SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
A. Use of Estimates – The preparation of the consolidated financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amount of assets and liabilities, the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
B. Leased Property and Leases – In February of 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-02, Leases ("ASU 2016-02" or "ASC 842"), which amends the existing accounting standards for lease accounting, including requiring lessees to recognize most leases on their balance sheets and making targeted changes to lessor accounting. The Company adopted ASC 842 effective January 1, 2019 using the modified retrospective approach by applying the transition provisions at the beginning of the period of adoption. The adoption of the new standard resulted in the recording of right-of-use assets and lease liabilities of approximately $75 thousand each, included in prepaid expenses and other assets and accounts payable and other accrued liabilities, respectively, as of January 1, 2019. There was no difference between the right-of-use assets and lease liabilities resulting in an adjustment to retained earnings. Refer to Note 3 ("Leased Properties And Leases") for further details of the ASC 842 adoption impact. The standard did not materially impact the Company's Consolidated Statements of Income and had no impact on the Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows. The Company will continue to apply legacy guidance in ASC 840, "Leases," including its disclosure requirements, in the comparative periods presented in the year of adoption.
In adopting ASC 842, the Company elected the package of practical expedients permitted under the transition guidance within the new standard, which among other things, allowed the carry forward of historical lease classification. For the underlying lessee asset class related to single-use office space, the Company also elected the lessee separation and allocation practical expedient to not separate lease and non-lease components and instead to account for each separate lease component and non-lease component as a single lease component. For the underlying lessor asset class related to pipelines residing on military bases, the Company elected the lessor separation and allocation practical expedient to not separate lease and non-lease components and instead to account for each separate lease component and non-lease component as a single lease component if the non-lease components otherwise will be accounted for in accordance with the revenue standard, and both the following criteria are met: (i) the timing and pattern of revenue recognition are the same for the non-lease component(s) and the related lease component and (ii) the lease component will be classified as an operating lease. Additionally, the Company elected the practical expedient related to land easements, allowing the carry forward of accounting treatment for land easements on existing agreements, which are currently accounted for within property, plant and equipment.
The Company's current leased properties are classified as operating leases and are recorded as leased property, net of accumulated depreciation, in the Consolidated Balance Sheets. Initial direct costs incurred in connection with the creation and execution of a lease prior to January 1, 2019 are capitalized and amortized over the lease term. The Company did not reassess initial indirect cost as it elected the package of practical expedients. Subsequent to January 1, 2019, initial direct costs under ASC 842 are incremental costs of a lease that would not have been incurred if the lease had not been obtained and may include commissions or payments made to an existing tenant as an incentive to terminate its lease. Base rent related to the Company's leased property is recognized on a straight-line basis over the term of the lease when collectability is probable. Participating rent is recognized when it is earned, based on the achievement of specified performance criteria. Base and participating rent are recorded as lease revenue in the Consolidated Statements of Income. Rental payments received in advance are classified as unearned revenue and included as a liability within the Consolidated Balance Sheets. Unearned revenue is amortized ratably over the lease period as revenue recognition criteria are met. Rental payments received in arrears are accrued and classified as deferred rent receivable and included in assets within the Consolidated Balance Sheets.
Under the Company's triple-net leases, the tenant is required to pay property taxes and insurance directly to the applicable third-party provider. Consistent with guidance in ASC 842, the Company will present the cost and the lessee's direct payment to the third-party under the triple-net leases on a net basis in the Consolidated Statements of Income.
C. Property and Equipment – Property and equipment are stated at cost less accumulated depreciation. Depreciation is computed using the straight-line method over the estimated useful life of the asset. Expenditures for repairs and maintenance are charged to operations as incurred, and improvements, which extend the useful lives of assets, are capitalized and depreciated over the remaining estimated useful life of the asset. The Company initially records long-lived assets at their purchase price plus any direct acquisition costs, unless the transaction is accounted for as a business combination, in which case the acquisition costs are expensed as incurred. If the transaction is accounted for as a business combination, the Company allocates the purchase price to the acquired tangible and intangible assets and liabilities based on their estimated fair values.
