standards for derivatives and hedging, the Company recognizes all contracts that meet the definition of a derivative, except those designated as normal purchase or normal sale at inception, as either assets or liabilities in the Consolidated Balance Sheets and measures those instruments at fair value. See the Company's fair value policy and Note 4—Fair Value for additional discussion regarding the determination of the fair value. The PPAs and fuel supply agreements entered into by the Company are evaluated to determine if they meet the definition of a derivative or contain embedded derivatives, either of which require separate valuation and accounting. To be a derivative under the accounting standards for derivatives and hedging, an agreement would need to have a notional and an underlying, require little or no initial net investment and could be net settled. Generally, these agreements do not meet the definition of a derivative, often due to the inability to be net settled. On a quarterly basis, we evaluate the markets for the commodities to be delivered under these agreements to determine if facts and circumstances have changed such that the agreements could then be net settled and meet the definition of a derivative.
Derivatives primarily consist of interest rate swaps, cross-currency swaps, foreign currency instruments, and commodity derivatives. The Company enters into various derivative transactions in order to hedge its exposure to certain market risks, primarily interest rate, foreign currency and commodity price risks. Regarding interest rate risk, AES and its subsidiaries generally utilize variable rate debt financing for construction projects and operations so interest rate swap, lock, cap, and floor agreements are entered into to manage interest rate risk by effectively fixing or limiting the interest rate exposure on the underlying financing and are typically designated as cash flow hedges. Regarding foreign currency risk, we are exposed to it as a result of our investments in foreign subsidiaries and affiliates that may be impacted by significant fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates so foreign currency options and forwards are utilized, where deemed appropriate, to manage the risk related to these fluctuations. Cross-currency swaps are utilized in certain instances to manage the risk related to fluctuations in both interest rates and certain foreign currencies. In addition, certain of our subsidiaries have entered into contracts which contain embedded derivatives as a portion of the contracts is denominated in a currency other than the functional or local currency of that subsidiary or the currency of the item. Regarding commodity price risk, we are exposed to the impact of market fluctuations in the price of electricity, fuel and environmental credits. Although we primarily consist of businesses with long-term contracts or retail sales concessions (which provide our distribution businesses with a franchise to serve a specific geographic region), a portion of our current and expected future revenues are derived from businesses without significant long-term purchase or sales contracts. We use an overall hedging strategy, not just derivatives, to hedge our financial performance against the effects of fluctuations in commodity prices.
The accounting standards for derivatives and hedging enable companies to designate qualifying derivatives as hedging instruments based on the exposure being hedged. The Company only has cash flow hedges at this time. Changes in the fair value of a derivative that is highly effective, designated and qualifies as a cash flow hedge are deferred in AOCL and are recognized into earnings as the hedged transactions affect earnings. Any ineffectiveness is recognized in earnings immediately. For all designated and qualifying hedges, the Company maintains formal documentation of the hedge and effectiveness testing in accordance with the accounting standards for derivatives and hedging. If AES determines that the derivative is no longer highly effective as a hedge, hedge accounting will be discontinued prospectively. For cash flow hedges of forecasted transactions, AES estimates the future cash flows of the forecasted transactions and evaluates the probability of the occurrence and timing of such transactions. Changes in conditions or the occurrence of unforeseen events could require discontinuance of hedge accounting or could affect the timing of the reclassification of gains or losses on cash flow hedges from AOCL into earnings.
While derivative transactions are not entered into for trading purposes, some contracts are not eligible for hedge accounting. Changes in the fair value of derivatives not designated and qualifying as cash flow hedges are immediately recognized in earnings. Regardless of when gains or losses on derivatives (including all those where the fair value measurement is classified as Level 3) are recognized in earnings, they are generally classified as follows: interest expense for interest rate and cross-currency derivatives, foreign currency transaction gains or losses for foreign currency derivatives, and non-regulated revenue or non-regulated cost of sales for commodity and other derivatives. However, gains and losses on interest rate and cross-currency derivatives are classified as foreign currency transaction gains and losses if they offset the remeasurement of the foreign currency-denominated debt being hedged by the cross-currency swaps and the amount reclassified from AOCL to cost of sales to offset depreciation where the variable-rate interest capitalized as part of the asset was hedged during its construction. Cash flows arising from derivatives are included in the Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows as an operating activity given the nature of the underlying risk being economically hedged and the lack of significant financing elements, except that cash flows on designated and qualifying hedges of variable-rate interest during construction are classified as an investing activity.
Derivatives Basis And Use Of Derivatives Use Of Derivatives
Derivatives Basis And Use Of Derivatives Basis
Derivatives Offsetting Fair Value Amounts Policy
The Company has elected not to offset net derivative positions in the financial statements. Accordingly, the Company does not offset such derivative positions against the fair value of amounts (or amounts that approximate fair value) recognized for the right to reclaim cash collateral (a receivable) or the obligation to return cash collateral (a payable) under master netting arrangements.
