2. Accounting policies

2.1 Use of estimates and management judgment

Preparing the consolidated financial statements under IFRS-EU requires management to take decisions and make estimates and assumptions that may impact the carrying amount of revenue, costs, assets and liabilities and the related disclosures concerning the items involved as well as contingent assets and liabilities at the reporting date. The estimates and management’s judgments are based on previous experience and other factors considered reasonable in the circumstances. They are formulated when the carrying amount of assets and liabilities is not easily determined from other sources. The actual results may therefore differ from these estimates. The estimates and assumptions are periodically revised and the effects of any changes are reflected through profit or loss if they only involve that period. If the revision involves both the current and future periods, the change is recognized in the period in which the revision is made and in the related future periods.

In order to enhance understanding of the consolidated financial statements, the following sections examine the main items affected by the use of estimates and the cases that reflect management judgments to a significant degree, underscoring the main assumptions used by management in measuring these items in compliance with the IFRS-EU. The critical element of such valuations is the use of assumptions and professional judgments concerning issues that are by their very nature uncertain.

Changes in the conditions underlying the assumptions and judgments could have a substantial impact on future results.

In addition, as regards the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the forecasts for future developments in the macroeconomic, financial and business environment in which the Group operates are characterized by a high degree of uncertainty, which is reflected in the assessments and the estimates produced by management regarding the carrying amounts of the assets and liabilities affected by greater volatility. In this regard, the following sections provide specific information on the estimates and judgments used in the areas of the financial statements most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, drawing on the information available at December 31, 2020 and considering the constantly evolving scenario. Please see note 9.a “Revenue from sales and services”, note 17 “Property, plant and equipment”, note 22 “Goodwill”, note 37 “Employee benefits” and note 44 “Financial instruments by category” for the main impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With regard to the effects of climate change issues, the Group believes that climate change represents an implicit element in the application of the methodologies and models used to perform estimates in the valuation and/or measurement of certain accounting items. Furthermore, the Group has taken account of the impact of climate change in the significant judgments made by management. In this regard, the main items included in the consolidated financial statements at December 31, 2020 affected by management’s use of estimates and judgments refer to the impairment of non-financial assets and obligations connected with generation plants, including those for decommissioning and site restoration. For further details on these items, see note 17 “Property, plant and equipment”, note 22 “Goodwill” and note 38 “Provisions for risks and charges”.

Use of estimates

Revenue from contracts with customers

Revenue from supply of electricity and gas to end users is recognized at the time the electricity or gas is delivered and includes, in addition to amounts invoiced on the basis of periodic (and pertaining to the year) meter readings or on the volumes notified by distributors and transporters, an estimate of the electricity and gas delivered during the period but not yet invoiced that is equal to the difference between the amount of electricity and gas delivered to the distribution network and that invoiced in the period, taking account of any network losses. Revenue between the date of the last meter reading and the year-end is based on estimates of the daily consumption of individual customers, primarily determined on their historical information, adjusted to reflect the climate factors or other matters that may affect the estimated consumption.

For more details on such revenue, see note 9.a “Revenue from sales and services”.

Impairment of non-financial assets

When the carrying amount of property, plant and equipment, investment property, intangible assets, right-of-use assets, goodwill and investments in associates/joint ventures exceeds its recoverable amount, which is the higher of the fair value less costs to sell and the value in use, the assets are impaired.

Such impairments are carried out in accordance with the provisions of IAS 36, as described in greater detail in note 22 “Goodwill”.

In order to determine the recoverable amount, the Group generally adopts the value in use criterion. Value in use is based on the estimated future cash flows generated by the asset, discounted to their present value using a pre-tax discount rate that reflects the current market assessment of the time value of money and of the specific risks of the asset.

Future cash flows used to determine value in use are based on the most recent business plan, approved by the management, containing forecasts for volumes, revenue, operating costs and investments. These projections cover the next three years. For subsequent years, account is taken of:

  • assumptions concerning the long-term evolution of the main variables considered in the calculation of cash flows, as well as the average residual useful life of the assets or the duration of the concessions, based on the specific characteristics of the businesses;
  • a long-term growth rate equal to the long-term growth of electricity demand and/or inflation (depending on the country and business) that does not in any case exceed the average long-term growth rate of the market involved.

