B. Summary of accounting policies

General information

With the exception of financial instruments, which are measured at fair value, the consolidated financial statements are prepared on the historical cost basis.

The accounting policies applied to the consolidated financial statements are consistent with those of the previous year with the exceptions listed below.

Since April 1, 2011, the two subsidiaries voestalpine Rohstoffbeschaffungs GmbH and Importkohle Gesellschaft m.b.H are no longer being managed and reported within the Steel Division. In these consolidated financial statements, the two entities were allocated to the operating segment Other. The preceding year’s comparative figures were adjusted accordingly.

The following new and revised Standards were adopted for the first time in the business year 2011/12:

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Effective date1






IAS 24 (2009)


Related Party Disclosures


January 1, 2011

IFRS 1 (2010)


First-Time Adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards


July 1, 2010

Various Standards


Improvements to IFRS 2010


January 1, 2011






1 These Standards are applicable to reporting periods beginning on or after the effective date.

The amendments to IAS 24 clarify the definitions of a related party. The new definitions emphasize a symmetrical view of related party relationships and clarify the circumstances in which persons and key management personnel affect related party relationships of an entity. The first-time adoption of the revised IAS 24 had no significant impact on the consolidated financial statements with one exception. Core shareholders who exert a significant influence due to consolidation of the voestalpine shares using the equity method are being reported as related parties from this business year onward.

The first-time adoption of the remaining new Standards in the business year 2011/12 had no impact on the consolidated financial statements.

The following Standards have been endorsed by the European Union as of the reporting date, but their application was not yet mandatory for the business year 2011/12:

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Effective date1






IFRS 7 (2010)


Financial Instruments: Disclosures – Transfers of Financial Assets


July 1, 2011






1 These Standards are applicable to reporting periods beginning on or after the effective date.

The Group did not early adopt these Standards and does not expect that the new Standards will have a significant impact on the consolidated financial statements.

The use of automated calculation systems may result in rounding differences.

Basis of consolidation

The annual financial statements of fully consolidated or proportionately consolidated entities are prepared using uniform accounting policies. For entities included using the equity method, local accounting policies and different reporting dates are maintained if the relevant amounts are immaterial.

In the case of initial consolidation, assets, liabilities, and contingent liabilities are measured at their fair value at the date of acquisition. Any excess of the cost of acquisition over the net of the assets acquired and liabilities assumed is recognized as goodwill. If the net of the assets acquired and liabilities assumed exceeds the cost of acquisition, the difference is recognized at the time of acquisition in profit or loss. Non-controlling interests in the acquired entity are stated at the non-controlling proportion of the net fair values of the acquired assets, liabilities, and contingent liabilities.

All intra-group profits, receivables and payables, income and expenses are eliminated.

Foreign currency translation

In accordance with IAS 21, annual financial statements in foreign currencies that are included in the consolidated financial statements are translated into euros using the functional currency method. The relevant national currency is the functional currency in all cases since, from a financial, economic, and organizational perspective, these entities all operate independently. Assets and liabilities have been translated using the exchange rate on the reporting date. Income and expenses have been translated using the average exchange rate for the business year.

Equity is translated using the historical exchange rate. Currency translation differences are recognized directly in equity in the currency translation reserve.

In the separate financial statements of consolidated entities, foreign currency transactions are translated into the functional currency of the entity using the exchange rate at the date of the transaction. Foreign exchange gains and losses resulting from translation at the transaction date and reporting date are recognized in the consolidated income statement.

Currency exchange rates (ECB fixing) of key currencies have changed as follows:

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Closing exchange rate








































Average annual rate



































Uncertainties in accounting estimates and assumptions

The preparation of the consolidated financial statements in conformity with IFRS requires the management to make accounting estimates and assumptions that may significantly affect the recognition and measurement of assets and liabilities, the recognition of other obligations as of the reporting date, and the recognition of income and expenses during the business year.

The following assumptions bear a significant risk of causing a material adjustment to assets and liabilities within the next business year:

  • The assessment of the recoverability of intangible assets, goodwill, as well as property, plant and equipment is based on assumptions concerning the future. The determination of the recoverable amount in the course of an impairment test is based on various assumptions, such as future net cash flows and discount rates. The net cash flows correspond to the amounts in the most current business plan at the time of the preparation of financial statements.
  • Where the fair values of financial instruments cannot be derived from active markets, they are determined using alternative actuarial models. The underlying parameters used in the determination of the fair values are based partially on assumptions concerning the future.
  • The valuation of existing severance payment and pension obligations is based on assumptions regarding interest rate, retirement age, life expectancy, employee turnover, and future salary/wage increases.
  • Recognition of deferred tax assets is based on the assumption that sufficient taxable profit will be generated in the future to utilize these tax loss carryforwards.