Financing Receivable Allowance For Credit Losses Policy Or Methodology Change Policy Text Block
Collection of the Argentina financing receivables is subject to various business risks and uncertainties including timely payment of principal and interest, completion and operation of power plants which provide for payments of the long-term receivables, regulatory changes that could impact the timing and amount of collections and economic conditions in Argentina. The Company periodically analyzes each of these factors and assesses collectability of the related accounts receivable. The Company's collection estimates are based on assumptions that it believes to be reasonable but are also inherently uncertain. Actual future cash flows could differ from these estimates. The decrease in the long-term financing receivables from December 31, 2011 is primarily related to the impact of foreign currency translation. The receivables are included in “Noncurrent assets – other” on the Consolidated Balance Sheets.
Commitments And Contingencies Policy
The Company is involved in certain claims, suits and legal proceedings in the normal course of business. The Company accrues for litigation and claims when it is probable that a liability has been incurred and the amount of loss can be reasonably estimated. The Company has evaluated claims in accordance with the accounting guidance for contingencies that it deems both probable and reasonably estimable and accordingly, has recorded aggregate reserves for all claims of approximately $321 million and $363 million as of December 31, 2012 and 2011, respectively. These reserves are reported on the consolidated balance sheets within “accrued and other liabilities” and “other long-term liabilities.” A significant portion of the reserves relate to employment, non-income tax and customer disputes in international jurisdictions, principally Brazil. Certain of the Company's subsidiaries, principally in Brazil, are defendants in a number of labor and employment lawsuits. The complaints generally seek unspecified monetary damages, injunctive relief, or other relief. The subsidiaries have denied any liability and intend to vigorously defend themselves in all of these proceedings. There can be no assurance that these reserves will be adequate to cover all existing and future claims or that we will have the liquidity to pay such claims as they arise.
Segment Reporting General Information
17. SEGMENT AND GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION During the fourth quarter of 2012, the Company completed the restructuring of its operational management and reporting process. The segment reporting structure uses the Company’s management reporting structure as its foundation to reflect how the Company manages the business internally with further aggregation by geographic regions to provide better socio-political-economic understanding of our business. The management reporting structure is organized along six strategic business units (“SBUs”) – led by our Chief Operating Officer (“COO”), who in turn reports to our Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”). Upon the application of the accounting guidance for segment reporting, the Company has identified eight reportable segments based on the six strategic business units. All prior period results have been retrospectively revised to reflect the new segment reporting structure which includes: US – Generation; US – Utilities; Andes – Generation; Brazil – Generation; Brazil – Utilities; MCAC – Generation; EMEA – Generation; Asia – Generation Corporate and Other— The Company’s EMEA and MCAC Utilities operating segments are reported within “Corporate and Other” because they do not meet the criteria to allow for aggregation with another operating segment or the quantitative thresholds that would require separate disclosure under the segment reporting accounting guidance. None of these operating segments are currently material to our presentation of reportable segments, individually or in the aggregate. AES Solar and certain other unconsolidated businesses are accounted for using the equity method of accounting; therefore, their operating results are included in “Net Equity in Earnings of Affiliates” on the face of the Consolidated Statements of Operations, not in revenue or adjusted PTC. “Corporate and Other” also includes corporate overhead costs which are not directly associated with the operations of our eight reportable segments and other intercompany charges such as self-insurance premiums which are fully eliminated in consolidation. During the fourth quarter 2012, the Company changed its primary segment performance measure from adjusted gross margin to adjusted pre-tax contribution (“Adjusted PTC”).   Adjusted PTC, a non-GAAP measure, is defined by the Company as pre-tax income from continuing operations attributable to AES excluding unrealized gains or losses related to derivative transactions, unrealized foreign currency gains or losses, significant gains or losses due to dispositions and acquisitions of business interests, significant losses due to impairments and costs due to the early retirement of debt. The Company has concluded that Adjusted PTC best reflects the underlying business performance of the Company and is the most relevant measure considered in the Company’s internal evaluation of the financial performance of its segments.  Additionally, given its large number of businesses and complexity, the Company has also concluded that Adjusted PTC is a more transparent measure that better assists the investor in determining which businesses have the greatest impact on the overall Company results.   Total revenue includes inter-segment revenue related to the transfer of electricity from generation plants to utilities within Brazil. No material inter-segment revenue relationships exist between other segments. Corporate allocations include certain self-insurance activities which are reflected within segment adjusted PTC. All intra-segment activity has been eliminated with respect to revenue and adjusted PTC within the segment. Inter-segment activity has been eliminated within the total consolidated results. Asset information for businesses that were discontinued or classified as held for sale as of December 31, 2012 is segregated and is shown in the line “Discontinued Businesses” in the accompanying segment tables. The tables below present the breakdown of reportable segment balance sheet and income statement data as of and for the years ended December 31, 2012 through 2010:
Earnings Per Share Policy
Basic and diluted earnings per share are based on the weighted average number of shares of common stock and potential common stock outstanding during the period. Potential common stock, for purposes of determining diluted earnings per share, includes the effects of dilutive restricted stock units, stock options and convertible securities. The effect of such potential common stock is computed using the treasury stock method or the if-converted method, as applicable.