The recoverable amount is sensitive to the estimates and assumptions used in the calculation of cash flows and the discount rates applied. Nevertheless, possible changes in the underlying assumptions on which the calculation of such amounts is based could generate different recoverable amounts. The analysis of each group of non-financial assets is unique and requires management to use estimates and assumptions considered prudent and reasonable in the specific circumstances.

In the current scenario, the analysis of impairment indicators has become even more important as an attempt was also made to assess whether the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could reduce the carrying amount of certain non-financial assets as at December 31, 2020. For this reason, the Group has carefully considered the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in determining the existence of impairment indicators for non-financial assets.

Furthermore, in line with its business model and in the context of the acceleration of the decarbonization of the generation mix and driving the energy transition process, the Group has also carefully assessed whether climate change issues have affected the reasonable and supportable assumption used to estimated expected cash flows. In this regard, where necessary, the Group has also taken account of the long-term impact of climate change, in particular by considering in the estimation of the terminal value a long-term growth rate in line with the change in electricity demand in 2030-2050 based on the specific characteristics of the businesses involved.

Information on the main assumptions used to estimate the recoverable amount of assets with reference to the impacts relating to the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change, as well as information on changes in these assumptions, is provided in note 22 “Goodwill”.

Expected credit losses on financial assets

At the end of each reporting period, the Group recognizes a loss allowance for expected credit losses on trade receivables and other financial assets measured at amortized cost, debt instruments measured at fair value through other comprehensive income, contract assets and all other assets in scope.

Loss allowances for financial assets are based on assumptions about risk of default and on the measurement of expected credit losses. Management uses judgment in making these assumptions and selecting the inputs for the impairment calculation, based on the Group’s past experience, current market conditions as well as forward-looking estimates at the end of each reporting period.

The expected credit loss (i.e. ECL) – determined considering probability of default (PD), loss given default (LGD), and exposure at default (EAD) – is the difference between all contractual cash flows that are due in accordance with the contract and all cash flows that are expected to be received (including all shortfalls) discounted at the original effective interest rate (EIR).

In particular, for trade receivables, contract assets and lease receivables, including those with a significant financial component, the Group applies the simplified approach, determining expected credit losses over a period corresponding to the residual life of the asset, generally equal to 12 months.

Based on the specific reference market and the regulatory context of the sector, as well as expectations of recovery after 90 days, for such assets, the Group mainly applies a default definition of 180 days past due to determine expected credit losses, as this is considered an effective indication of a significant increase in credit risk. Accordingly, financial assets that are more than 90 days past due are generally not considered to be in default, except for some specific regulated markets.

For trade receivables and contract assets the Group mainly applies a collective approach based on grouping trade receivables/contract assets into specific clusters, taking into account the specific regulatory and business context. Only if the trade receivables are deemed to be individually significant by management and there is specific information about any significant increase in credit risk, does the Group apply an analytical approach.

In case of individual assessment, PD is mainly obtained from an external provider.

Conversely, for collective assessment, trade receivables are grouped based on shared credit risk characteristics and past due information, considering a specific definition of default.

Based on each business and local regulatory framework as well as differences in customer portfolios also in terms of risk, default rates and recovery expectations, specific clusters are defined.

The contract assets are considered to have substantially the same risk characteristics as the trade receivables for the same types of contracts.

In order to measure the ECL for trade receivables on a collective basis, as well as for contract assets, the Group considers the following assumptions related to ECL parameters:

  • PD, assumed as to be the average default rate, is calculated on a cluster basis and taking into consideration minimum 24 month historical data;
  • LGD is function of the default bucket’s recovery rates, discounted at the EIR; and
  • EAD is estimated as the carrying exposure at the reporting date net of cash deposits, including invoices issued but not expired and invoices to be issued.

Based on specific management evaluations, the forward-looking adjustment can be applied considering qualitative and quantitative information in order to reflect possible future events and macroeconomic scenarios, which may affect the risk of the portfolio or the financial instrument.

In order to take account of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the impairment of trade receivables, specific adjustments were made to the results of the impairment model adopted by the Group based on IFRS 9 (so-called “post-model adjustments”), determined mainly on the basis of an expert credit judgment based on the deterioration in the collection status of certain customer segments.

