2019 Annual Integrated Report


The Group performs annual impairment tests on (groups of) CGUs to which goodwill has been allocated, and each time there are indicators that their carrying amount might be higher than their recoverable amount. This analysis requires management to estimate the future cash flows expected to be generated by the CGUs and a suitable discount rate in order to calculate present value. The recoverable amount is highly sensitive to discount and growth rates.

Further details are provided in note F21 Goodwill and business combinations and F27 Impairment of property, plant and equipment, intangible assets, right-of-use assets, and equity method investees.

Income taxes

Deferred tax assets

The carrying amount of the deferred tax assets is reviewed at each reporting date. The carrying amount of a deferred tax asset is reduced to the extent that it is no longer probable that the Group will earn sufficient taxable profits against which the deductions can be utilized. Any such reduction is reversed to the extent that it becomes probable that sufficient taxable profits will be available.

Deferred tax assets other than tax loss carryforwards are analyzed on a case by case basis, taking into account all relevant facts and circumstances. For example, a zero taxable profit, after deducting the amounts paid to retirees under a defined benefit plan and for which a deductible temporary difference existed, can justify the recognition of the underlying deferred tax assets.

Recognition of deferred tax assets for tax loss carryforwards requires a positive taxable profit during the year that enables the utilization of tax losses that originated in the past. Because of uncertainties inherent to predicting such positive taxable profit, recognition of deferred tax assets from tax loss carryforwards is based on a case by case analysis, which is usually based on five-year profit forecasts, except with respect to any financial company for which ten-year financial profit forecasts are considered highly predictable and are consequently used.

The corporate tax reporting team, which monitors the Group’s deferred tax positions, is involved in assessing deferred tax assets.

Further details are provided in note F7.B. Deferred taxes in the consolidation statement of financial position.

Tax reform in the United States

New guidance issued by the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) related to the US tax reform could be issued in 2020 and trigger a review, if applicable to the Group, of some estimates at year-end 2019.

Further details are provided in note F7.B. Deferred taxes in the consolidation statement of financial position.


Restructuring provision for the Group’s simplification and transformation program

On March 29, 2018, Solvay announced it is taking a new step in its transformation, putting its customers at the core of its organization to enhance its long-term growth as an advanced materials and specialty chemicals company. The estimate of the provision is based on the number and the cost of redundancy and relocation packages that the Group expects to pay. It is inherently subject to uncertainty and is monitored by the Human Resources department, in close cooperation with the Finance department. On October 3, 2019 management decided to stop the planned transfers of the teams based in Paris to Lyon and Brussels, which was part of the simplification and transformation program announced in 2018. This decision was announced internally on October 23. At the end of 2019, the provision amounts to € 85 million.

Defined benefit obligations - General

The actuarial assumptions used in determining the defined benefit obligations at December 31 as well as the annual cost can be found in note F34 Provisions. All main employee benefits plans are assessed annually by independent actuaries. Discount rates and inflation rates are defined centrally by management. The other assumptions (such as future salary increases and expected rates of medical care cost increases) are defined at a local level. All plans are supervised by the Group’s central Human Resources department with the help of a central actuary to check the reasonableness of the results and ensure consistency in reporting.

Further details are provided in note F34.A. Provisions for employee benefits.

Environmental provisions

Environmental provisions are managed and coordinated jointly by the Environmental Rehabilitation department and the Finance department. In case of environmental impacts stemming from historical production activities, generally, no provision is recognized for remediation works beyond the 20 years due to the inherent high level of uncertainty as to whether there will be any obligation after the lapse of this period.

The forecasts of expenses are discounted to their present value. The discount rates fixed by geographical area correspond to the average risk-free rate on 10-year government bonds or the inflation rate if higher. These rates are set annually by the Finance Department and can be revised based on the evolution of economic parameters of the country involved. To reflect the passage of time, the provisions are increased each year at the discount rates described above.

Further details are provided in note F34.B. Provisions other than for employee benefits.

Provisions for litigations

Any significant litigations (tax and other, including threat of litigation) are reviewed by Solvay’s in-house lawyers with the support, when appropriate, of external counsels at least every quarter. This review includes an assessment of the need to recognize provisions and/or remeasure existing provisions together with the Finance department and the Insurance department.

Further details are provided in note F34.B. Provisions other than for employee benefits.

Leases – Assessment of lease term

Determining the lease term requires judgment. Elements that are considered include assessing the probability that early termination options or extension options will be exercised. All facts and circumstances relevant to the assessment are considered, and the main ones have been described in note F23 Right-of-use assets and lease obligations. Lease terms are determined with the support of the departments that have the relevant knowledge, and that mainly include the Purchasing department, and the Facility department.