D. Long-Lived Asset Impairment – The Company's long-lived assets consist primarily of a subsea midstream pipeline system, liquids gathering system and natural gas pipelines that have been obtained through asset acquisitions and a business combination. Management continually monitors its business, the business environment and performance of its operations to determine if an event has occurred that indicates that the carrying value of a long-lived asset may be impaired. When a triggering event occurs, which is a determination that involves judgment, management utilizes cash flow projections to assess its ability to recover the carrying value of its assets based on the Company's long-lived assets' ability to generate future cash flows on an undiscounted basis. This differs from the evaluation of goodwill, for which the recoverability assessment utilizes fair value estimates that include discounted cash flows in the estimation process and accordingly any goodwill impairment recognized may not be indicative of a similar impairment of the related underlying long-lived assets.
Management's projected cash flows of long-lived assets are primarily based on contractual cash flows relating to existing leases that extend many years into the future. If those cash flow projections indicate that the long-lived asset's carrying value is not recoverable, management records an impairment charge for the excess of carrying value of the asset over its fair value. The estimate of fair value considers a number of factors, including the potential value that would be received if the asset were sold, discount rates and projected cash flows. Due to the imprecise nature of these projections and assumptions, actual results can differ from management's estimates. There were no impairments of long-lived assets recorded during the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 or 2017.
E. Financing Notes Receivable – Financing notes receivable are presented at face value plus accrued interest receivable and deferred loan origination costs and net of related direct loan origination income. Each quarter the Company reviews its financing notes receivable to determine if the balances are realizable based on factors affecting the collectability of those balances. Factors may include credit quality, timeliness of required periodic payments, past due status and management discussions with obligors. The Company evaluates the collectability of both interest and principal of each of its loans to determine if an allowance is needed. An allowance will be recorded when based on current information and events, the Company determines it is probable that it will be unable to collect all amounts due according to the existing contractual terms. If the Company does determine an allowance is necessary, the amount deemed uncollectable is expensed in the period of determination. An insignificant delay or shortfall in the amount of payments does not necessarily result in the recording of an allowance. Generally, when interest and/or principal payments on a loan become past due, or if the Company does not otherwise expect the borrower to be able to service its debt and other obligations, the Company will place the loan on non-accrual status and will typically cease recognizing financing revenue on that loan until all principal and interest have been brought current. Interest income recognition is resumed if and when the previously reserved-for financing notes become contractually current and performance has been demonstrated. Payments received subsequent to the recording of an allowance will be recorded as a reduction to principal. During the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017, the Company recorded provisions for loan gain of approximately $0, $37 thousand and $0, respectively. The Company's financing notes receivable are discussed more fully in Note 5 ("Financing Notes Receivable").
F. Investment Securities – The Company's investments in securities were classified as other equity securities and represented interests in private companies which the Company elected to report at fair value under the fair value option. These investments were subject to restrictions on resale, have no established trading market and were valued on a quarterly basis. Because of the inherent uncertainty of valuation, the fair values of such investments, which were determined in accordance with procedures approved by the Company's Board of Directors, may differ materially from the values that would have been used had a ready market existed for the investments. The Company determines fair value to be 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. The Company has determined the principal market, or the market in which the Company exits its private portfolio investments with the greatest volume and level of activity, to be the private secondary market. Typically, private companies are bought and sold based on multiples of EBITDA, cash flows, net income, revenues, or in limited cases, book value. For private company investments, value is often realized through a liquidity event. As a result of the sale or disposition of the Company's other equity securities in 2018, the Company no longer holds investments in other equity securities as of December 31, 2019 and 2018.
G. Fair Value Measurements – FASB ASC 820, Fair Value Measurements and Disclosure ("ASC 820"), defines fair value, establishes a framework for measuring fair value and expands disclosures about fair value measurements. Various inputs are used in determining the fair value of the Company's assets and liabilities. These inputs are summarized in the three broad levels listed below:
Level 1 - quoted prices in active markets for identical investments
Level 2 - other significant observable inputs (including quoted prices for similar investments, market corroborated inputs, etc.)
