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The Group prepares its consolidated annual financial statements in accordance with IFRS as issued by the IASB, the application of which often requires management to make judgements when formulating the Group’s financial position and results. Judgements, including those involving estimations, made in the process of applying the Group’s accounting policies are discussed below. Management considers these judgements to have a material effect on the consolidated annual financial statements.
The determination of estimates requires the exercise of judgement based on various assumptions and other factors such as historical experience, current and expected economic conditions. Although estimates are based on management’s best knowledge of current events and actions they may undertake in the future, actual results ultimately may differ from these estimates. Accounting estimates and the underlying assumptions are reviewed on an ongoing basis.
The discussion below should also be read in conjunction with the Group’s disclosure of significant accounting policies, which is provided in basis of preparation.
Management has presented its critical accounting judgements and associated disclosures to the Audit, Risk and Compliance Committee who has recommended it to the Board.
Judgement is required in the assessment of whether the Group has control or significant influence in terms of the variability of returns from the Group’s involvement in the investee, the ability to use power to affect those returns and the significance of the Group’s investment in the investee. The Group classified its investment considering this assessment of control or significant influence (Notes 12 and 28).
The Group concluded that its cell captive arrangement does not satisfy the criteria to be a deemed separate entity and accordingly is not subject to consolidation. Similarly, the Group assessed its broad-based black economic empowerment transactions, to determine whether the Group has control over the entities it has partnered with in the transactions, resulting in the consolidation of these entities.
Intangible assets with finite useful lives include licences, customer bases, computer software, trademarks, patents and other. These assets arise from both separate purchases and from acquisitions as part of business combinations.
The relative size of the Group’s intangible assets with finite useful lives makes the judgements surrounding the estimated useful lives critical to the Group’s financial position and performance.
At 31 March 2018, intangible assets with finite useful lives amounted to R6 393 million (2017: R6 496 million) and represented 4.9% (2017: 8.0%) of the Group’s total assets.
The useful lives used to amortise intangible assets relate to the future performance of the assets acquired and management’s judgement of the period over which economic benefits will be derived from the assets. The residual values of intangible assets are assumed to be zero.
The basis for determining the useful lives for the various categories of intangible assets is as follows:
The estimated useful life is, generally, the term of the licence, unless there is a presumption of renewal at a negligible cost. The licence term reflects the period over which the Group will receive economic benefits. For technology-specific licences with a presumption of renewal at a negligible cost, the estimated useful life reflects the Group’s expectation of the period over which the Group will continue to receive economic benefits from the licence.
Trademarks, patents and other
The estimated useful life represents management’s view of the expected period over which the Group will receive economic benefits from the trademarks, patents and other intangible assets.
The estimated useful life principally reflects management’s view of the average economic life of the customer base and is assessed by reference to, inter alia, customer churn rates or obtained through an independent actuarial valuation. An increase in churn rates may lead to a reduction in the estimated useful life and an increase in the amortisation charge.
For computer software licences, the useful life represents management’s view of the expected period over which the Group will receive benefits from the software, but not exceeding the licence term. For unique software products controlled by the Group, the life is based on historical experience with similar products as well as anticipation of future events, which may impact the life, such as changes in technology.
The estimated useful lives of intangible assets with finite useful lives are as follows:
|Licences||8 – 30||8 – 30|
|Trademarks, patents and other||5 – 12||5 – 12|
|Customer bases||1 – 8||2 – 8|
|Computer software||3 – 10||3 – 10|
Historically, changes in useful lives have not resulted in material changes to the Group’s amortisation charge.
Property, plant and equipment also represent a significant proportion of the Group’s asset base, being 30.9% (2017: 49.5%) of the Group’s total assets. Therefore, the estimates and assumptions made to determine their carrying amounts and related depreciation are critical to the Group’s financial position and performance.
