IASB publishes proposals for limited amendments to equity accounting

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22 Nov 2012

The International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) has released Exposure Draft ED/2012/3 'Equity Method: Share of Other Net Asset Changes', which proposes limited scope amendments to IAS 28 to include guidance on how an investor accounts for its share of the changes in net assets of an associate or joint venture that are not recognised in profit or loss or other comprehensive income of the investee ('other net asset changes').

The issue of how an investor should account for other net asset changes arose from consequential amendments to IAS 28 Investments in Associates made in 2007, which removed explicit guidance previously in that standard.  The issue was initially considered by the IFRS Interpretations Committee, who recommended the IASB make a limited scope amendment to IAS 28 Investments in Associates and Joint Ventures (2011).  IAS 28 (2011) carries over the core equity method requirements from the earlier version of IAS 28 and is effective from 1 January 2013, meaning the previous version could not be amended prior to it being superseded.

The proposals in ED/2012/3 would require an investor to recognise in its own equity its share of the changes in the net assets of the investee that are not recognised in profit or loss or other comprehensive income of the investee, or that are not distributions received.

Examples of transactions of an associate or joint venture which may result in other net assets changes include:

  • issues of additional share capital to parties other than the investor
  • buy-backs of equity instruments from shareholders other than the investor
  • writing of a put option over the investee's own equity instruments to other shareholders
  • purchase or sale of non-controlling interests in the investee's subsidiaries
  • equity-settled share-based payments.

The calculation of the amount recognised in equity may also reflect the change (if any) in the investor's ownership interest caused by the transaction giving rise to the other net asset change, e.g. a reduction in ownership interest because of the issue of shares by an associate to other shareholders.

The proposed approach would effectively reinstate the requirements of IAS 28 prior to the 2007 amendment and as such is a short-term solution to address diversity in practice until such time as the IASB gives broader consideration to the equity method of accounting.

An effective date for the amendments will be announced after exposure.

The ED contains an alternative view by on of the board members who believes  that the amendment is inconsistent with concepts of other IFRSs (IAS 1, IFRS 10), and would cause serious conceptual confusion. This board member is of the opinion that this short-term solution would not improve financial reporting but would instead undermine a basic concept of consolidated financial statements.

The exposure draft is open for a comment period of 120 days, and closes on 22 March 2013.

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