Estimates and underlying assumptions are reviewed on an ongoing basis. Actual results may differ from these estimates if the determining factors at the reporting date differ from expectations. Revisions to accounting estimates are recognized through profit or loss in the period in which the estimates are revised, and the assumptions are adjusted accordingly.

Recognition of revenue and expenses

Revenue arising from the provision of goods and services is realized when all material risks and rewards arising from the goods or services provided have passed to the buyer. Operating expenses are recognized when goods or services are used or when the expense is incurred.

Investment grants are treated as deferred items and recognized as income over the useful life of the asset. Cost subsidies are recognized on an accrual basis, corresponding to the associated expenses. Government grants of EUR 11.4 million (2010/11: EUR 11.5 million) for capital expenditures, research and development, and promotion of job opportunities were recognized as income during the reporting period. Expenses for research and development amounted to EUR 116.7 million (2010/11: EUR 109.0 million) in the business year 2011/12.

Property, plant and equipment

Property, plant and equipment are measured at cost less accumulated depreciation and any impairment losses.

The cost of self-constructed property, plant and equipment includes direct costs and an appropriate portion of indirect materials and indirect labor.

Depreciation is calculated on a straight-line basis over the expected useful lives. Land is not subject to depreciation. Depreciation is based on the following rates:

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Plant and equipment



Fixtures and fittings



With regard to borrowing costs relating to qualifying assets, for which the commencement date for capitalization is on or after April 1, 2009, the Group capitalizes borrowing costs directly attributable to the acquisition, construction, or production of a qualifying asset as part of the cost of that asset. The commencement date for capitalization is the date when expenditures for the asset and borrowing costs are incurred as well as activities are undertaken that are necessary to prepare the asset for its intended use or sale. Previously, the Group immediately recognized all borrowing costs as an expense.

Investment property is measured following the cost model. Useful lives and depreciation methods are identical to property, plant and equipment recognized under IAS 16.


Leased assets are treated as finance leases when they are considered asset purchases subject to long-term financing in economic terms. Lease agreements in which the Group assumes substantially all the risks and rewards of ownership as a lessee are considered asset purchases subject to long-term financing and are classified as finance leases; otherwise, they are classified as operating leases. Lease payments under operating leases are shown as expenses in the consolidated income statement.

Finance leases are initially recognized as Group assets at fair value or the lower present value of the minimum lease payments at the inception of the lease. The corresponding liabilities to the lessors are recorded under financial liabilities in the consolidated statement of financial position.

Finance leases are depreciated over their expected useful lives on the same basis as comparable assets or, where shorter, over the term of the relevant lease. The Group does not act as a lessor.


All corporate acquisitions are accounted for by applying the purchase method. Goodwill arises from the acquisition of subsidiaries and investments in associates.

Goodwill is allocated to cash-generating units and, in accordance with IFRS 3, is not amortized, but tested at least annually for impairment. The carrying amount of investments in associates also includes the carrying amount of goodwill.

Negative goodwill arising from an acquisition is immediately recognized as income.

On disposal of a subsidiary or associate, the attributable amount of goodwill is included in the determination of the profit or loss on disposal.

Other intangible assets

Expenses for research activities, undertaken with the prospect of gaining new scientific or technical knowledge and understanding, are recognized as an expense as incurred. In accordance with IAS 38.57, development expenditure is capitalized if the relevant criteria are satisfied. Usually, the relevant criteria are not satisfied. Capitalized development costs are therefore not significant. Expenditure on internally generated goodwill and brands is recognized as an expense as incurred.

Other intangible assets that are acquired by the Group are stated at cost less accumulated amortization and impairment charges. Amortization is charged on a straight-line basis over the expected useful life of the asset. The maximum expected useful lives are as follows:

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Backlog of orders


1 year

Customer relations


11 years



5 years

Impairment testing of goodwill, other intangible assets, and property, plant and equipment

Cash-generating units that include goodwill and other intangible assets with indefinite useful lives are tested for impairment at least annually. All other assets and cash-generating units are tested for impairment if there are any indications that impairment may have arisen.

For the purpose of impairment testing, assets are grouped at the lowest levels at which cash flows are independently generated (cash-generating units). Goodwill is allocated to those cash-generating units that are expected to benefit from synergies of the related business combination and represent the lowest level within the Group at which management monitors cash flows.

An impairment loss is recognized for the amount by which the asset’s or cash-generating unit’s carrying amount exceeds its recoverable amount. The recoverable amount is the higher of the fair value less cost to sell and value in use. Impairment losses recognized with regard to cash-generating units to which goodwill has been allocated are first applied against the carrying amount of goodwill. Any remaining impairment loss reduces the carrying amounts of the assets of the cash-generating unit on a pro-rata basis.