The charge in respect of periodic depreciation is derived after estimating an asset’s expected useful life and the expected residual value. Increasing an asset’s expected life or its residual value would result in a reduced depreciation charge in the consolidated income statement.
The Group assesses the residual value of every item of property, plant and equipment annually. In determining residual values, the Group uses historical sales and management’s best estimate for residual values below 10.0% of cost and third-party confirmation for those above 10.0% of cost. Management has determined that there is no active market for the following assets within the network infrastructure and equipment category: radio, transmission, switching, SIM centres and community services, and therefore these assets have no residual value. At the end of the useful life, the value of the asset is expected to be nil or insignificant in respect of the above-mentioned assets.
The estimation of useful lives is based on certain indicators such as historical experience with similar assets as well as anticipation of future events, which may impact the lives, such as changes in technology. The useful lives will also depend on the future performance of the assets as well as management’s judgement of the period over which economic benefits will be derived from the assets.
Network infrastructure is only depreciated over a period that extends beyond the expiry of the associated licence under which the operator provides telecommunications services if there is a reasonable expectation of renewal or an alternative future use for the asset.
The estimated useful lives of depreciable property, plant and equipment are as follows:
|Buildings, included in land and buildings||17 – 50||17 – 50|
|Leasehold improvements, included in land and buildings||Shorter of lease term and 50||Shorter of lease term and 50|
|Network infrastructure and equipment||3 – 25||3 – 25|
|Other assets||1 – 15||1 – 15|
Historically, changes in useful lives and residual values have not resulted in material changes to the Group’s depreciation charge.
Management undertakes an annual impairment test for goodwill and intangible assets not yet available for use. For assets with finite useful lives, impairment testing is performed if events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable.
Impairment testing is an area involving management judgement, requiring assessment as to whether the carrying amounts of assets can be supported by the higher of their fair value less costs of disposal and value in use.
The Group uses parties with the requisite expertise to determine its assets fair value less costs of disposal.
Value in use is calculated as the net present value of future cash flows derived from assets using cash flow projections which have been discounted at appropriate discount rates. In calculating the net present value of the future cash flows, certain assumptions are required to be made in respect of highly uncertain matters including management’s expectations of:
Details of the basis for determining values assigned to key assumptions are provided in Note 2.
The Group prepares and annually approves formal five-year management plans for its operations, which are used in the value in use calculations.
Changing the assumptions selected by management, in particular the discount rate and growth rate assumptions used in the cash flow projections, could significantly affect the Group’s impairment evaluation and consequently its results.
The Group’s review includes a sensitivity analysis of the key assumptions related to the cash flow projections as disclosed in Note 2.
The determination of the fair value of assets and liabilities often requires complex estimations and is based, to a considerable extent, on management’s judgement.
The amount of goodwill initially recognised as a result of a business combination is dependent on the allocation of the consideration transferred to the fair value of the identifiable assets acquired and the liabilities assumed.
The Group uses external parties with the requisite expertise to determine the acquisition-date fair values of certain identifiable assets acquired.
The fair value of assets is determined by discounting estimated future net cash flows generated by the assets, where no active market for the assets exists. The use of different discount rates as well as assumptions for the expectation of future cash flows would change the valuation of the asset.
Allocation of the consideration transferred affects the Group’s results as property, plant and equipment as well as intangible assets with finite useful lives are respectively depreciated and amortised, whereas land and goodwill are not. This could result in differing depreciation and amortisation charges based on the allocation.
The fair value of financial instruments, excluding derivative instruments, not traded in active, liquid and organised financial markets is determined using a variety of valuation methods and assumptions that are based on market conditions and risks existing at the reporting date, including independent appraisals and discounted cash flow methods.
The fair value of the BBBEE transaction was measured using the Monte-Carlo option pricing valuation model. Refer to Note 17 for assumptions used.
The share-based payment expense relating to awards of performance shares to the Group’s executive directors and selected employees is based on the achievement of financial performance and customer targets. The probability of these financial performance targets being achieved is estimated using the Monte-Carlo simulation model. Please refer to forfeitable share plan note (Note 17).
