Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements
Note 1 — Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
Nature of Business — Abbott’s principal business is the discovery, development, manufacture and sale of a broad line of health care products.
Concentration Of Risk And Guarantees — Due to the nature of its operations, Abbott is not subject to significant concentration risks relating to customers, products or geographic locations, except that three U.S. wholesalers accounted for 22 percent of trade receivables as of December 31, 2011 and 23 percent of trade receivables as of December 31, 2010 and 2009. In addition, governmental accounts in Greece, Portugal, Italy and Spain accounted for 23 percent, 21 percent, and 24 percent of total net trade receivables as of December 31, 2011, 2010, and 2009, respectively. Product warranties are not significant.
Abbott has no material exposures to off-balance sheet arrangements; no special purpose entities; nor activities that include non-exchange-traded contracts accounted for at fair value. Abbott has periodically entered into agreements in the ordinary course of business, such as assignment of product rights, with other companies which has resulted in Abbott becoming secondarily liable for obligations that Abbott was previously primarily liable. Since Abbott no longer maintains a business relationship with the other parties, Abbott is unable to develop an estimate of the maximum potential amount of future payments, if any, under these obligations. Based upon past experience, the likelihood of payments under these agreements is remote. Abbott periodically acquires a business or product rights in which Abbott agrees to pay contingent consideration based on attaining certain thresholds or based on the occurrence of certain events.
Basis of Consolidation and Change in Accounting Principle — Prior to January 1, 2011, the accounts of foreign subsidiaries were consolidated based on a fiscal year ended November 30 due to the time needed to consolidate these subsidiaries. Effective January 1, 2011, the one month lag in the consolidation of the accounts of foreign subsidiaries was eliminated and the year-end of foreign subsidiaries was changed to December 31. Abbott believes that the change in accounting principle related to the elimination of the one month reporting lag is preferable because it will result in more contemporaneous reporting of the results of foreign subsidiaries. In accordance with applicable accounting literature, a change in subsidiaries’ year-end is treated as a change in accounting principle and requires retrospective application. The cumulative effect of the change was an increase in retained earnings of $289 million as of January 1, 2009 and a corresponding decrease in other long-term liabilities. The impact of the change was not material to the results of operations for the previously reported annual and interim periods after January 1, 2009, and thus, those results have not been revised. A charge of $137 million was recorded to Other (income) expense, net in 2011 to recognize the cumulative immaterial impacts to 2009 and 2010. Had the financial statements been revised, net sales, operating earnings and net earnings in 2009 would have increased by $211 million, $36 million and $38 million, respectively, and net sales, operating earnings and net earnings in 2010 would have decreased by $21 million, $195 million and $175 million, respectively.
The balance sheets as of December 31, 2010 and 2009 have been appropriately revised to include long-term deferred tax liabilities of $1.1 billion and $165 million, respectively, within Post-employment obligations and other long-term liabilities. Such amounts had previously been netted within Deferred income taxes and other assets.
In 2011, Abbott changed its presentation of comprehensive income to include a Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income in accordance with FASB ASC No. 220, “Comprehensive Income.”
Use of Estimates — The financial statements have been prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States and necessarily include amounts based on estimates and assumptions by management. Actual results could differ from those amounts. Significant estimates include amounts for sales rebates, income taxes, pension and other post-employment benefits, valuation of intangible assets, litigation, derivative financial instruments, and inventory and accounts receivable exposures.
Revenue Recognition — Revenue from product sales is recognized upon passage of title and risk of loss to customers. Provisions for discounts, rebates and sales incentives to customers, and returns and other adjustments are provided for in the period the related sales are recorded. Sales incentives to customers are not material. Historical data is readily available and reliable, and is used for estimating the amount of the reduction in gross sales. Revenue from the launch of a new product, from an improved version of an existing product, or for shipments in excess of a customer’s normal requirements are recorded when the conditions noted above are met. In those situations, management records a returns reserve for such revenue, if necessary. In certain of Abbott’s businesses, primarily within diagnostics and medical optics, Abbott participates in selling arrangements that include multiple deliverables (e.g., instruments, reagents, procedures, and service agreements). Under these arrangements, Abbott recognizes revenue upon delivery of the product or performance of the service and allocates the revenue based on the relative selling price of each deliverable, which is based primarily on vendor specific objective evidence. Sales of product rights for marketable products are recorded as revenue upon disposition of the rights. Revenue from license of product rights, or for performance of research or selling activities, is recorded over the periods earned.
Income Taxes — Deferred income taxes are provided for the tax effect of differences between the tax bases of assets and liabilities and their reported amounts in the financial statements at the enacted statutory rate to be in effect when the taxes are paid. U.S. income taxes are provided on those earnings of foreign subsidiaries which are intended to be remitted to the parent company. Deferred income taxes are not provided on undistributed earnings reinvested indefinitely in foreign subsidiaries as working capital and plant and equipment. Interest and penalties on income tax obligations are included in taxes on income.