Level 3 - significant unobservable inputs (including the Company's own assumptions in determining the fair value of investments)
See Note 10 ("Fair Value") for further discussion of the Company's fair value measurements.
H. Cash and Cash Equivalents – The Company maintains cash balances at financial institutions in amounts that regularly exceed FDIC insured limits. The Company's cash equivalents are comprised of short-term, liquid money market instruments.
I. Accounts and other receivables – Accounts receivable are presented at face value net of an allowance for doubtful accounts within accounts and other receivables on the balance sheet. Accounts are considered past due based on the terms of sale with the customers. The Company reviews accounts for collectability based on an analysis of specific outstanding receivables, current economic conditions and past collection experience. For the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018, the Company determined that an allowance for doubtful accounts was not necessary.
J. Deferred rent receivables – Lease receivables are determined according to the terms of the lease agreements entered into by the Company and its lessees, as discussed within Note 3 ("Leased Properties And Leases"). Lease receivables primarily represent timing differences between straight-line revenue recognition and contractual lease receipts. As of December 31, 2019, lease payments by the Company's tenants have remained timely and without lapse.
K. Goodwill – Goodwill represents the excess of the amount paid for the MoGas business over the fair value of the net identifiable assets acquired. To comply with ASC 350, Intangibles - Goodwill and Other ("ASC 350"), the Company performs an impairment test for goodwill annually, or more frequently in the event that a triggering event has occurred. December 31st is the Company's annual testing date associated with its MoGas reporting unit.
In January 2017, the FASB issued ASU 2017-04, Simplifying the Test for Goodwill Impairment, which simplifies how an entity is required to test goodwill for impairment by eliminating step two from the goodwill impairment test. Effective January 1, 2017, the Company elected to early adopt this standard.
In accordance with ASC 350, a company may elect to perform a qualitative assessment to determine whether the quantitative impairment test is required. If the company elects to perform a qualitative assessment, the quantitative impairment test is required only if the conclusion is that it is more likely than not that the reporting unit's fair value is less than its carrying amount. If a company bypasses the qualitative assessment, the quantitative goodwill impairment test should be followed in step one.
Step one compares the fair value of the reporting unit to its carrying value to identify and measure any potential impairment. The reporting unit fair value is based upon consideration of various valuation methodologies, one of which is projecting future cash flows discounted at rates commensurate with the risks involved ("Discounted Cash Flow" or "DCF"). Assumptions used in a DCF require the exercise of significant judgment, including judgment about appropriate discount rates and terminal values, growth rates and the amount and timing of expected future cash flows. Forecasted cash flows require management to make judgments and assumptions, including estimates of future volumes and rates. Declines in volumes or rates from those forecasted, or other changes in assumptions, may result in a change in management's estimate and result in an impairment.
For the year ended December 31, 2019 annual impairment test, management proceeded directly to the step one quantitative approach as a result of the MoGas FERC rate case settlement approved in August of 2019. As of the December 31, 2019 testing date, the fair value of the MoGas reporting unit was determined to be greater than its carrying value and no impairment was recorded. The Company elected to perform a qualitative goodwill impairment assessment for the years ended December 31, 2018 and 2017. In performing the qualitative assessment, the Company analyzed the key drivers and other external factors that impact the business in order to determine if any significant events, transactions or other factors had occurred or were expected to occur that would impair earnings or competitiveness, therefore impairing the fair value of the MoGas reporting unit. After assessing the totality of events and circumstances, it was determined that it was not more likely than not that the fair value of the MoGas reporting unit was less than the carrying value, and so it was not necessary to perform the quantitative step one valuation. Key drivers that were considered in the qualitative evaluation of the MoGas reporting unit included: general economic conditions, continued recovery of the energy markets, natural gas pricing, input costs, liquidity and capital resources and customer outlook.