With the exception of goodwill, impairment losses are reversed when previous indications of impairment no longer exist.

Investments in associates

The proportionate results and equity of associates that are not of minor significance are included in the consolidated financial statements using the equity method.

Financial instruments

Derivative financial instruments are used exclusively by voestalpine AG for the purpose of hedging the foreign currency risk, interest rate risk, and raw materials price risk. Derivative financial instruments are carried at fair value. Hedge accounting in accordance with IAS 39 is used for the majority of the Group’s derivative financial instruments. Gains or losses resulting from changes in the value of derivative financial instruments are recognized either as profit or loss or directly in equity, depending on whether a fair value hedge or cash flow hedge is involved.

Loans and receivables are carried at amortized cost. Since the Group’s securities meet the criteria in accordance with IAS 39.9 for application of the fair value option, securities are recognized at fair value through profit or loss. There are no held-to-maturity financial instruments.

Other investments

Investments in subsidiaries, joint ventures, and associates that are not included in the consolidated financial statements by full consolidation, proportionate consolidation, or the equity method are reported under other investments at the lower of cost or market value.

Securities are carried at fair value. The fair value option is applied. Changes in the fair value are recognized through profit or loss in the income statement.

Income taxes

Income tax expense represents the total of current and deferred tax. Current tax is based on taxable income and is calculated using the tax rates currently applicable.

In accordance with IAS 12, all temporary differences between items in the consolidated financial statements and their tax bases are included in deferred taxes. Deferred tax assets on carryforwards of unused tax losses are recognized to the extent that it is probable that future taxable profit will be available against which the tax losses can be utilized.

In accordance with IAS 12.39, deferred taxes on differences resulting from investments in subsidiaries, associates, and joint ventures were not recognized.

The calculation of deferred taxes is based on the respective local income tax rates that have been enacted or substantively enacted.

Emission certificates

Emission certificates are measured at zero cost, as the rights have been allocated free of charge. In the case of under-allocation, proportionate amounts for CO2 emission certificates are included in the other provisions. The necessary certificates are measured using the average hedged prices or the fair value at the reporting date.


Inventories are stated at the lower of cost and net realizable value. Net realizable value represents the estimated selling price less estimated costs of completion and estimated costs necessary to make the sale. In exceptional cases, the replacement cost of raw materials and supplies may serve as the basis of measurement in accordance with IAS 2.32.

The cost of inventories of the same type is determined by the weighted average price method or a similar method. Cost includes directly attributable costs and all pro-rated material and production overheads based on normal capacity utilization. Interest costs and general administrative and sales expenses are not recognized in inventory.

Trade and other receivables

Trade and other receivables are stated at amortized cost. Credit insurance is acquired to cover individually identifiable risks. Non-interest- or low-interest-bearing receivables with a remaining period of more than one year are recognized at their discounted present value. Sold receivables, for which the default risk is transferred to the buyer and for which the seller assumes a contingent liability to the extent of the retained amount from credit insurances, are derecognized because the power of disposition has transferred to the buyer.

When the outcome of a construction contract pursuant to IAS 11 can be estimated reliably, contract revenue and contract costs associated with the construction contract are recognized by reference to the stage of completion of the contract activity at the end of the reporting period (percentage of completion method), measured based on the proportion of contract costs incurred for work performed to date relative to the estimated total contract costs. When the outcome of a construction contract cannot be estimated reliably, contract revenue is recognized to the extent of contract cost incurred that is probably recoverable. Contract costs are recognized as expenses in the period in which they are incurred. When it is probable that total contract costs will exceed total contract revenue, the expected loss is immediately recognized as an expense.

Accruals and deferrals are reported under other receivables and other liabilities.

Cash and cash equivalents

Cash and cash equivalents include cash on hand, cash at banks, and checks and are carried at market value.

Pensions and other employee obligations

Pensions and other employee obligations include provisions for severance payments, pensions, and long-service bonuses and are recognized in accordance with IAS 19 using the projected unit credit method.

Employees of Austrian entities who started their employment before January 1, 2003 are entitled to receive a severance payment if their employment is terminated by the employer or if they retire. The amount to be paid depends on the number of years of service and the employee’s salary or wage at the time employment ends. For employees who started their employment after December 31, 2002, severance obligations are transferred to a contribution-based system. The contributions to external employee pension funds are recognized as expenses.

Both defined contribution and defined benefit pension plans exist within the Group. Defined contribution plans involve no additional future obligations after the payment of premiums. Defined benefit plans guarantee the employee a specified pension, which is based on a certain percentage of salaries or wages depending on years of service or on a valorized fixed amount per year of service. Defined benefit obligations are stated in the annual financial statements of the respective entities until the contractual vesting date. After that date, the pensions are transferred to a pension fund.

