We have audited the consolidated financial statements of voestalpine AG, Linz, and of its subsidiaries (the Group) comprising the consolidated statement of financial position as of March 31, 2018, the consolidated statement of comprehensive income, the consolidated statement of changes in equity and the consolidated statement of cash flows for the fiscal year then ended and the notes to the consolidated financial statements.
Based on our audit the accompanying consolidated financial statements were prepared in accordance with the legal regulations and present fairly, in all material respects, the assets and the financial position of the Group as of March 31, 2018, and its financial performance for the year then ended in accordance with IFRS as endorsed in the European Union and the addition requirements of Section 245a Companies Act.
Basis for Opinion
We conducted our audit in accordance with the regulation (EU) no. 537/2014 (in the following “EU regulation”) and in accordance with Austrian Standards on Auditing. Those standards require that we comply with International Standards on Auditing (ISA). Our responsibilities under those regulations and standards are further described in the “Auditor’s Responsibilities for the Audit of the Financial Statements” section of our report. We are independent of the Group in accordance with laws and regulations applicable in Austria and we have fulfilled our other ethical responsibilities in accordance with these requirements. We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our opinion.
Key Audit Matters
Key audit matters are those matters that, in our professional judgment, were of most significance in our audit of the consolidated financial statements of the fiscal year. These matters were addressed in the context of our audit of the consolidated financial statements as a whole, and in forming our opinion thereon, and we do not provide a separate opinion on these matters.
In the following we present the matters which, in our view, represent the key audit matters:
a) Recoverability of goodwill
b) Recoverability of property, plant and equipment
c) Recoverability of deferred tax assets on tax losses brought forward
a) Recoverability of goodwill
In the consolidated financial statements of voestalpine AG as at March 31, 2018, an amount of 1.545,9 million EUR (10,0% of total assets) is presented under the item “Goodwill” (previous year 1.549,5 million EUR, 10,5% of total assets). Goodwills are tested for impairment at least annually, and – if applicable – as events occur. The valuation of goodwill is performed based on a valuation model according to the discounted cash flow methodology. The book value goodwill is compared to the recoverable amount (value in use) derived from the valuation model. As far as the recoverable amount is lower than the book value, goodwill will be impaired. In the financial year 2017/18, no impairments of goodwill were reported.
Given the materiality of goodwill, the estimation uncertainty involved in the derivation of data for the valuation model, the immanent discretionary decisions as well as the complexity of the valuation model itself, the recoverability of goodwill is considered a key audit matter. The results of the valuation model depend heavily on management’s estimates of future cash inflows and of the discount rate applied and are therefore subject to material uncertainty. The risk for the consolidated financial statements consists in the fact that assumptions and estimates on which the valuation is based can lead to a shortfall of book values in case of a negative deviation of the actual development.
We have verified the appropriateness of the future cash flows used in the calculation by comparing these to the current values in the five-year mid-term planning prepared by management and approved by the supervisory board and to general and industry-specific market expectations. Here we also acknowledged the major assumptions and discretionary decisions that formed the basis of the planning. Under consideration of the fact that already small changes of the discount rate applied can significantly influence the amount of the resulting entity value, we also placed audit emphasis on the parameters used in determining the applicable discount rate including the average cost of capital (“weighted average cost of capital”), among others by comparing them to market and industry specific guideline values and verified the mathematical correctness of the valuation result. Due to the substantial role of goodwill, which makes up for 10,0% of group total assets and due to the fact that its valuation is also influenced by the macroeconomic environment which cannot be influenced by the Group, we have also re-performed the sensitivity analyses prepared by the Group and verified the impact of parameter changes (changes in discount rate and cash flows) on the amount by which the value in use derived from the valuation model exceeds the book value of goodwill.
The Group’s disclosures concerning goodwill and impairment tests are included in Sections B. and G.10. of the notes to the consolidated financial statements.
b) Recoverability of property, plant and equipment
In the consolidated financial statements of voestalpine AG, an amount of 6.282,1 million EUR (40,6% of total assets) is disclosed under the item “property, plant and equipment” (previous year 6.371,9 million EUR, 43,3% of total assets). Management will determine upon identification of triggering events whether a permanent impairment or full recoverability of property, plant and equipment or of the relevant cash generating unit (CGU) is present.
An impairment charge is recognized to the extent that the book value of an individual asset or of a cash generating unit exceeds the recoverable amount. The recoverable amount is the higher of net realizable value and value in use. The valuation model is basically the same as for the impairment tests of goodwill.
Due to the materiality of property, plant and equipment, the estimation uncertainty for the derivation of data for the valuation model and the immanent discretionary decisions as well as the complexity of the valuation model, recoverability of property, plant and equipment is considered a key audit matter. The results of the valuation model depend significantly on the estimation of future cash inflows by management as well as on the discount rate applied and are therefore exposed to significant uncertainty. The risk for the consolidated financial statements consists in the fact that the assumptions and estimates on which the valuation is based can lead to a shortfall of book values in case of a negative deviation of the actual development.