L. Debt Discount and Debt Issuance Costs – Costs incurred for the issuance of new debt are capitalized and amortized into interest expense over the debt term. Issuance costs related to long-term debt are recorded as a direct deduction from the carrying amount of that debt liability, net of accumulated amortization. Issuance costs related to line-of-credit arrangements however, are presented as an asset instead of a direct deduction from the carrying amount of the debt. In accordance with ASC 470, Debt ("ASC 470"), the Company recorded its Convertible Notes at the aggregate principal amount, less discount. The Company is amortizing the debt discount over the life of the Convertible Notes as additional non-cash interest expense utilizing the effective interest method. Refer to Note 11 ("Debt") for additional information.
M. Asset Retirement Obligations – The Company follows ASC 410-20, Asset Retirement Obligations, which requires that an asset retirement obligation ("ARO") associated with the retirement of a long-lived asset be recognized as a liability in the period in which it is incurred and becomes determinable, with an offsetting increase in the carrying amount of the associated asset. The Company recognized an existing ARO in conjunction with the acquisition of the GIGS in June of 2015.
The Company measures changes in the ARO liability due to passage of time by applying an interest method of allocation to the amount of the liability at the beginning of the period. The increase in the carrying amount of the liability is recognized as an expense classified as an operating item in the Consolidated Statements of Income, hereinafter referred to as ARO accretion expense. The Company periodically reassesses the timing and amount of cash flows anticipated associated with the ARO and adjusts the fair value of the liability accordingly under the guidance in ASC 410-20.
The fair value of the obligation at the acquisition date was capitalized as part of the carrying amount of the related long-lived assets and is being depreciated over the asset's remaining useful life. The useful lives of most pipeline gathering systems are primarily derived from available supply resources and ultimate consumption of those resources by end users. Adjustments to the ARO resulting from reassessments of the timing and amount of cash flows will result in changes to the retirement costs capitalized as part of the carrying amount of the asset.
Upon decommissioning of the ARO or a portion thereof, the Company reduces the fair value of the liability and recognizes a (gain) loss on settlement of ARO as an operating item in the Consolidated Statements of Income for the difference between the liability and actual decommissioning costs incurred.
Refer to Note 12 ("Asset Retirement Obligation") for additional information.
N. Revenue Recognition – In May 2014, the FASB issued ASU No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers ("ASU 2014-09" or "ASC 606"), which became effective for all public entities on January 1, 2018. ASC 606 supersedes previously existing revenue recognition standards with a single model unless those contracts are within the scope of other standards (e.g. leases). The model requires an entity to recognize as revenue the amount of consideration to which it expects to be entitled for the transfer of promised goods or services to customers. A substantial portion of the Company's revenue consists of rental income from leasing arrangements, which is specifically excluded from ASC 606. However, the Company's transportation and distribution revenue is within the scope of the new guidance. The Company adopted ASC 606 effective on January 1, 2018 using the modified retrospective method. The Company elected to apply the guidance only to open contracts as of the effective date. The Company recognized the cumulative effect of applying the new standard as an adjustment to the opening balance of stockholders' equity. The comparative information has not been restated and continues to be reported under accounting standards in effect for those periods. Refer to Note 4 ("Transportation And Distribution Revenue") for further discussion of the transition impact and related disclosures under ASC 606.
Specific recognition policies for the Company's revenue items are as follows:
Lease revenue – Refer to Leased Property and Leases for the Company's lease revenue recognition policy.
Transportation and distribution revenue – The Company's contracts related to transportation and distribution revenue are primarily comprised of a mix of natural gas supply, transportation and distribution performance obligations, as well as limited performance obligations related to system maintenance and improvement. Transportation revenues are recognized by MoGas and distribution revenues are recognized by Omega and Omega Gas Marketing, LLC.
