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1. Accounting policies and presentation

The Group’s key accounting policies are summarised below.

Basis of preparation and consolidation

The consolidated financial statements (the ‘statements’) have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as endorsed and adopted for use by the European Union. These statements have been prepared using all standards and interpretations required for financial periods beginning 1 January 2008. No standards or interpretations have been adopted before the required implementation date.

No new, amended or revised standards were required to be applied to these statements. IFRIC 11 and 14 have been applied to these statements with no impact. IFRIC 12 also became effective but is not relevant.

These statements have been prepared under the historical cost method except where other measurement bases are required to be applied under IFRS as set out below.

Basis of consolidation

The statements incorporate the financial statements of the Company and its subsidiaries (together ‘the Group’) and the Group’s share of the results and equity of its joint ventures.

Subsidiaries are entities over which, either directly or indirectly, the Company has control through the power to govern financial operating policies so as to obtain benefit from their activities. Except as noted below, this power is accompanied by a shareholding of more than 50% of the voting rights. The results of subsidiaries acquired or sold during the year are included in the Group’s results from the date of acquisition or up to the date of disposal. All business combinations are accounted for by the purchase method. Assets, liabilities and contingent liabilities acquired in a business combination are measured at fair value.

In a single case the Company indirectly owns 100% of the voting share capital of an entity but is precluded from exercising either control or joint control by a contractual agreement with the United States Department of Defense. In accordance with IAS 27 this entity has been excluded from the consolidation and treated as an investment. Further details are contained in note 14.

Intra-group balances, transactions, income and expenses are eliminated.

Minority interests represent the portion of shareholders’ earnings and equity attributable to third party shareholders.

Joint ventures

Joint ventures are entities in which the Group has a long term interest and exercises joint control with its partners over their financial and operating policies. In all cases voting rights are 50% or lower. Investments in joint ventures are accounted for by the equity method. The Group’s share of equity includes goodwill arising on acquisition.

The Group’s share of profits and losses resulting from transactions between the Group and joint ventures are eliminated.

Foreign currencies

Subsidiaries and joint ventures account in the currency of their primary economic environment of operation, determined having regard to the currency which mainly influences sales revenue and input costs. Transactions are translated at exchange rates approximating to the rate ruling on the date of the transaction except in the case of material transactions where actual spot rate may be used if it more accurately reflects the underlying substance of the transaction. Where practicable, transactions involving foreign currencies are protected by forward contracts. Assets and liabilities in foreign currencies are translated at the exchange rates ruling at the balance sheet date.

Material foreign currency movements arising on the translation of intra-group balances treated as part of the net investment in a subsidiary are recognised through equity. Movements on other intra-group balances are recognised through the income statement.

The Group’s presentational currency is sterling. On consolidation, results and cash flows of foreign subsidiaries and joint ventures are translated to sterling at average exchange rates. Assets and liabilities are translated at the exchange rates ruling at the balance sheet date.

Profits and losses on the realisation of currency net investments include the accumulated net exchange differences that have arisen on the retranslation of the currency net investments since 1 January 2004 up to the date of realisation.

Presentation of the income statement

IFRS is not fully prescriptive as to the format of the income statement. Line items and subtotals have been presented on the face of the income statement in addition to those required under IFRS.

Sales shown in the income statement are those of continuing subsidiaries.

Operating profit is profit or loss before discontinued operations, taxation, finance costs and the share of post-tax profit of joint ventures accounted for using the equity method. In order to achieve consistency and comparability between reporting periods, operating profit is analysed to show separately the results of normal trading performance and individually significant charges and credits. Such items arise because of their size or nature and, in 2008, comprise:

  • charges relating to the Group-wide restructuring programmes announced in 2004 and 2008;
  • the impact of the annual goodwill impairment review;
  • asset impairment and restructuring charges which arise from events which are significant to any reportable segment;
  • amortisation of the fair value of non-operating intangible assets arising on business combinations;
  • profits or losses on businesses sold or closed which do not meet the definition of discontinued operations or which the Group views as capital rather than revenue in nature; and
  • changes in the fair value of derivative financial instruments between the opening and closing balance sheets and material currency translation movement arising on intra-group funding transactions.

The Group’s post-tax share of joint venture profits is shown as a separate component of profit before tax. Material restructuring and impairment charges are separately identified.

Net finance costs are analysed to show separately interest payable, interest receivable and the net of interest payable on post-employment obligations and the expected return on pension scheme assets.

Revenue recognition


Revenue from the sale of goods is measured at the fair value of the consideration receivable which generally equates to the invoiced amount, excluding sales taxes and net of allowances for returns, early settlement discounts and rebates.