For additional details on the key assumptions and inputs used please refer to note 44 “Financial instruments by category”.

Depreciable amount of certain elements of Italian hydroelectric plants subsequent to enactment of Law 134/2012

Law 134 of August 7, 2012 containing “urgent measures for growth” (published in the Gazzetta Ufficiale of August 11, 2012), introduced a sweeping overhaul of the rules governing hydroelectric concessions. Among its various provisions, the law establishes that five years before the expiration of a major hydroelectric water diversion concession and in cases of lapse, relinquishment or revocation, where there is no prevailing public interest for a different use of the water, incompatible with its use for hydroelectric generation, the competent public entity shall organize a public call for tenders for the award for consideration of the concession for a period ranging from 20 to a maximum of 30 years.

In order to ensure operational continuity, the law also governs the methods of transferring ownership of the business unit necessary to operate the concession, including all legal relationships relating to the concession, from the outgoing concession holder to the new concession holder, in exchange for payment of a price to be determined in negotiations between the departing concession holder and the grantor agency, taking due account of the following elements:

  • for intake and governing works, penstocks and outflow channels, which under the consolidated law governing waters and electrical plants are to be relinquished free of charge (Article 25 of Royal Decree 1775 of December 11, 1933), the revalued cost less government capital grants, also revalued, received by the concession holder for the construction of such works, depreciated for ordinary wear and tear;
  • for other property, plant and equipment, the market value, meaning replacement value, reduced by estimated depreciation for ordinary wear and tear.

While acknowledging that the new regulations introduce important changes as to the transfer of ownership of the business unit with regard to the operation of the hydroelectric concession, the practical application of these principles faces difficulties, given the uncertainties that do not permit the formulation of a reliable estimate of the value that can be recovered at the end of existing concessions (residual value).

Accordingly, management has decided it could not produce a reasonable and reliable estimate of residual value.

The fact that the legislation requires the new concession holder to make a payment to the departing concession holder prompted management to review the depreciation schedules for assets classified as to be relinquished free of charge prior to Law 134/2012 (until the year ended on December 31, 2011, given that the assets were to be relinquished free of charge, the depreciation period was equal to the closest date between the term of the concession and the end of the useful life of the individual asset), calculating depreciation no longer over the term of the concession but, if longer, over the useful l life of the individual assets. If additional information becomes available to enable the calculation of residual value, the carrying amounts of the assets involved will be adjusted prospectively.

Determining the fair value of financial instruments

The fair value of financial instruments is determined on the basis of prices directly observable in the market, where available, or, for unlisted financial instruments, using specific valuation techniques (mainly based on present value) that maximize the use of observable market inputs. In rare circumstances where this is not possible, the inputs are estimated by management taking due account of the characteristics of the instruments being measured.

For more information on financial instruments measured at fair value, please see note 48 “Assets and liabilities measured at fair value”.

In accordance with IFRS 13, the Group includes a measurement of credit risk, both of the counterparty (Credit Valuation Adjustment or CVA) and its own (Debit Valuation Adjustment or DVA), in order to adjust the fair value of financial instruments for the corresponding amount of counterparty risk, using the method discussed in note 48.

Changes in the assumptions made in estimating the input data could have an impact on the fair value recognized for those instruments, especially in current conditions where markets are volatile and the economic outlook is highly uncertain and subject to rapid change.

Development expenditure

In order to determine the recoverability of development expenditure, the recoverable amount is estimated making assumptions regarding any further cash outflow that is expected to be incurred before the asset is ready for use or sale, the discount rates to be applied and the expected period of benefits.

Pensions and other post-employment benefits

Some of the Group’s employees participate in pension plans offering benefits based on their wage history and years of service. Certain employees are also eligible for other post-employment benefit schemes.

The expenses and liabilities of such plans are calculated on the basis of estimates carried out by consulting actuaries, who use a combination of statistical and actuarial elements in their calculations, including statistical data on past years and forecasts of future costs. Other components of the estimation that are considered include mortality and retirement rates as well as assumptions concerning future developments in discount rates, the rate of wage increases, the inflation rate and trends in healthcare cost.

These estimates can differ significantly from actual developments owing to changes in economic and market conditions, increases or decreases in retirement rates and the lifespan of participants, as well as changes in the effective cost of healthcare.

