SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
Principles of Consolidation and Basis of Presentation
The accompanying consolidated financial statements of The Dow Chemical Company and its subsidiaries (“Dow” or the “Company”) were prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“U.S. GAAP”) and include the assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses of all majority-owned subsidiaries over which the Company exercises control and, when applicable, entities for which the Company has a controlling financial interest or is the primary beneficiary. Intercompany transactions and balances are eliminated in consolidation. Investments in nonconsolidated affiliates (20-50 percent owned companies, joint ventures and partnerships) are accounted for using the equity method.
Use of Estimates in Financial Statement Preparation
The preparation of financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP requires the use of estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements, and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. The Company’s consolidated financial statements include amounts that are based on management’s best estimates and judgments. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
Foreign Currency Translation
The local currency has been primarily used as the functional currency throughout the world. Translation gains and losses of those operations that use local currency as the functional currency are included in the consolidated balance sheets in “Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)” (“AOCI”). Where the U.S. dollar is used as the functional currency or when the foreign subsidiary operates in a hyper-inflationary environment, foreign currency translation gains and losses are reflected in income.
Accruals for environmental matters are recorded when it is probable that a liability has been incurred and the amount of the liability can be reasonably estimated based on current law and existing technologies. These accruals are adjusted periodically as assessment and remediation efforts progress or as additional technical or legal information becomes available. Accruals for environmental liabilities are included in the consolidated balance sheets in “Accrued and other current liabilities” and “Other noncurrent obligations” at undiscounted amounts. Accruals for related insurance or other third-party recoveries for environmental liabilities are recorded when it is probable that a recovery will be realized and are included in the consolidated balance sheets as “Accounts and notes receivable - Other.”
Environmental costs are capitalized if the costs extend the life of the property, increase its capacity, and/or mitigate or prevent contamination from future operations. Environmental costs are also capitalized in recognition of legal asset retirement obligations resulting from the acquisition, construction and/or normal operation of a long-lived asset. Costs related to environmental contamination treatment and cleanup are charged to expense. Estimated future incremental operations, maintenance and management costs directly related to remediation are accrued when such costs are probable and reasonably estimable.
Cash and Cash Equivalents
Cash and cash equivalents include time deposits and investments with maturities of three months or less at the time of purchase.
The Company calculates the fair value of financial instruments using quoted market prices whenever available. When quoted market prices are not available for various types of financial instruments (such as forwards, options and swaps), the Company uses standard pricing models with market-based inputs that take into account the present value of estimated future cash flows.
The Company utilizes derivatives to manage exposures to foreign currency exchange rates, commodity prices and interest rate risk. The fair values of all derivatives are recognized as assets or liabilities at the balance sheet date. Changes in the fair value of these instruments are reported in income or AOCI, depending on the use of the derivative and whether it qualifies for hedge accounting treatment.
Gains and losses on derivatives that are designated and qualify as cash flow hedging instruments are recorded in AOCI, to the extent the hedges are effective, until the underlying transactions are recognized in income. To the extent effective, gains and losses on derivative and nonderivative instruments used as hedges of the Company’s net investment in foreign operations are recorded in AOCI as part of the cumulative translation adjustment. The ineffective portions of cash flow hedges and hedges of net investment in foreign operations, if any, are recognized in income immediately.
Gains and losses on derivatives designated and qualifying as fair value hedging instruments, as well as the offsetting losses and gains on the hedged items, are reported in income in the same accounting period. Derivatives not designated as hedging instruments are marked-to-market at the end of each accounting period with the results included in income.
Inventories are stated at the lower of cost or market. The method of determining cost for each subsidiary varies among last-in, first-out (“LIFO”); first-in, first-out (“FIFO”); and average cost, and is used consistently from year to year.
The Company routinely exchanges and swaps raw materials and finished goods with other companies to reduce delivery time, freight and other transportation costs. These transactions are treated as non-monetary exchanges and are valued at cost.
Land, buildings and equipment, including property under capital lease agreements, are carried at cost less accumulated depreciation. Depreciation is based on the estimated service lives of depreciable assets and is calculated using the straight-line method, unless the asset was capitalized before 1997 when the declining balance method was used. Fully depreciated assets are retained in property and accumulated depreciation accounts until they are removed from service. In the case of disposals, assets and related accumulated depreciation are removed from the accounts, and the net amounts, less proceeds from disposal, are included in income.
Impairment and Disposal of Long-Lived Assets
The Company evaluates long-lived assets and certain identifiable intangible assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. When undiscounted future cash flows are not expected to be sufficient to recover an asset’s carrying amount, the asset is written down to its fair value based on bids received from third parties or a discounted cash flow analysis based on market participant assumptions.
Long-lived assets to be disposed of by sale are classified as held for sale and reported at the lower of carrying amount or fair value less cost to sell, and depreciation is ceased. Long-lived assets to be disposed of other than by sale are classified as held and used until they are disposed of and reported at the lower of carrying amount or fair value, and depreciation is recognized over the remaining useful life of the assets.
Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets
The Company records goodwill when the purchase price of a business acquisition exceeds the estimated fair value of net identified tangible and intangible assets acquired. Goodwill is tested for impairment at the reporting unit level annually, or more frequently when events or changes in circumstances indicate that the fair value of a reporting unit has more likely than not declined below its carrying value. When testing goodwill for impairment, the Company may first assess qualitative factors. If an initial qualitative assessment identifies that it is more likely than not that the carrying value of a reporting unit exceeds its estimated fair value, additional quantitative testing is performed. The Company may also elect to skip the qualitative testing and proceed directly to the quantitative testing. If the quantitative testing indicates that goodwill is impaired, the carrying value of goodwill is written down to fair value. The Company primarily utilizes a discounted cash flow methodology to calculate the fair value of its reporting units. See Note 9 for further information on goodwill.
Finite-lived intangible assets such as purchased customer lists, licenses, intellectual property, patents, trademarks and software, are amortized over their estimated useful lives, generally on a straight-line basis for periods ranging primarily from three to twenty years. Finite-lived intangible assets are reviewed for impairment or obsolescence annually, or more frequently when events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an intangible asset may not be recoverable. If impaired, intangible assets are written down to fair value based on discounted cash flows.
Asset Retirement Obligations
The Company records asset retirement obligations as incurred and reasonably estimable, including obligations for which the timing and/or method of settlement are conditional on a future event that may or may not be within the control of the Company. The fair values of obligations are recorded as liabilities on a discounted basis and are accreted over time for the change in present value. Costs associated with the liabilities are capitalized and amortized over the estimated remaining useful life of the asset, generally for periods of 10 years or less.
Investments in debt and marketable equity securities (including warrants), primarily held by the Company’s insurance operations, are classified as trading, available-for-sale or held-to-maturity. Investments classified as trading are reported at fair value with unrealized gains and losses related to mark-to-market adjustments included in income. Those classified as available-for-sale are reported at fair value with unrealized gains and losses recorded in AOCI. Those classified as held-to-maturity are recorded at amortized cost. The cost of investments sold is determined by FIFO or specific identification. The Company routinely reviews available-for-sale and held-to-maturity securities for other-than-temporary declines in fair value below the cost basis, and when events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying value of an asset may not be recoverable, the security is written down to fair value, establishing a new cost basis.
Sales are recognized when the revenue is realized or realizable, and the earnings process is complete. Approximately
99 percent of the Company’s sales in 2013 related to sales of product (99 percent in 2012 and 99 percent in 2011). The remaining 1 percent in 2013 related to the Company’s service offerings, insurance operations, and licensing of patents and technology (1 percent in 2012 and 1 percent in 2011). Revenue for product sales is recognized as risk and title to the product transfer to the customer, which usually occurs at the time shipment is made. As such, title to the product passes when the product is delivered to the freight carrier. Dow’s standard terms of delivery are included in its contracts of sale, order confirmation documents and invoices. Freight costs and any directly related costs of transporting finished product to customers are recorded as “Cost of sales” in the consolidated statements of income.
Revenue related to the Company’s insurance operations includes third-party insurance premiums, which are earned over the terms of the related insurance policies and reinsurance contracts. Revenue related to the initial licensing of patents and technology is recognized when earned; revenue related to running royalties is recognized according to licensee production levels.
The Company expenses legal costs as incurred. Accruals for legal matters are recorded when it is probable that a liability has been incurred and the amount of the liability can be reasonably estimated.
The Company routinely reviews its operations around the world in an effort to ensure competitiveness across its businesses and geographic areas. When the reviews result in a workforce reduction related to the shutdown of facilities or other optimization activities, severance benefits are provided to employees primarily under Dow’s ongoing benefit arrangements. These severance costs are accrued once management commits to a plan of termination including the number of employees to be terminated, their job classifications or functions, their locations and the expected termination date.
The Company accounts for income taxes using the asset and liability method. Under this method, deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognized for the future tax consequences of temporary differences between the carrying amounts and tax bases of assets and liabilities using enacted tax rates. The effect of a change in tax rates on deferred tax assets or liabilities is recognized in income in the period that includes the enactment date.
Annual tax provisions include amounts considered sufficient to pay assessments that may result from examinations of prior year tax returns; however, the amount ultimately paid upon resolution of issues raised may differ from the amounts accrued.
The Company recognizes the financial statement effects of an uncertain income tax position when it is more likely than not, based on the technical merits, that the position will be sustained upon examination. The Company accrues for other tax contingencies when it is probable that a liability to a taxing authority has been incurred and the amount of the contingency can be reasonably estimated. The current portion of uncertain income tax positions is included in “Income taxes payable” and the long-term portion is included in “Other noncurrent obligations” in the consolidated balance sheets.
Provision is made for taxes on undistributed earnings of foreign subsidiaries and related companies to the extent that such earnings are not deemed to be permanently invested.
Earnings per Common Share
The calculation of earnings per common share is based on the weighted-average number of the Company’s common shares outstanding for the applicable period. The calculation of diluted earnings per common share reflects the effect of all dilutive potential common shares that were outstanding during the respective periods, unless the effect of doing so is antidilutive.