Invoices for goods are raised when the risks and rewards of ownership have passed which, dependent upon contractual terms, may be at the point of despatch, acceptance by the customer or, in Aerospace, certification by the customer. Revenue from royalties and the rendering of services is not significant.

Certain businesses, principally those in Powder Metallurgy, recognise an element of revenue via a surcharge mechanism. The surcharge invoiced or credited is generally based on prior period movement in raw material price indices applied to current period deliveries. In those instances where recovery of such increases is guaranteed, irrespective of the level of future deliveries, revenue is recognised, or due allowance made, in the same period as the cost movement takes place.

Other income

Interest income is recognised using the effective interest method. Revenue from dividends is not significant.

Sales and other income is recognised in the income statement when it can be reliably measured and its collectability is reasonably assured.

Property, plant and equipment

Property, plant and equipment is stated at cost less accumulated depreciation and impairment charges.


Cost comprises the purchase price plus costs directly incurred in bringing the asset into use. Where freehold and long leasehold properties were carried at a valuation at 23 March 2000, these values have been retained as book values and therefore deemed cost at the date of the IFRS transition. Borrowing costs are not capitalised.

Where assets are in the course of construction at the balance sheet date they are classified as capital work in progress. Transfers are made to other asset categories when they are available for use.


Depreciation is not provided on freehold land or capital work in progress. In the case of all other categories of property, plant and equipment, depreciation is provided on a straight line basis over the course of the financial year from the date the asset is available for use.

Depreciation is applied to specific classes of asset so as to reduce them to their residual values over their estimated useful lives, which are reviewed annually.

The range of main rates of depreciation used are:

Freehold buildings Up to 50
Steel powder production plant 18
General plant, machinery, fixtures and fittings 6 to 15
Computers 3 to 5
Commercial vehicles and cars 4 to 5

Property, plant and equipment is reviewed at least annually for indications of impairment. Impairments are charged to the income statement. Similarly, where property, plant and equipment has been impaired and subsequent reviews demonstrate the recoverable value is in excess of the impaired value an impairment reversal is recorded. The amount of the reversal cannot exceed the theoretical net book amount at the date of the reversal had the item not been impaired. Impairment reversals are credited to the income statement against the same line item to which the impairment was previously charged.

Costs attributable to leasehold properties are written off to profit by equal annual instalments over the period of the lease or 50 years, whichever is the shorter.

Leased assets

Operating lease rentals are charged to the income statement as incurred over the lease term. Where fixed assets are financed by leasing arrangements which give rights approximating to ownership, the assets are treated as if they had been purchased and the capital element of the leasing commitment is shown as a finance lease liability. The asset and liability are measured at the fair value of the leased asset or, if lower, the present value of the minimum lease payments, each determined at the inception of the lease. The rentals payable are apportioned between interest, which is charged to the income statement, and capital which reduces the outstanding obligation. The asset is depreciated or amortised in line with similar owned assets.

Discontinued operations

The profit or loss on discontinued operations comprises the trading results up to the date of disposal or discontinuance and the profit or loss on the disposal or closure where businesses are sold or closed by the date on which the financial statements are approved. A discontinued operation is a business or businesses that have either been disposed of or closed or satisfies the criteria to be classified as held for sale and that represents either a material line of business within the Group or within one of its reported segments or a primary geographical area of operation. Where businesses fall to be treated as discontinued in the current year the comparative data is reclassified to reflect those businesses as discontinued.

Financial assets and liabilities

Borrowings are measured initially at fair value which usually equates to proceeds received and includes transaction costs. Borrowings are subsequently measured at amortised cost.

Cash and cash equivalents comprise cash on hand and demand deposits and overdrafts together with highly liquid investments of less than three months maturity. Unless an enforceable right of set-off exists and there is an intention to net settle, the components of cash and cash equivalents are reflected on a gross basis in the balance sheet.

The carrying value of other financial assets and liabilities, including short term receivables and payables, are stated at amortised cost less any impairment provision unless the impact of the time value of money is considered to be material.

Derivative financial instruments

The Group does not trade in derivative financial instruments. Derivative financial instruments including forward foreign exchange contracts are used by the Group to manage its exposure to (i) risk associated with the variability in cash flows in relation to both recognised assets or liabilities or forecast transactions and (ii) changes in the value of the Group’s net investment in overseas operations. All derivative financial instruments are measured at the balance sheet date at their fair value.

Where derivative financial instruments are not designated as or not determined to be effective hedges, any gain or loss on remeasurement is taken to the income statement. Where derivative financial instruments are designated as and are effective as cash flow hedges, any gain or loss on remeasurement is held in equity and recycled through the income statement when the designated item is transacted.