Thus for property, plant and equipment the same reasons for the classification as a key audit matters are relevant. Our audit approach therefore corresponds to our approach in the audit of the recoverability of goodwill, so that we can refer to our explanations in the context of recoverability of goodwill.
In the fiscal year 2017/18, the Metal Engineering Division has accounted for impairments of pro- perty, plant and equipment amounting to 12,2 million EUR and for impairments of intangible assets amounting to 3,5 million EUR in the cash generating unit dealing with the production of special wires (fine wires) which are due to negative sales development, the resulting adjustment of the strategic set-up and reduced profit expectations.
In the fiscal year 2017/18, the High Performance Metals Division has accounted for impairments of property, plant and equipment amounting to 10,1 million EUR in the cash generating unit in Brazil which are due to the economic environment in Brazil, the imminent import duties on steel in the USA as well as the resulting uncertainties.
In connection with our audit of the recoverability we have also verified to which extent reversals of impairments recognized in previous years were required in the fiscal year 2017/18.
The Group’s disclosures concerning the recoverability of property, plant and equipment as well as concerning impairments and reversals of past impairments are included in Sections B. and G.9. of the notes to the consolidated financial statements.
c) Recoverability of deferred tax assets on tax losses brought forward
In the consolidated financial statements of voestalpine AG as at March 31, 2018, deferred tax assets on tax losses brought forward amounting to 154,8 million EUR (previous year: 219,6 million EUR) are recognized. Moreover, the group has unused tax losses amounting to 303,3 million EUR (previous year: 313,6 million EUR) for which no deferred tax asset has been recognized.
In our view, this matter is of particular importance for the consolidated financial statements as the calculation model for deferred taxes is complex, the result of the calculation of the deferred tax asset on tax losses brought forward is highly dependent on the estimate of the future tax results of the relevant group companies and is therefore subject to material uncertainty. The risk for the consolidated financial statements consists in the fact that the assumptions and estimates on which the accounting treatment of deferred taxes is based do not lead to the expected tax relief in case of a negative deviation of the actual development.
We have audited the calculation model as well as the structure and effectiveness of existing controls with the involvement of tax experts. The corresponding notes in the group reporting concerning deferred taxes (tax workbook), which have been completed by the individual group companies and – on an aggregated basis – by the divisions and the group itself have been analysed for their correctness and reasonableness. We have reviewed and corroborated the planning of the future tax results which also included the verification as to whether the planning of future tax results is consistent with the five-year plans approved by the relevant bodies. Moreover, we have performed an evaluation whether any limitations in the use of tax losses or expiry dates for the usage of tax losses have been incorporated in the calculation. Finally, we have audited the impact of changes in tax rates.
The Group’s disclosures concerning deferred taxes are included in Sections B., G.8 and G.13. of the notes to the consolidated financial statements.
Responsibilities of Management and of the Supervisory Board/Audit Committee for the Consolidated Financial Statements
Management is responsible for the preparation of the consolidated financial statements in accordance with IFRS as endorsed in the European Union and the additional requirements of Section 245a Companies Act, for them to present a true and fair view of the assets, the financial position and the financial performance of the Group and for such internal controls as management determines are necessary to enable the preparation of consolidated financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.
In preparing the consolidated financial statements, management is responsible for assessing the Group’s ability to continue as a going concern, disclosing, as applicable, matters related to going concern and using the going concern basis of accounting unless management either intends to liquidate the Group or to cease operations, or has no realistic alternative but to do so.
The Supervisory Board/Audit Committee is responsible for overseeing the Group’s financial reporting process.
Auditor’s Responsibilities for the Audit of the Consolidated Financial Statements
Our objectives are to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements as a whole are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error, and to issue an auditor’s report that includes our opinion. Reasonable assurance is a high level of assurance, but is not a guarantee that an audit conducted in accordance with the EU regulation and in accordance with Austrian Standards on Auditing will always detect a material misstatement when it exists. Misstatements can arise from fraud or error and are considered material if, individually or in the aggregate, they could reasonably be expected to influence the economic decisions of users taken on the basis of these consolidated financial statements.
As part of an audit in accordance with the EU regulation and in accordance with Austrian Standards on Auditing, which require the application of ISA, we exercise professional judgment and maintain professional scepticism throughout the audit.
- identify and assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to fraud or error, design and perform audit procedures responsive to those risks, and obtain audit evidence that is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our opinion. The risk of not detecting a material misstatement resulting from fraud is higher than for one resulting from error, as fraud may involve collusion, forgery, intentional omissions, misrepresentations, or the override of internal control.
