SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
Valvoline’s significant accounting policies, which conform to U.S. GAAP and are applied on a consistent basis in all years presented, except when otherwise disclosed, are described below.
Use of estimates, risks and uncertainties
The preparation of the consolidated financial statements in conformity with U.S. GAAP requires management to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses, and the disclosures of contingent matters. Significant items that are subject to such estimates and assumptions include, but are not limited to, long-lived assets (including intangible assets and goodwill), customer incentives, employee benefit obligations and income taxes. Although management bases its estimates on historical experience and various other assumptions that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances, actual results could differ significantly from the estimates under different assumptions or conditions.
Cash and cash equivalents
All short-term, highly liquid investments having original maturities of three months or less are considered to be cash equivalents.
Accounts receivable and allowance for doubtful accounts
Valvoline records an allowance for doubtful accounts as a best estimate of the amount of probable credit losses for accounts receivable. Valvoline estimates the allowance for doubtful accounts based on a variety of factors, including the length of time receivables are past due, the financial health of its customers, macroeconomic conditions, past transaction history with the customer and changes in customer payment terms. If the financial condition of its customers deteriorates or other circumstances occur that result in an impairment of customers’ ability to make payments, the Company records additional allowances as needed. The Company writes off uncollectible accounts receivable against the allowance for doubtful accounts when collection efforts have been exhausted and/or any legal action taken by the Company has concluded.
Inventories are primarily carried at the lower of cost or net realizable value using the weighted average cost method. In addition, certain lubricants are valued at the lower of cost or market using the last-in, first-out (“LIFO”) method to provide matching of revenues with current costs. Cost includes materials, labor and manufacturing overhead related to the purchase and production of inventories. The Company regularly reviews inventory quantities on hand and the estimated utility of inventory. Excess and obsolete reserves are established when inventory is estimated to not be usable based on forecasted usage, product demand and life cycle, as well as utility.
Property, plant and equipment
Property, plant and equipment is recorded at cost and is depreciated using the straight-line method over the estimated useful lives of the assets. Buildings are depreciated principally over 5 to 25 years and machinery and equipment principally over 5 to 30 years. Property, plant and equipment is relieved of the cost and related accumulated depreciation when assets are disposed of or otherwise retired. Gains or losses on the dispositions of property, plant and equipment are included in the Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income and generally reported in Equity and other income, net. Property, plant and equipment carrying values are evaluated for recoverability when impairment indicators are present and are conducted at the lowest identifiable level of cash flows. Such indicators could include, among other factors, operating losses, unused capacity, market value declines and technological obsolescence. Recorded values of asset groups of property, plant and equipment that are not expected to be recovered through undiscounted future net cash flows are written down to current fair value, which generally is determined from estimated discounted future net cash flows (assets held for use) or net realizable value (assets held for sale).
The financial results of the businesses that Valvoline has acquired are included in the Company’s consolidated financial results from the respective dates of the acquisitions. The Company allocates the purchase consideration to the identifiable assets acquired and liabilities assumed in the business combination based on their acquisition-date fair values. The excess of the purchase consideration over the amounts assigned to the identifiable assets and liabilities is recognized as goodwill. Factors giving rise to goodwill generally include synergies that are anticipated as a result of the business combination, including access to new customers and markets. The fair values of identifiable intangible assets acquired in business combinations are generally determined using an income approach, requiring financial forecasts and estimates as well as market participant assumptions.
Goodwill and other intangible assets
Valvoline tests goodwill for impairment annually as of July 1 or when events and circumstances indicate an impairment may have occurred. This annual assessment consists of Valvoline determining each reporting unit’s current fair value compared to its current carrying value. Valvoline’s reporting units are Core North America, Quick Lubes, and International.
In evaluating goodwill for impairment, Valvoline has the option to first perform a qualitative assessment to determine whether further impairment testing is necessary or to perform a quantitative assessment by comparing the fair value of a reporting unit to its carrying amount, including goodwill. Under the qualitative assessment, an entity is not required to calculate the fair value of a reporting unit unless the entity determines that it is more likely than not that its fair value is less than its carrying amount. Qualitative factors include macroeconomic conditions, industry and market conditions, cost factors, and overall financial performance, among others.