Such differences can have a substantial impact on the quantification of pension costs and other related expenses.

With regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Group has carefully analyzed the possible impacts of the economic crisis generated by the emergency on the actuarial assumptions used in the measurement of the actuarial liabilities and assets serving the plans.

For more details on the main actuarial assumptions adopted, please see note 37.

Provisions for risks and charges

For more details on provisions for risks and charges, please see note 38 “Provisions for risks and charges”.

Note 53 “Contingent assets and liabilities” also provides information regarding the most significant contingent liabilities for the Group.

Litigation

The Group is involved in various civil, administrative and tax disputes connected with the normal pursuit of its activities that could give rise to significant liabilities. It is not always objectively possible to predict the outcome of these disputes. The assessment of the risks associated with this litigation is based on complex factors whose very nature requires recourse to management judgments, even when taking account of the contribution of external advisors assisting the Group, about whether to classify them as contingent liabilities or liabilities.

Provisions have been recognized to cover all significant liabilities for cases in which legal counsel feels an adverse outcome is likely and a reasonable estimate of the amount of the expense can be made.

Obligations associated with generation plants, including decommissioning and site restoration

Generation activities may entail obligations for the operator with regard to future interventions that will have to be performed following the end of the operating life of the plant.

Such interventions may involve the decommissioning of plants and site restoration, or other obligations linked to the type of generation technology involved. The nature of such obligations may also have a major impact on the accounting treatment used for them.

In the case of nuclear power plants, where the costs regard both decommissioning and the storage of waste fuel and other radioactive materials, the estimation of the future cost is a critical process, given that the costs will be incurred over a very long span of time, estimated at up to 100 years.

The obligation, based on financial and engineering assumptions, is calculated by discounting the expected future cash flows that the Group considers it will have to pay to meet the obligations it has assumed.

The discount rate used to determine the present value of the liability is the pre-tax risk-free rate and is based on the economic parameters of the country in which the plant is located.

That liability is quantified by management on the basis of the technology existing at the measurement date and is reviewed each year, taking account of developments in storage, decommissioning and site restoration technology, as well as the ongoing evolution of the legislative framework governing health and environmental protection.

Subsequently, the value of the obligation is adjusted to reflect the passage of time and any changes in estimates.

Onerous contracts

In order to identify an onerous contract, the Group estimates the non-discretionary costs necessary to fulfil the obligations assumed (including any penalties) under the contract and the economic benefits that are presumed to be obtained from the contract.

Leases

When the interest rate implicit in the lease cannot be readily determined, the Group uses the incremental borrowing rate (IBR) at the lease commencement date to calculate the present value of the lease payments. This is the interest rate that the lessee would have to pay to borrow over a similar term, and with a similar security, the funds necessary to obtain an asset of a similar value to the rightofuse asset in a similar economic environment. When no observable inputs are available, the Group estimates the IBR making assumptions to reflect the terms and conditions of the lease and certain lessee-specific estimates.

One of the most significant judgments for the Group in adopting IFRS 16 is determining this IBR necessary to calculate the present value of the lease payments required to be paid to the lessor. The Group approach to determine an IBR is based on the assessment of the following three key components:

  • the risk free rate, that consider the currency flows of the lease payments, the economic environment where the lease contract has been negotiated and also the lease term;
  • the credit spread adjustment, in order to calculate an IBR that is specific for the lessee considering any underlying Parent or other guarantee;
  • the lease related adjustments, in order to reflect into the IBR calculation the fact that the discount rate is directly linked to the type of the underlying asset, rather than being a general incremental borrowing rate. In particular, the risk of default is mitigated for the lessors as they have the right to reclaim the underlying asset itself.

For more information on lease liabilities, please see note 44 “Financial instruments by category”.

Income tax

Recovery of deferred tax assets

At December 31, 2020, the consolidated financial statements report deferred tax assets in respect of tax losses or tax credits usable in subsequent years and income components whose deductibility is deferred in an amount whose future recovery is considered by management to be highly probable.

The recoverability of such assets is subject to the achievement of future profits sufficient to absorb such tax losses and to use the benefits of the other deferred tax assets.

