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Puttable instruments and obligations arising on liquidation

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14 Feb 2008

The IASB has amended IAS 32 'Financial Instruments: Presentation' with respect to the balance sheet classification of puttable financial instruments and obligations arising only on liquidation.

Under the current requirements of IAS 32, if an issuer can be required to pay or transfer cash or another financial asset in return for redeeming or repurchasing a financial instrument, the instrument is classified as a financial liability.

As a result of the amendments, some financial instruments that currently meet the definition of a financial liability will be classified as equity because they represent the residual interest in the net assets of the entity.

The amendments have detailed criteria for identifying such instruments, but they generally would include:

  • Puttable instruments that are subordinate to all other classes of instruments and that entitle the holder to a pro rata share of the entity's net assets in the event of the entity's liquidation. A puttable instrument is a financial instrument that gives the holder the right to put the instrument back to the issuer for cash or another financial asset or is automatically put back to the issuer on the occurrence of an uncertain future event or the death or retirement of the instrument holder.
  • Instruments, or components of instruments, that are subordinate to all other classes of instruments and that impose on the entity an obligation to deliver to another party a pro rata share of the net assets of the entity only on liquidation.

The Board also amended IAS 1 Presentation of Financial Statements to add new disclosure requirements relating to puttable instruments and obligations arising on liquidation.

The amendments result from proposals that were in an Exposure Draft published by the Board in June 2006. The amendments are effective for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2009, with earlier application permitted.

Click for IASB Press Release (PDF 51k).

 

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