If under the quantitative assessment, the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying amount, then the amount of the impairment loss, if any, must be measured under step two of the impairment analysis. In step two of the analysis, an impairment loss will be recorded equal to the excess of the carrying value of the reporting unit’s goodwill over its implied fair value. Fair values of the reporting units are estimated using a weighted methodology considering the output from both the income and market approaches. The income approach incorporates the use of a discounted cash flow (“DCF”) analysis. A number of significant assumptions and estimates are involved in the application of the DCF model to forecast operating cash flows, including markets and market shares, sales volumes and prices, costs to produce, tax rates, capital spending, discount rate, weighted average cost of capital, terminal values and working capital changes. Several of these assumptions vary among reporting units. The cash flow forecasts are generally based on approved strategic operating plans. The market approach is performed using the Guideline Public Companies method which is based on earnings multiple data. The Company also performs a reconciliation between market capitalization and the estimate of the aggregate fair value of the reporting units, including consideration of a control premium.
Valvoline elected to perform a qualitative assessment during fiscal 2018 and determined that it is not more likely than not that the fair values of Valvoline’s reporting units are less than carrying amounts.
Acquired finite-lived intangible assets principally consist of certain trademarks and trade names, reacquired franchise rights and customer relationships. Intangible assets acquired in an asset acquisition are carried at cost, less accumulated amortization. For intangible assets acquired in a business combination, the estimated fair values of the assets acquired are used to establish the carrying value, which is determined generally using an income approach, and the Company employs assumptions developed using the perspective of a market participant. These intangible assets are amortized on a straight-line basis over their estimated useful lives. Valvoline reviews finite-lived intangible assets for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable and any not expected to be recovered through undiscounted future net cash flows and assets are written down to current fair value.
Equity method investments
Investments in companies, including joint ventures, where Valvoline has the ability to exert significant influence, but not control, over operating and financial policies of the investee are accounted for using the equity method of accounting. Judgment regarding the level of influence over each investment includes considering key factors such as the Company’s ownership interest, representation on the board of directors, and participation in policy-making decisions. The Company’s proportionate share of the net income or loss of these companies is included within Equity and other income, net in the Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income.
The Company evaluates equity method investments for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of the investment might not be recoverable. Factors considered by the Company when reviewing an equity method investment for impairment include the length of time and extent to which the fair value of the equity method investment has been less than cost, the investee’s financial condition and near-term prospects, and the intent and ability to hold the investment for a period of time sufficient to allow for anticipated recovery. An impairment that is other-than-temporary is recognized in the period identified.
Pension and other postretirement benefit plans
Valvoline sponsors defined benefit pension and other postretirement plans in the U.S and in certain countries outside the U.S. The majority of these plans were transferred to and assumed by the Company in the Contribution of certain of Ashland’s pension and other postretirement benefit obligations and plan assets in late fiscal 2016. Following the Contribution, Valvoline accounts for these obligations as single-employer plans for which Valvoline recognizes the net liabilities and the full amount of any costs or gains. Valvoline also has certain international single-employer pension plans for which the net liabilities and associated costs have been recognized in each period presented herein.
Valvoline recognizes the funded status of each applicable plan on the Consolidated Balance Sheets whereby each underfunded plan is recognized as a liability. The funded status is measured as the difference between the fair value of plan assets and the benefit obligation. Changes in the fair value of plan assets and net actuarial gains or losses are recognized upon remeasurement, which is at least annually as of September 30, the measurement date, and whenever a remeasurement is triggered. The remaining components of pension and other postretirement benefits income are recorded ratably on a quarterly basis. The fair value of plan assets represents the current market value of assets held by irrevocable trust funds for the sole benefit of participants, and the benefit obligation is the actuarial present value of the benefits expected to be paid based on estimates. These valuations reflect the terms of the plans and use participant-specific information such as compensation, age and years of service, as well as certain key assumptions that require significant judgment, including, but not limited to, estimates of discount rates, expected return on plan assets, rate of compensation increases, interest rates and mortality rates. Actuarial gains and losses may be related to actual results that differ from assumptions as well as changes in assumptions, which may occur each year.
Due to the freeze of U.S. pension benefits effective September 30, 2016, continuing service costs are limited to certain international pension plans, and are reported in the same caption of the Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income as the related employee payroll expenses. All components of net periodic benefit income other than service cost are recognized below operating income within Net pension and other postretirement plan income in the Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income.
Prior to the Contribution in fiscal 2016, Valvoline employees were eligible to participate in pension and other postretirement benefit plans sponsored by Ashland in many of the countries where the Company did business. Valvoline accounted for its participation in Ashland-sponsored pension and other postretirement benefit plans as a participation in a multiemployer plan and recognized its allocated portion of net periodic benefit cost based on Valvoline-specific plan participants.
Commitments and contingencies
Liabilities for loss contingencies arising from claims, assessments, litigation, fines, penalties and other sources are recorded when it is probable that a liability has been incurred and the amount of the loss can be reasonably estimated. Legal costs such as outside counsel fees and expenses are charged to expense in the period incurred and are recorded in Selling, general and administrative expenses in the Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income.