Significant management judgment is required to assess the probability of recovering deferred tax assets, considering all negative and positive evidence, and to determine the amount that can be recognized, based upon the likely timing and the level of future taxable profits together with future tax planning strategies and the tax rates applicable at the date of reversal. However, where the Group should become aware that it is unable to recover all or part of recognized tax assets in future years, the consequent adjustment would be taken to profit or loss in the year in which this circumstance arises.

The recoverability of deferred tax assets is reviewed at the end of each period. Deferred tax assets not recognized are reassessed at each reporting date in order to verify the conditions for their recognition.

Where required, the Group monitored the recovery times of deferred tax assets as well as those relating to the reversal of deductible temporary differences, if any, as a result of the greater uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more detail in deferred tax assets recognized or not recognized, please see note 23.

Management judgment

Identification of cash generating units (CGUs)

For impairment testing, if the recoverable amount cannot be determined for an individual asset, the Group identifies the smallest group of assets that generate largely independent cash inflows. The smallest group of assets that generates cash inflows that are largely independent of the cash inflows from other assets or group of assets is a CGU.

Identifying such CGUs involves management judgments regarding the specific nature of the assets and the business involved (geographical segment, business segment, regulatory framework, etc.) and the evidence that the cash inflows of the group of assets are closely interdependent and largely independent of those associated with other assets (or groups of assets).

The assets of each CGU are also identified on the basis of the manner in which management manages and monitors those assets within the business model adopted.

The number and scope of the CGUs are updated systematically to reflect the impact of new business combinations and reorganizations carried out by the Group, and to take account of external factors that could influence the ability of assets to generate independent cash inflows.

In particular, if certain specific identified assets owned by the Group are impacted by adverse economic or operating conditions that undermine their capacity to contribute to the generation of cash flows, they can be isolated from the rest of the assets of the CGU, undergo separate analysis of their recoverability and be impaired where necessary.

The CGUs identified by management to which the goodwill recognized in these consolidated financial statements has been allocated and the criteria used to identify the CGUs are indicated in note 22 “Goodwill”.

Determination of the existence of control

Under the provisions of IFRS 10, control is achieved when the Group is exposed, or has rights, to variable returns from its involvement with the investee and has the ability to affect those returns through its power over the investee. Power is defined as the current ability to direct the relevant activities of the investee based on existing substantive rights.

The existence of control does not depend solely on ownership of a majority investment, but rather it arises from substantive rights that each investor holds over the investee. Consequently, management must use its judgment in assessing whether specific situations determine substantive rights that give the Group the power to direct the relevant activities of the investee in order to affect its returns.

For the purpose of assessing control, management analyzes all facts and circumstances including any agreements with other investors, rights arising from other contractual arrangements and potential voting rights (call options, warrants, put options granted to non-controlling shareholders, etc.). These other facts and circumstances could be especially significant in such assessment when the Group holds less than a majority of voting rights, or similar rights, in the investee.

Following such analysis of the existence of control, in application of IFRS 10 the Group consolidated certain companies (Emgesa and Codensa) on a line-by-line basis even though it did not hold more than half of the voting rights, determining that the requirements for de facto control existed.

Furthermore, even if it holds more than half of the voting rights in another entity, the Group considers all the relevant facts and circumstances in assessing whether it controls the investee.

The Group reassesses whether or not it controls an investee if facts and circumstances indicate that there are changes to one or more of the elements considered in verifying the existence of control.

Determination of the existence of joint control and of the type of joint arrangement

Under the provisions of IFRS 11, a joint arrangement is an agreement where two or more parties have joint control. Joint control exists only when the decisions over the relevant activities require the unanimous consent of all the parties that share joint control.

A joint arrangement can be configured as a joint venture or a joint operation. Joint ventures are joint arrangements whereby the parties that have joint control have rights to the net assets of the arrangement. Conversely, joint operations are joint arrangements whereby the parties that have joint control have rights to the assets and obligations for the liabilities relating to the arrangement.

In order to determine the existence of the joint control and the type of joint arrangement, management must apply judgment and assess its rights and obligations arising from the arrangement. For this purpose, the management considers the structure and legal form of the arrangement, the terms agreed by the parties in the contractual arrangement and, when relevant, other facts and circumstances.