The Group’s total direct and indirect taxation liabilities necessarily involves judgements, including those involving estimations, in respect of certain matters where the tax impact is uncertain until a conclusion has been reached with the relevant tax authority or, as appropriate, through a formal legal process. The Group uses in-house tax experts when assessing uncertain tax positions and seeks the advice of external professional advisors where appropriate.
Provisions are recognised for uncertain tax positions when the Group has a present obligation as a result of a past event and it is probable that there will be a future outflow of economic benefits from the Group. Provisions are measured using the most likely outcome. The final resolution of uncertain tax positions may give rise to material profits, losses and/or cash flows.
The complexity of the Group’s structure, considering its geographic presence, makes the degree of judgement more challenging. The resolution of issues is not always within the Group’s control and it is often dependent on the efficiency of the legal processes in the relevant tax jurisdictions in which the Group operates. Issues can, and often do, take many years to resolve. Payments in respect of tax liabilities for an accounting period result from payments on account and on the final resolution of open items. As a result, there can be substantial differences between the taxation charge in the consolidated income statement and tax payments.
Significant items on which the Group has exercised judgement include various matters disclosed in Note 25. Due to the inherent uncertainty surrounding the outcome of these items, eventual resolution could differ from the accounting estimates and therefore impact the Group’s results and cash flows.
The recognition of deferred tax assets, particularly in respect of tax losses and tax credits, is based upon whether it is probable that there will be sufficient and suitable taxable profits in the relevant legal entity or tax group against which to utilise the assets in the future. Management therefore exercises judgement in assessing the future financial performance of the particular entity or tax group in which the deferred tax asset is to be recognised.
The Group applies judgement when determining whether an arrangement contains a lease. Arrangements that are not dependent on the use of one or more specific assets and do not convey a right to use these assets do not contain a lease. The costs in terms of these arrangements are expensed as incurred.
In determining lease classification as either an operating or finance lease, the Group applies judgement, especially in determining whether the lease term is for the major part of the economic life of the asset and whether at inception of the lease, the present value of the minimum lease payments amounts to at least substantially all of the fair value of the asset.
In revenue arrangements including more than one deliverable, the deliverables are assigned to one or more separate units of accounting and the arrangement consideration is allocated to each unit of accounting based on its relative fair value. The fair values determined for deliverables may impact the timing of the recognition of revenue.
Determining the fair value of each deliverable can require complex estimates due to the nature of the goods and services provided. The Group generally determines the fair value of individual elements based on prices at which the deliverable is regularly sold on a stand-alone basis, after considering volume discounts where appropriate.
Determining whether the Group is acting as a principal or as an agent requires judgement and consideration of all relevant facts and circumstances. When deciding the most appropriate basis for presenting the revenue or related costs, both the legal form and substance of the agreement between the Group and its business partners are reviewed to determine each party’s respective role in the transaction. Such judgements impact the amount of reported revenue and operating expenses but do not impact reported assets, liabilities or net cash flows from operating activities.
The Group exercises judgements in measuring and recognising provisions and the exposure to contingent liabilities related to pending litigation or other outstanding claims subject to negotiated settlement, mediation, arbitration or government regulation, as well as other contingent liabilities (Note 25). Judgements, including those involving estimations, are necessary in assessing the likelihood that a pending claim will succeed, or a liability will arise, and to quantify the possible range of the financial settlement.
The Group exercises judgements in determining whether monetary items receivable from or payable to foreign entities form part of the Group’s net investment in foreign operations. Judgements, including those involving estimations, are necessary in assessing whether settlement of the monetary items receivable or payable is likely to occur in the foreseeable future. Included in other comprehensive income are exchange losses of R335 million (2017: R494 million) net of tax, relating to foreign-denominated loans to subsidiaries classified as net investments in foreign operations.