Sales generally are recognized when persuasive evidence of an arrangement exists, products are delivered or services are rendered, the sales price is fixed or determinable and collectability is reasonably assured. Valvoline reports all sales net of tax assessed by qualifying governmental authorities. Certain shipping and handling costs paid by the customer are recorded in sales, while those costs paid by Valvoline are recorded in cost of sales. Shipping and handling costs recorded in sales were $10 million in fiscal 2018 and $16 million in both fiscal 2017 and 2016.
Sales rebates and discounts, consisting primarily of promotional rebates and customer pricing discounts, are offered through various programs to customers. Sales are recorded net of these rebates and discounts totaling $357 million, $360 million, and $388 million in the Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income for the years ended September 30, 2018, 2017, and 2016, respectively. Provisions for sales rebates and discounts are established and recognized as incurred, generally at the time of the sale, or over the term of the sales contract. Valvoline bases its estimates on historical rates of customer discounts and rebates as well as the specific identification of discounts and rebates expected to be realized. Allowances related to these customer incentive programs are adjusted based on actual experience and adjustments are recorded to earnings in the period changes are known and reasonably estimable. Reserves for these customer programs and incentives were $57 million and $54 million as of September 30, 2018 and 2017, respectively, and are recorded within Accrued expenses and other liabilities in the Consolidated Balance Sheets.
Franchise revenue included within sales was $29 million, $28 million, and $25 million during fiscal 2018, 2017, and 2016, respectively. Franchise revenue generally consists of initial franchise fees and royalties. Initial franchise fees are recognized when all material obligations have been substantially performed and the store has opened for business. Franchise royalties are based upon a percentage of monthly sales of the franchisees and are recognized as such sales occur.
Cost of sales include material and production costs, as well as the costs of inbound and outbound freight, purchasing and receiving, inspection, warehousing, internal transfers and all other distribution network costs. Selling, general and administrative expenses are expensed as incurred and include sales and marketing costs, research and development costs, advertising, customer support, and administrative costs, including allocated corporate charges from Ashland in the periods prior to the IPO. Advertising costs ($63 million in fiscal 2018, $61 million in fiscal 2017 and $58 million in fiscal 2016) and research and development costs ($14 million in fiscal 2018 and $13 million in both fiscal 2017 and 2016) are expensed as incurred.
Stock-based compensation expense is recognized within Selling, general and administrative expense in the Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income and is principally based on the grant date fair value of new or modified awards over the requisite vesting period. The Company’s outstanding stock-based compensation awards are primarily classified as equity, with certain liability-classified awards based on award terms and conditions. Valvoline accounts for forfeitures when they occur.
Income tax expense is provided based on income before income taxes. Deferred income taxes represent benefits and expenses that will be used to reduce or increase corporate taxes expected to be paid as well as differences between the tax bases and carrying amounts of assets and liabilities that will result in taxable or deductible amounts in future years. Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using enacted tax rates expected to apply to taxable income in years in which those temporary differences are expected to be recovered or settled. As changes in tax laws or rates occur, deferred tax assets and liabilities are adjusted in the period changes are enacted through income tax expense. Valvoline records valuation allowances related to its deferred income tax assets when it is more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred income tax assets will not be realized.
For the periods prior to the Distribution, Valvoline’s operating results are included in Ashland’s consolidated U.S., state, and certain international subsidiaries’ income tax returns. For these periods, the income tax provision in these Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income was calculated on a separate return basis as if Valvoline was operating on a stand-alone basis and filed separate tax returns in the jurisdictions in which it operated.
The Company recognizes the tax benefit from an uncertain tax position only if it is more likely than not that the tax position will be sustained on examination by the taxing authorities, based on the technical merits of the position. The tax benefits recognized in the consolidated financial statements from such a position are measured based on the largest benefit that has a greater than fifty percent likelihood of being sustained upon examination by authorities. Interest and penalties related to unrecognized tax benefits are recognized as part of the provision for income taxes and are accrued beginning in the period that such interest and penalties would be applicable under relevant tax law and until such time that the related tax benefits are recognized. Interest and penalties were not material to any of the periods presented herein.
Valvoline’s derivative instruments consist of currency exchange contracts, which are accounted for as either assets or liabilities in the Consolidated Balance Sheets at fair value and the resulting gains or losses are recognized as adjustments to earnings. Valvoline does not currently have any derivative instruments that are designated and qualify as hedging instruments. The Company classifies its cash flows for these transactions as investing activities in the Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows.