- obtain an understanding of internal control relevant to the audit in order to design audit procedures that are appropriate in the circumstances, but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Group’s internal control.
- evaluate the appropriateness of accounting policies used and the reasonableness of accounting estimates and related disclosures made by management.
- conclude on the appropriateness of management’s use of the going concern basis of accounting and, based on the audit evidence obtained, whether a material uncertainty exists related to events or conditions that may cast significant doubt on the Group’s ability to continue as a going concern. If we conclude that a material uncertainty exists, we are required to draw attention in our auditor’s report to the related disclosures in the consolidated financial statements or, if such disclosures are inadequate, to modify our opinion. Our conclusions are based on the audit evidence obtained up to the date of our auditor’s report. However, future events or conditions may cause the Group to cease to continue as a going concern.
- evaluate the overall presentation, structure and content of the consolidated financial statements, including the disclosures, and whether the consolidated financial statements represent the underlying transactions and events in a manner that achieves fair presentation.
- obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence regarding the financial information of the entities or business activities within the Group to express an opinion on the consolidated financial statements. We are responsible for the direction, supervision and performance of the group audit. We remain solely responsible for our audit opinion.
We communicate with the Supervisory Board/Audit Committee regarding, among other matters, the planned scope and timing of the audit and significant audit findings, including any significant deficiencies in internal control that we identify during our audit.
We also provide the Supervisory Board/Audit Committee with a statement that we have complied with relevant ethical requirements regarding independence, and to communicate with them all relationships and other matters that may reasonably be thought to bear on our independence, and where applicable, related safeguards.
From the matters communicated with the Supervisory Board/Audit Committee, we determine those matters that were of most significance in the audit of the consolidated financial statements of the current period and are therefore the key audit matters. We describe these matters in our auditor’s report unless law or regulation precludes public disclosure about the matter or when, in extremely rare circumstances, we determine that a matter should not be communicated in our report because the adverse consequences of doing so would reasonably be expected to outweigh the public interest benefits of such communication.
Report on Other Legal and Regulatory Requirements
Comments on the Management Report for the Group
Pursuant to Austrian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, the Group management report is to be audited as to whether it is consistent with the consolidated financial statements and as to whether it was prepared in accordance with the applicable legal regulations.
Management is responsible for the preparation of the Group’s management report in accordance with Austrian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
We conducted our audit in accordance with Austrian Standards on Auditing for the audit of the Group’s management report.
In our opinion, the management report for the group was prepared in accordance with the applicable legal requirements, contains appropriate indications according to Section 243a Companies Act and is consistent with the consolidated financial statements.
Based on the findings during the audit of the consolidated financial statements and due to the thus obtained understanding concerning the Group and its circumstances no material misstatements in the Group’s management report came to our attention.
Management is responsible for the other information. The other information comprises the information included in the annual report, but does not include the consolidated financial statements, the Group’s management report and the auditor’s report thereon. The annual report is estimated to be provided to us after the date of the auditor’s report. Our opinion on the consolidated financial statements does not cover the other information and we do not express any form of assurance conclusion thereon.
In connection with our audit of the consolidated financial statements, our responsibility is to read the other information, as soon as it is available, and, in doing so, to consider whether – based on our knowledge obtained in the audit – the other information is materially inconsistent with the consolidated financial statements or otherwise appears to be materially misstated.
Additional information in accordance with article 10 of the EU regulation
We were elected as auditor by the annual shareholders’ meeting on July 5, 2017. We were engaged by the Supervisory Board on December 14, 2017. We are auditors without cease since the company’s initial public offering in October 1995.
We confirm that the audit opinion in the section “Report on the consolidated financial statements” is consistent with the additional report to the audit committee referred to in article 11 of the EU regulation.
We declare that no prohibited non-audit services (article 5 par. 1 of the EU regulation) were provided by us and that we remained independent of the audited company in conducting the audit.
We provided no further services, in addition to the statutory audit, to the audited company and its controlled undertakings, which have not been disclosed in the group’s management report or in the consolidated financial statements.
Responsible Austrian Certified Public Accountant
The engagement partner on the audit resulting in this independent auditor’s report is Univ.Doz. Dr. Walter Platzer, Certified Public Accountant.
Vienna, May 25, 2018
Grant Thornton Unitreu GmbH
Wirtschaftsprüfungs- und Steuerberatungsgesellschaft
Univ. Doz. Dr. Walter Platzer
This report is a translation of the original report in German, which is solely valid.
Publication or sharing with third parties of the group financial statements together with our auditor’s opinion is only allowed if the financial statements and the management report are identical with the audited version. This audit opinion is only applicable to the German and complete financial statements with the management report. Section 281 paragraph 2 UGB (Austrian Company Code) applies to alternated versions.