Following that analysis, the Group has considered its interest in Asociación Nuclear Ascó-Vandellós II as a joint operation.

The Group re-assesses whether or not it has joint control if facts and circumstances indicate that changes have occurred in one or more of the elements considered in verifying the existence of joint control and the type of the joint arrangement.

For more information on the Group’s investments in joint ventures, please see note 24 “Equity-accounted investments”.

Determination of the existence of significant influence over an associate

Associates are those in which the Group exercises significant influence, i.e. the power to participate in the financial and operating policy decisions of the investee but not exercise control or joint control over those policies. In general, it is presumed that the Group has a significant influence when it has an ownership interest of 20% or more.

In order to determine the existence of significant influence, management must apply judgment and consider all facts and circumstances.

The Group re-assesses whether or not it has significant influence if facts and circumstances indicate that there are changes to one or more of the elements considered in verifying the existence of significant influence.

For more information on the Group’s equity investments in associates, please see note 24 “Equity-accounted investments”.

Application of “IFRIC 12 - Service concession arrangements” to concessions

IFRIC 12 applies to “public-to-private” service concession arrangements, which can be defined as contracts under which the operator is obligated to provide public services, i.e. give access to major economic and social services for a certain period of time, on behalf of a public entity (the grantor). In these contracts, the grantor conveys to an operator the right to manage the infrastructure used to provide services.

More specifically, IFRIC 12 gives guidance on the accounting by operators for “public-to-private” service concession arrangements in the event that:

  • the grantor controls or regulates what services the operator must provide with the infrastructure, to whom it must provide them, and at what price; and
  • the grantor controls – through ownership, beneficial entitlement or otherwise – any significant residual interest in the infrastructure at the end of the term of the arrangement.

In assessing the applicability of these requirements for the Group, as operator, management carefully analyzed existing concessions.

On the basis of that analysis, the provisions of IFRIC 12 are applicable to some of the infrastructure of a number of companies that operate in Brazil.

Further details about the infrastructure used in the service concession arrangements in the scope of IFRIC 12 are provided in note 18.

Revenue from contracts with customers

In the process of applying IFRS 15, the Group has made the following judgments (further details about the most significant effect on the Group’s revenue are provided in note 9.a “Revenue from sales and services”).

Furthermore, during the year, the Group carefully monitored the effects of the uncertainties linked to the COVID-19 pandemic on the recognition of its revenue, in particular as regards the main areas affected by significant judgments.

Identification of the contract

The Group carefully analyzes the contractual terms and conditions on a jurisdictional level in order to determine when a contract exists and the terms of that contract’s enforceability so as to apply IFRS 15 only to such contracts.

Identification and satisfaction of performance obligations

When a contract includes multiple promised goods or services, in order to assess if they should be accounted for separately or as a group, the Group considers both the individual characteristics of goods/services and the nature of the promise within the context of the contract, also evaluating all the facts and circumstances relating to the specific contract under the relevant legal and regulatory framework.

To evaluate when a performance obligation is satisfied, the Group evaluates when the control of the goods or services is transferred to the customer, assessed primarily from the perspective of the customer.

Determination of the transaction price

The Group considers all relevant facts and circumstances in determining whether a contract includes variable consideration (i.e., consideration that may vary or depends upon the occurrence or non-occurrence of a future event). In estimating variable consideration, the Group uses the method that better predicts the consideration to which it will be entitled, applying it consistently throughout the contract and for similar contracts, also considering all available information, and updating such estimates until the uncertainly is resolved. The Group includes the estimated variable consideration in the transaction price only to the extent that it is highly probable that a significant reversal in the cumulative revenue recognized will not occur when the uncertainty is resolved.

Principal versus agent assessment

The Group considers that it is an agent in some contracts in which it is not primarily responsible for fulfilling the contract and therefore it does not control goods or services before they are being transferred to customers. For example, the Group acts as an agent in some contracts for electricity/gas network connection services and other related activities depending on local legal and regulatory framework.

Allocation of transaction price

For contracts that have more than one performance obligation (e.g., “bundled” sale contracts), the Group generally allocates the transaction price to each performance obligation in proportion to its stand-alone selling price. The Group determines stand-alone selling prices considering all information and using observable prices when they are available in the market or, if not, using an estimation method that maximizes the use of observable inputs and applying it consistently to similar arrangements.