Earnings Per Share — Unvested restricted stock units and awards that contain non-forfeitable rights to dividends are treated as participating securities and are included in the computation of earnings per share under the two-class method. Under the two-class method, net earnings are allocated between common shares and participating securities. Net earnings allocated to common shares in 2011, 2010 and 2009 were $4.714 billion, $4.613 billion and $5.733 billion, respectively.
Pension and Post-Employment Benefits — Abbott accrues for the actuarially determined cost of pension and post-employment benefits over the service attribution periods of the employees. Abbott must develop long-term assumptions, the most significant of which are the health care cost trend rates, discount rates and the expected return on plan assets. Differences between the expected long-term return on plan assets and the actual return are amortized over a five-year period. Actuarial losses and gains are amortized over the remaining service attribution periods of the employees under the corridor method.
Fair Value Measurements — For assets and liabilities that are measured using quoted prices in active markets, total fair value is the published market price per unit multiplied by the number of units held without consideration of transaction costs. Assets and liabilities that are measured using significant other observable inputs are valued by reference to similar assets or liabilities, adjusted for contract restrictions and other terms specific to that asset or liability. For these items, a significant portion of fair value is derived by reference to quoted prices of similar assets or liabilities in active markets. For all remaining assets and liabilities, fair value is derived using a fair value model, such as a discounted cash flow model or Black-Scholes model. Purchased intangible assets are recorded at fair value. The fair value of significant purchased intangible assets is based on independent appraisals. Abbott uses a discounted cash flow model to value intangible assets. The discounted cash flow model requires assumptions about the timing and amount of future net cash flows, risk, the cost of capital, terminal values and market participants. Intangible assets, goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets are reviewed for impairment at least on a quarterly and annual basis, respectively.
Share-Based Compensation — The value of stock options and restricted stock awards and units are amortized over their service period, which could be shorter than the vesting period if an employee is retirement eligible, with a charge to compensation expense.
Litigation — Abbott accounts for litigation losses in accordance with FASB ASC No. 450, “Contingencies.” Under ASC No. 450, loss contingency provisions are recorded for probable losses at management’s best estimate of a loss, or when a best estimate cannot be made, a minimum loss contingency amount is recorded. Legal fees are recorded as incurred.
Cash, Cash Equivalents and Investments — Cash equivalents consist of time deposits and certificates of deposit with original maturities of three months or less. Investments in marketable equity securities and certain investments in debt securities are classified as available-for-sale and are recorded at fair value with any unrealized holding gains or losses, net of tax, included in Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss). Investments in equity securities that are not traded on public stock exchanges are recorded at cost. Investments in other debt securities are classified as held-to-maturity, as management has both the intent and ability to hold these securities to maturity, and are reported at cost, net of any unamortized premium or discount. Income relating to these securities is reported as interest income.
Abbott reviews the carrying value of investments each quarter to determine whether an other than temporary decline in market value exists. Abbott considers factors affecting the investee, factors affecting the industry the investee operates in and general equity market trends. Abbott considers the length of time an investment’s market value has been below carrying value and the near-term prospects for recovery to carrying value. When Abbott determines that an other than temporary decline has occurred, the investment is written down with a charge to Other (income) expense, net.
Trade Receivable Valuations — Accounts receivable are stated at their net realizable value. The allowance against gross trade receivables reflects the best estimate of probable losses inherent in the receivables portfolio determined on the basis of historical experience, specific allowances for known troubled accounts and other currently available information. Accounts receivable are charged off after all reasonable means to collect the full amount (including litigation, where appropriate) have been exhausted.
Inventories — Inventories are stated at the lower of cost (first-in, first-out basis) or market. Cost includes material and conversion costs.
Property and Equipment — Depreciation and amortization are provided on a straight-line basis over the estimated useful lives of the assets. The following table shows estimated useful lives of property and equipment:
Estimated Useful Lives
10 to 50 years (average 27 years)
3 to 20 years (average 11 years)
Product Liability — Abbott accrues for product liability claims, on an undiscounted basis, when it is probable that a liability has been incurred and the amount of the liability can be reasonably estimated based on existing information. The liabilities are adjusted quarterly as additional information becomes available. Receivables for insurance recoveries for product liability claims are recorded as assets, on an undiscounted basis, when it is probable that a recovery will be realized. Product liability losses are self-insured.
Research and Development Costs — Internal research and development costs are expensed as incurred. Clinical trial costs incurred by third parties are expensed as the contracted work is performed. Where contingent milestone payments are due to third parties under research and development arrangements, the milestone payment obligations are expensed when the milestone results are achieved.
Acquired In-Process and Collaborations Research and Development (IPR&D) — The initial costs of rights to IPR&D projects obtained in an asset acquisition are expensed as IPR&D unless the project has an alternative future use. These costs include initial payments incurred prior to regulatory approval in connection with research and development collaboration agreements that provide rights to develop, manufacture, market and/or sell pharmaceutical products. The fair value of IPR&D projects acquired in a business combination are capitalized and accounted for as indefinite-lived intangible assets.