IFRS 19 pensions “Voodoo accounting” – ThyssenKrupp edition
ThyssenKrupp issued their quarterly earnings today. Together with Lufthansa, Thyssen has one of the largest “pension holes” in the DAX index.
As we all know, from 2013, IFRS 19 requires to fully reflect pension liabilities “on balance”. Interestingly, in their Investor presentation, IFRS equity is not mentioned at all.
So one really has to go into the interim report to look what happened.
And again, at a first glance it doesn’t look so spectacular:
Shareholders Equity end of March is around 2.8 bn EUR, 0.77 bn less than stated for September 2012, in line with the losses. However when we look into the developement of the equity position of page 32 of the report, we can see that closing shareholders equity has actually been 7.6 bn in September 2012.
In contrast to Lufthansa, they hide their restatement in an “insignificant drop” of retained earning from March 2012 to September 2012 in an amount of ~4.2 bn EUR. Lufthansa had spread their restatement over 2 years. So there seems to be quite some leeway how to do this.
So to sum it up: Thyssen Krupp has lost ~ 4.8 bn of equity or -63% and management doesn’t even bother to disclose this to shareholders in their presentation. Well, who cares about equity anyway ?
One final remark: Thyssenkrupp uses 3,6% to discount the liabilities, which is quite high. Many other companies use 3.2% for EUR or less. As a proxy, one would multiply the difference times 15-20 in order to see what to add in percentage points to the pension liabilities.
So to scale this, we would for instance multiply 0.4%*15= 6%. With total pension liabilities of 8 bn EUR, we would need to deduct a further 500 mn EUR from equity in order to compare them with more conservative companies.
In any case, I think Thyssen will need to raise some equity capital pretty soon.