If the Group evaluates that a contract includes an option for additional goods or services (e.g., customer loyalty programs or renewal options) that represents a material right, it allocates the transaction price to this option since the option gives rise to an additional performance obligation.

Contract costs

The Group assesses recoverability of the incremental costs of obtaining a contract either on a contract-by-contract basis, or for a group of contracts if those costs are associated with the group of contracts.

The Group supports the recoverability of such costs on the basis of its experience with other similar transactions and evaluating various factors, including potential renewals, amendments and follow-on contracts with the same customer.

The Group amortizes such costs over the average customer term. In order to determine this expected period of benefit from the contract, the Group considers its past experience (e.g., “churn rate”), the predictive evidence from similar contracts and available information about the market.

Classification and measurement of financial assets

At initial recognition, in order to classify financial assets as financial assets at amortized cost, at fair value through other comprehensive income and at fair value through profit or loss, management assesses both the contractual cash-flow characteristics of the instrument and the business model for managing financial assets in order to generate cash flows.

For the purpose of evaluating the contractual cash-flow characteristics of the instrument, management performs the SPPI test at an instrument level, in order to determine if it gives rise to cash flows that are solely payments of principal and interest (SPPI) on the principal amount outstanding, performing specific assessment on the contractual clauses of the financial instruments, as well as quantitative analysis, if required.

The business model determines whether cash flows will result from collecting contractual cash flows, selling the financial assets, or both.

For more details, please see note 44 “Financial instruments by category”.

Hedge accounting

Hedge accounting is applied to derivatives in order to reflect into the financial statements the effect of risk management strategies.

Accordingly, at the inception of the transaction the Group documents the hedge relationship between hedging instruments and hedged items, as well as its risk management objectives and strategy. The Group also assesses, both at hedge inception and on an ongoing basis, whether hedging instruments are highly effective in offsetting changes in the fair values or cash flows of hedged items.

On the basis of management’s judgment, the effectiveness assessment based on the existence of an economic relationship between the hedging instruments and the hedged items, the dominance of credit risk in the changes in fair value and the hedge ratio, as well as the measurement of the ineffectiveness, is evaluated through a qualitative assessment or a quantitative computation, depending on the specific facts and circumstances and on the characteristics of the hedged items and the hedging instruments.

For cash flow hedges of forecast transactions designated as hedged items, management assesses and documents that they are highly probable and present an exposure to changes in cash flows that affect profit or loss.

Furthermore, during the year, the Group carefully monitored the possible effects of the uncertainties linked to the COVID-19 pandemic on its hedging relationships.

For additional details on the key assumptions about effectiveness assessment and ineffectiveness measurement, please refer to note 47.1 “Derivatives and hedge accounting”.

Leases

The complexity of the assessment of the lease contracts, and also their long-term expiring date, requires considerable professional judgments for application of IFRS 16. In particular, this regards:

  • the application of the definition of a lease to the cases typical of the sectors in which the Group operates;
  • the identification of the non-lease component into the lease arrangements;
  • the evaluation of any renewable and termination options included in the lease in order to determine the term of leases, also considering the probability of their exercise and any significant leasehold improvements on the underlying asset, taking due consideration of recent interpretations issued by the IFRS Interpretations Committee;
  • the identification of any variable lease payments that depend on an index or a rate to determine whether the changes of the latter impact the future lease payments and also the amount of the right-of-use asset;
  • the estimate of the discount rate to calculate the present value of the lease payments; further details on assumptions about this rate are provided in the paragraph “Use of estimates”.

For more information on leases, please see note 19 “Leases”.

Uncertainty over income tax treatments

The Group determines whether to consider each uncertain income tax treatment separately or together with one or more other uncertain tax treatments as well as whether to reflect the effect of uncertainty by using the most likely amount or the expected value method, based on which approach better predicts the resolution of the uncertainty for each uncertain tax treatments, taking account of local tax regulations.

The Group makes significant use of professional judgment in identifying uncertainties about income tax treatments and reviews the judgments and estimates made in the event of a change in facts and circumstances that could change its assessment of the acceptability of a specific tax treatment or the estimate of the effects of uncertainty, or both.

For more information on income taxes, please see note 15 “Income taxes.