Fair value measurements
Fair value is defined as an exit price, representing an amount that would be received to sell an asset or the amount paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. As such, fair value is a market-based measurement determined based on assumptions that market participants would use in pricing an asset or liability. As a basis for considering such assumptions, the guidance prioritizes the inputs used to measure fair value into the three-tier fair value hierarchy. The fair value hierarchy gives the highest priority to quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities (Level 1) and the lowest priority to unobservable inputs (Level 3). An instrument’s classification within the fair value hierarchy is based upon the lowest level of input that is significant to the instrument’s fair value measurement. Certain investments which measure fair value using the net asset value (“NAV”) per share practical expedient are not classified within the fair value hierarchy and are separately disclosed.
Valvoline measures its financial assets and financial liabilities at fair value based on one or more of the following three valuation techniques:
Market approach: Prices and other relevant information generated by market transactions involving identical or comparable assets or liabilities
Cost approach: Amount that would be required to replace the service capacity of an asset (replacement cost)
Income approach: Techniques to convert future amounts to a single present amount based upon market expectations (including present value techniques, option pricing and excess earnings models)
The Company generally uses a market approach, when practicable, in valuing financial instruments. In certain instances, when observable market data is lacking, the Company uses valuation techniques consistent with the income approach whereby future cash flows are converted to a single discounted amount. The Company uses multiple sources of pricing as well as trading and other market data in its process of reporting fair values. The fair values of accounts receivables and accounts payable approximate their carrying values due to the relatively short-term nature of the instruments.
The methods described above may produce a fair value that may not be indicative of net realizable value or reflective of future fair values. Furthermore, while the Company believes its valuation methods are appropriate and consistent with other market participants, the use of different methodologies or assumptions to determine the fair value of certain financial instruments could result in a different fair value measurement.
Operations outside the United States are measured primarily using the local currency as the functional currency. Upon consolidation, the results of operations of the subsidiaries and affiliates whose functional currency is other than the U.S. dollar are translated into U.S. dollars at the average exchange rates for the year while assets and liabilities are translated at year-end exchange rates. Adjustments to translate assets and liabilities into U.S. dollars are recorded in the stockholders’ equity section of the Consolidated Balance Sheets as a component of Accumulated other comprehensive income and are included in net earnings only upon sale or substantial liquidation of the underlying non-U.S. subsidiary or affiliated company.
Earnings per share
Basic earnings per share (“EPS”) is calculated by dividing net income by the weighted-average number of common shares outstanding during the reported period. Diluted EPS is calculated similar to basic EPS, except that the weighted-average number of shares outstanding includes the number of shares that would have been outstanding had potentially dilutive common shares been issued. Potentially dilutive securities include stock appreciation rights and nonvested share-based awards. Nonvested market and performance-based share awards are included in the weighted-average diluted shares outstanding each period if established market or performance criteria have been met at the end of the respective periods.
Recent accounting pronouncements
The following standards relevant to Valvoline were either issued or adopted in the current year, or are expected to have a meaningful impact on Valvoline in future periods.
During fiscal 2018, Valvoline adopted the following:
In July 2015, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued accounting guidance to simplify the subsequent measurement of certain inventories by replacing the lower of cost or market test with a lower of cost or net realizable value test. The guidance applies only to inventories for which cost is determined by methods other than LIFO and retail inventory methods. Valvoline adopted this guidance prospectively on October 1, 2017. Valvoline utilizes LIFO to value a significant portion of its inventory. The impact of adoption was not material to the Company’s consolidated financial statements.
In March 2017, the FASB issued accounting guidance that changed how employers who sponsor defined benefit pension and/or postretirement benefit plans present the net periodic benefit cost in the Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income. This guidance requires employers to present the service cost component of net periodic benefit cost in the same caption as other employee compensation costs for services rendered during the period. All other components of the net periodic benefit cost are presented separately outside of the operating income caption. Valvoline retrospectively adopted this guidance on October 1, 2017. Accordingly, Net pension and other postretirement plan income has been reclassified to non-operating income for all periods presented within the Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income, which reduced previously reported operating income by $138 million and $35 million for the years ended September 30, 2017 and 2016, respectively.
In February 2018, the FASB issued accounting guidance that allows companies to reclassify stranded tax effects resulting from the reduction of the U.S. statutory corporate tax rate enacted in U.S. tax reform legislation in December 2017. The Company adopted this guidance in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, which resulted in a reclassification of $8 million of stranded tax effects related to the deferred taxes for unamortized benefit plan credits that increased both Accumulated other comprehensive income and Retained deficit within the Consolidated Balance Sheet and Consolidated Statement of Stockholders’ Deficit. The adoption of this guidance did not have an impact on the Company’s results of operations or cash flows.