Under the Company's natural gas supply, transportation and distribution performance obligations, the customer simultaneously receives and consumes the benefit of the services as natural gas is delivered. Therefore, the transaction price is allocated proportionally over the series of identical performance obligations with each contract. The transaction price is calculated based on (i) index price, plus a contractual markup in the case of natural gas supply agreements (considered variable due to fluctuations in the index), (ii) FERC regulated rates or negotiated rates in the case of transportation agreements and (iii) contracted amounts (with annual CPI escalators) in the case of the Company's distribution agreement. Based on the nature of the agreements, revenue for all but one of the Company's natural gas supply, transportation and distribution performance obligations is recognized on a right to invoice basis as the performance obligations are met, which represents what the Company expects to receive in consideration and is representative of value delivered to the customer. The Company has a contract with one customer, Spire, that has fixed pricing which varies over the contract term. For this specific contract, the transaction price has been allocated ratably over the contractual performance obligation beginning in 2018 with the adoption of ASC 606. All invoicing is done in the month following service, with payment typically due a month from invoice date.
The Company's contracts also contain performance obligations related to system maintenance and improvement, which are completed on an as-needed basis. The work performed is specific and tailored to the customer's needs and there are no alternative uses for the services provided. Therefore, as the work is being completed, control is transferring to the customer. These services are billed at the Company's cost, plus an agreed upon margin, and the Company has an enforceable right to payment as the services are provided. The Company invoices for this service on a monthly basis according to an agreed upon billing schedule. Revenue is recognized on an input method, based on the actual cost of a service as a measure of performance obligations satisfaction, which the Company determined to be the method which faithfully depicts the transfer of services. Differences between the amounts invoiced and revenue recognized under the input method are reflected as an asset or liability on the Consolidated Balance Sheets. Any differences are typically expected to be recognized within a year. As discussed in Note 3 ("Leased Properties And Leases"), the costs of system improvement projects are recognized as a financing arrangement in accordance with guidance in the lease standard while the margin is recognized in accordance with the revenue standard as discussed above.
Beginning February 1, 2016, due to changes that commenced under a new contract with the Department of Defense ("DOD"), gas sales and cost of gas sales are presented on a net basis in the transportation and distribution revenue line. The Company continues to present the gas sales and cost of gas sales on a net basis upon adoption of ASC 606.
Financing revenue – Historically, financing notes receivable have been considered a core product offering and therefore the related income is presented as a component of operating income. For increasing rate loans, base interest income is recorded ratably over the life of the loan, using the effective interest rate. The net amount of deferred loan origination income and costs are amortized on a straight-line basis over the life of the loan and reported as an adjustment to yield in financing revenue. Participating financing revenues are recorded when specific performance criteria have been met.
O. Transportation and distribution expense – Included here are both MoGas' costs of operating and maintaining the natural gas transmission line and Omega's costs of operating and maintaining the natural gas distribution system. These costs are incurred both internally and externally. The internal costs relate to system control, pipeline operations, maintenance, insurance and taxes. Other internal costs include payroll for employees associated with gas control, field employees and management. The external costs consist of professional services such as audit and accounting, legal and regulatory and engineering.
Historically, Omega's amounts paid for gas and propane delivered to customers were presented as cost of sales. Beginning February 1, 2016, under a new contract with the DOD, amounts paid by Omega for gas and propane are netted against sales and are presented in the transportation and distribution revenue line. See paragraph (N) above.
P. Other Income Recognition – Specific policies for the Company's other income items are as follows:
Net distributions and other income from investments – Distributions and dividends from investments are recorded on their ex-dates and are reflected as other income within the accompanying Consolidated Statements of Income. Distributions received from the Company's investments are generally characterized as ordinary income, capital gains and distributions received from investment securities. The portion characterized as return of capital is paid by the Company's investees from their cash flow from operations. The Company records investment income, capital gains and distributions received from investment securities based on estimates made at the time such distributions are received. Such estimates are based on information available from each company and other industry sources. These estimates may subsequently be revised based on information received from the entities after their tax reporting periods are concluded, as the actual character of these distributions is not known until after the fiscal year end of the Company.