In accordance with IAS 19.93A, actuarial gains and losses from severance and pension obligations are recognized directly in equity in the year in which they are incurred. Actuarial gains and losses from provisions for long-service bonuses are recognized immediately in profit or loss.

The calculation of employee benefits in all countries where the Group has material operations is based on the following parameters:

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Interest rate (%)





Salary/wage increases (%)





Pension increases (%)





Retirement age men/women (years)


max. 65


max. 65

Mortality tables





Interest expenses resulting from employee benefits are included in the consolidated income statement under finance costs.

Other provisions

Other provisions due to present obligations arising from past events, where it is probable that an outflow of resources embodying economic benefits will be required to settle the obligation, are stated at the amount that reflects the most probable value based on a reliable estimate. Provisions are discounted where the effect is material.

The assumptions that underlie the provisions are reviewed on an ongoing basis. The actual figures can deviate from the assumptions if the underlying circumstances as of the reporting date have not developed as expected. As soon as better information is available, changes are recognized through profit and loss and the assumptions are adjusted accordingly.

Please note that we are invoking the safeguard clause according to which information about provisions is not provided if this could seriously and adversely impact the Company’s interests.

Contingent liabilities

Contingent liabilities are present obligations arising from past events, where it is not probable that an outflow of resources will be required to settle the obligation, or possible obligations arising from past events whose existence or non-existence depends on less certain future events, which are not within the company’s full control. When, in extremely rare cases, an existing debt cannot be stated in the statement of financial position as a provision because a reliable estimate of the debt is not possible, a contingent liability shall also be recognized.

With regard to possible obligations, we wish to point out that information about contingent liabilities is not provided if this could seriously and adversely impact the Company’s interests.


Liabilities, except liabilities from derivative financial instruments, are stated at amortized cost.

Stock option program

A resolution approving a stock option plan for members of the Management Board and executives of the voestalpine Group was passed at the Annual General Meeting on July 5, 2006.

These stock options could be exercised at any time between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2011, in compliance with the Issuer Compliance Directive. The options could be exercised if the participant was a current employee or member of the Management Board of voestalpine AG or a Group company.

Each option entitled the holder to receive one voestalpine AG share after the exercise requirements have been fulfilled. voestalpine AG’s intention at the time the options were granted was to provide settlement in shares. The holder of the option had no choice of settlement. Under IFRS 2, the transaction was therefore considered a share-based payment transaction. Due to the changed circumstances after the acquisition of BÖHLER-UDDEHOLM Aktiengesellschaft, the Management Board of voestalpine AG decided to settle the obligation related to the options in cash. Options (personnel expenses) were carried at fair value at the time of the grant. The offsetting entry was recorded directly in equity. The cash settlement on the exercise date was also recognized directly in equity.

Employee stock ownership plan

The employee stock ownership plan in Austrian Group companies is based on the appropriation of a part of the salary and wage increase due to collective bargaining agreements over several business years. For the first time in the business year 2000/01, employees received voestalpine AG shares in return for a 1% lower salary or wage increase.

In each of the business years 2002/03, 2003/04, 2005/06, 2007/08, and 2008/09, between 0.3% and 0.5% of the total amount of wages and salaries required for the increase were used to provide voestalpine AG shares to employees. The actual amount is calculated from the monthly amount of wages and salaries waived, based on November 1, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2008, applying an annual increase of 3.5%.

The Works Council and each company shall execute an agreement for implementation of the Austrian employee stock ownership plan. Shares are acquired by the voestalpine Mitarbeiterbeteiligung Privatstiftung (a private foundation for the Company’s employee shareholding scheme), which transfers the shares to employees according to the wages and salaries they have waived. The value of the consideration provided is independent of price fluctuations. Therefore, IFRS 2 does not apply to the allocation of shares based on lower collective bargaining agreements.

An international participation model was developed for Group companies outside Austria, which was initially implemented in several companies in Great Britain and Germany in the business year 2009/10. Due to very positive experience gained in these pilot projects, the model was expanded in these two countries and introduced in the Netherlands, in Poland and in Belgium. In the business year 2011/12, a total of 49 companies are participating in the international employee stock ownership program in these five countries.

In addition, employee bonuses are partially provided in the form of shares. Under IFRS 2, share-based payments settled with equity instruments are recognized as personnel expenses at fair value, with the offsetting entry recognized directly in equity.

On March 31, 2012, the voestalpine Mitarbeiterbeteiligung Privatstiftung (a private foundation for the Company’s employee shareholding scheme) held approximately 12.9% (March 31, 2011: 13.0%) of voestalpine AG’s shares in trust for employees.

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