In March 2018, the FASB issued accounting guidance that codified SEC staff views on the income tax accounting implications of U.S. tax reform legislation enacted in December 2017. The guidance clarifies the timing of the measurement period, changes in subsequent reporting periods and reporting requirements as a result of the legislation. As further discussed in Note 12, the Company recorded provisional impacts of the legislation in fiscal 2018 and will recognize any changes to these provisional estimates up to one year from the enactment date of the legislation.
In August 2018, the FASB issued accounting guidance that modifies the disclosure requirements with respect to fair value measurements. Among the changes, entities will no longer be required to disclose the amount of and reasons for transfers between Levels 1 and 2 of the fair value hierarchy, but will be required to disclose the range and weighted average used to develop significant unobservable inputs for Level 3 fair value measurements. Valvoline early adopted this guidance, which does not have an impact on the Company’s consolidated financial statements, but revises disclosures as reflected in Notes 3 and 13 herein.
In August 2018, the FASB issued accounting guidance that modifies the disclosure requirements with respect to defined benefit pension and other postretirement plans. This guidance removes disclosures that no longer are considered cost beneficial, clarifies the specific requirements of disclosures, and adds certain disclosure requirements. Valvoline early adopted this guidance, which does not have an impact on the Company’s consolidated financial statements, but revises disclosures as reflected in Note 13 herein.
Issued but not yet adopted
In May 2014, the FASB issued accounting guidance outlining a single comprehensive model for entities to use in accounting for revenue arising from contracts with customers, which supersedes most current revenue recognition guidance. This guidance introduces a five-step model for revenue recognition that focuses on transfer of control, as opposed to transfer of risk and rewards under current guidance. The Company has substantially completed its assessment of the accounting required under the new revenue recognition guidance and will adopt the new guidance in the first quarter of fiscal 2019. The Company’s revenue is primarily generated from the sale and service delivery of engine and automotive maintenance products to customers, which is not accounted for under industry-specific guidance. Valvoline’s performance obligations generally consist of a single delivery element whereby revenue is recognized at the point in time when ownership, risks and rewards transfer. Revenue transactions recorded under the new guidance are expected to be substantially consistent with the treatment under existing guidance.
The Company will adopt the new revenue recognition guidance using the modified retrospective method, which recognizes the cumulative effect of the changes in retained deficit at adoption, but will not retrospectively apply the new guidance to prior periods. The Company expects to adjust retained deficit at adoption primarily related to the timing of certain sales made to distributors for approximately $15 million to $20 million on a pre-tax basis. In addition, the Company expects immaterial impacts to reclassify certain activities in the Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income on an ongoing basis following adoption.
The Company will expand footnote disclosures under the new revenue guidance beginning in the first quarter of fiscal 2019, including disaggregation of revenue, pro forma impacts of changes to the financial statements in the initial year of adoption, and qualitative disclosures related to the nature and terms of its sales, timing of the transfer of control and judgments used in the application of the five-step model. The Company has also implemented appropriate changes to business processes to support recognition and disclosure under the new guidance.
In August 2018, the FASB issued new accounting guidance related to fees paid by a customer in a cloud computing arrangement, which aligns the accounting for implementation costs incurred in a cloud computing arrangement that is a service arrangement with the existing capitalization guidance for implementation costs incurred to develop or obtain internal-use software. Valvoline will early adopt this guidance on a prospective basis on October 1, 2018, and as a result, certain relevant costs related to these arrangements may be capitalized. The adoption of this guidance is not expected to have a material impact on the Company's financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.
In February 2016, the FASB issued new accounting guidance related to lease transactions. The primary objective of this guidance is to increase transparency and comparability among organizations by requiring lessees to recognize assets and liabilities on the balance sheet for the rights and obligations created by leases and to disclose key information about leasing arrangements. This new guidance is effective for the Company in the first quarter of fiscal 2020 using a modified retrospective approach. The Company has begun planning its assessment and implementation process, including a process to identify all forms of its leases globally, as well as analyzing the practical expedients and evaluating the specific impacts on its consolidated financial statements. While the Company’s evaluation of this guidance is in the early stages, adoption is expected to have a material impact on the Consolidated Balance Sheets as the majority of the Company’s operating leases are expected to be recognized as right of use assets and associated lease liabilities. The Company also anticipates expanded footnote disclosures related to its leases under the new guidance.
The FASB issued other accounting guidance during the period that is not currently applicable or expected to have a material impact on Valvoline’s financial statements, and therefore, is not described above.