Net realized and unrealized gain (loss) from investments – Securities transactions are accounted for on the date the securities are purchased or sold. Realized gains and losses are reported on an identified cost basis. The Company records investment income and return of capital based on estimates made at the time such distributions are received. Such estimates are based on information available from the portfolio company and other industry sources. These estimates may subsequently be revised based on information received from the portfolio company after their tax reporting periods are concluded, as the actual character of these distributions are not known until after the Company's fiscal year end.
Q. Asset Acquisition Expenses – Costs incurred in connection with the research of real property acquisitions not accounted for as business combinations are expensed until it is determined that the acquisition of the real property is probable. Upon such determination, costs incurred in connection with the acquisition of the property are capitalized as described in paragraph (C) above. Deferred costs related to an acquisition that the Company has determined, based on management's judgment, not to pursue are expensed in the period in which such determination is made. Costs incurred in connection with a business combination are expensed as incurred.
R. Offering Costs – Offering costs related to the issuance of common or preferred stock are charged to additional paid-in capital when the stock is issued.
S. Earnings Per Share – Basic earnings per share ("EPS") is computed using the weighted average number of common shares outstanding during the period. Diluted EPS is computed using the weighted average number of common and dilutive common equivalent shares outstanding during the period except for periods of net loss for which no common share equivalents are included because their effect would be anti-dilutive. Dilutive common equivalent shares consist of shares issuable upon conversion of the Convertible Notes calculated using the if-converted method.
T. Federal and State Income Taxation – In 2013 the Company qualified for REIT status, and in March 2014 elected (effective as of January 1, 2013), to be treated as a REIT for federal income tax purposes. Because certain of its assets may not produce REIT-qualifying income or be treated as interests in real property, those assets are held in wholly-owned TRSs in order to limit the potential that such assets and income could prevent the Company from qualifying as a REIT.
As a REIT, the Company holds and operates certain of its assets through one or more wholly-owned TRSs. The Company's use of TRSs enables it to continue to engage in certain businesses while complying with REIT qualification requirements and also allows it to retain income generated by these businesses for reinvestment without the requirement of distributing those earnings. In the future, the Company may elect to reorganize and transfer certain assets or operations from its TRSs to the Company or other subsidiaries, including qualified REIT subsidiaries.
The Company's other equity securities are limited partnerships or limited liability companies which are treated as partnerships for federal and state income tax purposes. As a limited partner, the Company reports its allocable share of taxable income in computing its own taxable income. To the extent held by a TRS, the TRS's tax expense or benefit is included in the Consolidated Statements of Income based on the component of income or gains and losses to which such expense or benefit relates. Deferred income taxes reflect the net tax effects of temporary differences between the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities for financial reporting purposes and the amounts used for income tax purposes. A valuation allowance is recognized if, based on the weight of available evidence, it is more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred income tax asset will not be realized. It is expected that for the year ended December 31, 2019, and future periods, any deferred tax liability or asset generated will be related entirely to the assets and activities of the Company's TRSs.
If the Company ceased to qualify as a REIT, the Company, as a C corporation, would be obligated to pay federal and state income tax on its taxable income.
U. Recent Accounting Pronouncements – In June of 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-13, Financial Instruments - Credit Losses ("ASU 2016-13"), which introduces an approach based on expected losses to estimate credit losses on certain types of financial instruments. The new model, referred to as the current expected credit losses ("CECL model"), will apply to financial assets subject to credit losses and measured at amortized cost, and certain off-balance sheet credit exposures. ASU 2016-13 is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019, including interim periods within those fiscal years. In November of 2019, the FASB issued ASU 2019-10, Financial Instruments - Credit Losses (Topic 326), Derivatives and Hedging (Topic 815), and Leases (Topic 842) Effective Dates, which deferred the effective dates of these standards for certain entities. Based on the guidance for smaller reporting companies, the effective date of ASU 2016-13 is deferred for the Company until fiscal year 2023, and the Company has elected to defer adoption of this standard.
Although the Company has elected to defer adoption of ASU 2016-13, it will continue to evaluate the potential impact of the standard on its consolidated financial statements. As part of its ongoing assessment work, the Company has formed an implementation team, completed training on the CECL model and has begun developing policies, processes and internal controls.