Remeasurement gains and losses on derivative financial instruments held as net investment hedges are recognised in equity via the statement of recognised income and expense to the extent it is effective until the instrument and the underlying hedged investment are sold, when the profit or loss arising is recognised in the income statement.

Gains or losses on derivative financial instruments no longer designated as effective hedges are taken directly to the income statement.

Derivatives embedded in non-derivative host contracts are recognised at their fair value when the nature, characteristics and risks of the derivative are not closely related to the host contract. Gains and losses arising on the remeasurement of these embedded derivatives at each balance sheet date are taken to the income statement.


Goodwill consists of the excess of the fair value of the consideration over the fair value of the identifiable intangible and tangible assets net of the fair value of the liabilities including contingencies of businesses acquired at the date of acquisition.

Goodwill in respect of business combinations of subsidiaries is recognised as an intangible asset. Goodwill arising on the acquisition of a joint venture is included in the carrying value of the investment.

Where negative goodwill arises, following reassessment of fair values, it is credited to the income statement in the period in which the acquisition is made.

Goodwill is not amortised but tested at least annually for impairment. Impairments are charged to the income statement. Goodwill is carried at cost less any recognised impairment losses that arise from the annual assessment of its carrying value. To the extent that the carrying value exceeds the recoverable amount, determined as the higher of estimated discounted future net cash flows or recoverable amount on a fair value less cost to sell basis, goodwill is written down to the recoverable amount and an impairment charge is recognised in the income statement.

Other intangible assets

Other intangible assets are stated at cost less accumulated amortisation and impairment charges.

Computer software

Where computer software is not integral to an item of property, plant or equipment its costs are capitalised and categorised as intangible assets. Cost comprises the purchase price plus costs directly incurred in bringing the asset into use. Amortisation is provided on a straight line basis over its economic useful life which is in the range of 3–5 years.

Development costs

Where development expenditure results in a new or substantially improved product or process and it is probable that this expenditure will be recovered it is capitalised. Amortisation is charged from the date the asset is available for use. In Aerospace, amortisation is charged over the asset’s life up to maximum of fifteen years either on a straight line basis or, where sufficient contractual terms exist, a unit of production method is applied. In Automotive, amortisation is charged on a straight line basis over the asset’s life up to a maximum of seven years.

Capitalised development costs are subject to annual impairment reviews. Impairments are charged to the income statement.

Research expenditure is written off as incurred.

Assets acquired on business combinations — non-operating intangible assets

Non-operating intangible assets are intangible assets that are acquired as a result of a business combination, which arise from contractual or other legal rights and are not transferable or separable. On initial recognition they are measured at fair value. Amortisation is charged on a straight line basis to the income statement over their expected useful lives which are:

Marketing related assets — brands and trademarks 30–50
                                          — agreements not to complete Life of agreement
Customer related assets 2–15
Technology based assets 5–10


Inventories are valued at the lower of cost and estimated net realisable value with due allowance being made for obsolete or slow-moving items. Cost is determined on a first in, first out or weighted average cost basis. Cost includes raw materials, direct labour, other direct costs and the relevant proportion of works overheads assuming normal levels of activity. Net realisable value is the estimated selling price less estimated selling costs and costs to complete.


Current and deferred tax are recognised in the income statement unless they relate to items recognised directly in equity when the related tax is also recognised in equity.

Full provision is made for deferred tax on all temporary timing differences resulting from the difference between the carrying value of an asset or liability in the consolidated financial statements and its tax base. The amount of deferred tax reflects the expected manner of realisation or settlement of the carrying amount of the assets and liabilities using tax rates enacted or substantively enacted at the balance sheet date.

Deferred tax assets are reviewed at each balance sheet date and are only recognised to the extent that it is probable that they will be recovered against future taxable profits.

Deferred tax is recognised on the unremitted profits of joint ventures. No deferred tax is recognised on the unremitted profits of overseas branches and subsidiaries except to the extent that it is probable that such earnings will be remitted to the parent in the foreseeable future.

Pensions and post-employment benefits

The Group’s pension arrangements comprise various defined benefit and defined contribution schemes throughout the world. In the UK and in certain overseas companies pension arrangements are made through externally funded defined benefit schemes, the contributions to which are based on the advice of independent actuaries or in accordance with the rules of the schemes. In other overseas companies funds are retained within the business to provide for retirement obligations.

The Group also operates a number of defined contribution and defined benefit arrangements which provide certain employees with defined post-employment healthcare benefits.

The Group accounts for all post-employment defined benefit schemes through full recognition of the schemes’ surpluses or deficits on the balance sheet at the end of each year. Actuarial gains and losses are included in the statement of recognised income and expense. Current and past service costs, curtailments and settlements are recognised within operating profit. Returns on scheme assets and interest on obligations are recognised as a component of other net financing charges.

For defined contribution arrangements the cost charged to the income statement represents the Group’s contributions to the relevant schemes in the period in which they fall due.

Share-based payments

Share options granted to employees and share-based arrangements put in place since 7 November 2002 are valued at the date of grant or award using an appropriate option pricing model and are charged to operating profit over the performance or vesting period of the scheme. The annual charge is modified to take account of shares forfeited by employees who leave during the performance or vesting period and, in the case of nonmarket related performance conditions, where it becomes unlikely the option will vest.

Government grants

Grants receivable from governments or similar bodies are credited to the balance sheet in the period in which the conditions relating to the grant are met. Where they relate to specific assets they are amortised on a straight line basis over the same period as the asset is depreciated. Where they relate to revenue expenditure and/or non-asset criteria they are taken to the income statement to match the period in which the expenditure is incurred and criteria met.

Treasury shares

GKN shares which have been purchased and not cancelled are held as treasury shares and deducted from shareholders’ equity.


The annual final dividend is not provided for until approved at the annual general meeting whilst interim dividends are charged in the period they are paid.

Standards, revisions and amendments to standards and interpretations issued but not yet applied

The Group does not intend to adopt any standard, revision or amendment before the required implementation date. The following standards and amendments are likely to impact the reporting of the Group’s results, assets and liabilities.

IFRS 8 ‘Operating Segments’ was issued in November 2006 and is required to be implemented from 1 January 2009. It requires operating segments to be identified on the basis of internal reports about components of the Group that are regularly reviewed by the Chief Operating Decision Maker, as defined in the standard, to allocate resources to the segments and to assess their performance, and supersedes IAS 14 ‘Segment Reporting’. The effect of this standard on Group disclosures is still to be fully determined.

IAS 23 (Amendments) ‘Borrowing Costs’ came into effect on 1 January 2009. The Group will apply this standard prospectively. Currently the Group has no borrowings directly attributable to qualifying assets. In relation to an Aerospace investment programme the Group is currently in discussion with third parties on funding options which may result in borrowing costs, directly attributable to qualifying assets, being capitalised. It is not yet possible to quantify the impact of this.

The following is a summary of relevant revisions and amendments to standards and interpretations which are unlikely to have a material impact on the Group’s results, assets or liabilities.

IAS 39 (Amendment) and IFRS 7 (Amendment) regarding reclassification of financial assets.

IAS 1 (Revised) and IAS 1 (Amendment) regarding presentation of financial statements.

IAS 39 (Amendment) regarding eligible hedged items.

IFRS 2 (Amendment) regarding vesting conditions.

IAS 27 (Revised) and IFRS 3 (Revised) regarding non-controlling interests and business combinations.

IAS 36 (Amendment) regarding disclosure of calculation of fair value less costs to sell.

IFRS 5 (Amendment) regarding disclosure of assets and liabilities when there is a partial loss of control.

IAS 38 (Amendments) regarding methods of amortisation and recognition of prepaid goods and services.

IAS 19 (Amendment) regarding difference between past service cost and curtailment, definition of return on plan assets and long and short term employee benefits.

IFRIC 16 ‘Hedges of a net investment in a foreign operation’.

IAS 31 (Amendment) regarding joint ventures accounted for in accordance with IAS 39.

IAS 20 (Amendment) regarding the benefit of a below-market rate government loan.

There are a number of standards, amendments to standards and interpretations that are not relevant to the Group which have therefore not been listed above.

Significant judgements, key assumptions and estimates

The Group’s significant accounting policies are set out above. The preparation of financial statements, in conformity with IFRS, requires the use of estimates, subjective judgement and assumptions that may affect the amounts of assets and liabilities at the balance sheet date and reported profit and earnings for the year. The Directors base these estimates, judgements and assumptions on a combination of past experience, professional expert advice and other evidence that is relevant to the particular circumstance.

The accounting policies where the Directors consider the more complex estimates, judgements and assumptions have to be made are those in respect of acquired non-operating intangible assets — business combinations (note 24), post-employment obligations (note 26), derivative and other financial instruments (note 3e and note 20), taxation (note 5) and impairment of non-current assets (note 11 and note 12). The details of the principal estimates, judgements and assumptions made are set out in the related notes as identified.

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