1 Significant accounting policies

The company

Rolls-Royce Group plc (the 'Company') is a company domiciled in the United Kingdom. The consolidated financial statements of the Company for the year ended December 31, 2008 comprise the Company and its subsidiaries (together referred to as the 'Group') and the Group's interest in jointly controlled entities. The financial statements were authorised for issue by the directors on February 11, 2009.

Basis of preparation and statement of compliance

In accordance with European Union (EU) regulations, these financial statements have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), as adopted for use in the EU effective at December 31, 2008 (Adopted IFRS). The Company has elected to prepare its parent company accounts under UK Generally Accepted Accounting Practices (GAAP).

The financial statements have been prepared on the historical cost basis except where Adopted IFRS require an alternative treatment. The principal variations from the historical cost basis relate to pensions (IAS 19), monetary items (IAS 21), financial instruments (IAS 39) and share-based payments (IFRS 2).

The Group’s significant accounting policies are set out below, together with the judgements made by management in applying these policies that have the most significant effect on the amounts recognised in the financial statements, apart from those involving estimations, which are dealt with separately below. These accounting policies have been applied consistently to all periods presented in these consolidated financial statements and by all Group entities.

Basis of consolidation

The Group financial statements include the financial statements of the Company and all of its subsidiary undertakings made up to December 31, together with the Group’s share of the results of joint ventures up to December 31.

A subsidiary is an entity controlled by the Company. Control exists when the Company has the power, directly or indirectly, to govern the financial and operating policies of the entity so as to derive benefits from its activities.

A joint venture is an entity in which the Group holds a long-term interest and which is jointly controlled by the Group and one or more other venturers under a contractual arrangement. The results of joint ventures are accounted for using the equity method of accounting.

Any subsidiary undertakings and joint ventures sold or acquired during the year are included up to, or from, the dates of change of control.

All intra-group transactions, balances, income and expenses are eliminated on consolidation.

Significant accounting policies and judgements applied

Revenue recognition
Revenues comprise sales to outside customers after discounts, excluding value added tax.

Sales of products are recognized when the significant risks and rewards of ownership of the goods are transferred to the customer, the sales price agreed and the receipt of payment can be assured. On occasion, the Group may participate in the financing of engines in conjunction with airframe manufacturers. In such circumstances, the contingent obligations arising under these arrangements are taken into account in assessing whether significant risks and rewards of ownership have been transferred to the customer. Where it is judged that sufficient risks and rewards are not transferred, the transaction is treated as a leasing transaction, resulting in an operating lease between the Group and the customer. No deliveries of engines were treated as operating leases during 2008. Depending on the specific circumstances, where applicable, the financing arrangements may result in the consolidation of the entity established to facilitate the financing. Such special purpose entities will be consolidated as required by IAS 27 Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements if it is considered that the Group controls the entity. No such entities were consolidated at December 31, 2008.

Sales of services are recognised by reference to the stage of completion based on services performed to date. The assessment of the stage of completion is dependent on the nature of the contract, but will generally be based on: costs incurred to the extent these relate to services performed up to the reporting date; achievement of contractual milestones where appropriate; or flying hours or equivalent for long-term aftermarket arrangements.

Linked sales of products and services are treated as a single contract where these components have been negotiated as a single commercial package and are so closely interrelated that they do not operate independently of each other and are considered to form a single project with an overall profit margin. Revenue is recognised on the same basis as for other sales of products and services as described above.

Provided that the outcome of construction contracts can be assessed with reasonable certainty, the revenues and costs on such contracts are recognized based on stage of completion and the overall contract profitability.

Full provision is made for any estimated losses to completion of contracts having regard to the overall substance of the arrangements.

Progress payments received, when greater than recorded revenue, are deducted from the value of work in progress except to the extent that payments on account exceed the value of work in progress on any contract where the excess is included in trade and other payables. The amount by which recorded revenue of long-term contracts is in excess of payments on account is classified as amounts recoverable on contract’s and is separately disclosed within trade and other receivables.

Risk and revenue sharing partnerships (RRSPs)
From time to time, the Group enters into arrangements with partners who, in return for a share in future programme revenues or profits, make cash payments that are not refundable (except under certain remote circumstances). Cash sums received, which reimburse the Group for past expenditure, are credited to other operating income. The arrangements also require partners to undertake development work and/or supply components for use in the programme at their own expense. No accounting entries are recorded where partners undertake such development work or where programme components are supplied by partners because no obligation arises unless and until programme sales are made; instead, payments to partners for their share in the programme are charged to cost of sales as programme revenues arise.

The Group has arrangements with partners who do not undertake Development work or supply parts. Such arrangements are considered to be financial instruments as defined by IAS 32 Financial Instruments: Presentation and are accounted for using the amortised cost method.

Government investment
Where a government or similar body invests in a development programme, the Group treats such receipts as the sale of an interest in the programme. Subsequent payments are royalty payments and are matched to related sales.

Government grants
Government grants are recognised in the income statement so as to match them with the related expenses that they are intended to compensate. Where grants are received in advance of the related expenses, they are included in the balance sheet as deferred income. Non-monetary grants are recognised at fair value.

Interest receivable/payable is credited/charged to the income statement using the effective interest method. The Group does not capitalise any borrowing costs.

The tax charge on the profit or loss for the year comprises current and deferred tax. Current tax is the expected tax payable for the year, using tax rates enacted or substantively enacted at the balance sheet date, and any adjustment to tax payable in respect of previous years.

Deferred tax is provided using the balance sheet liability method, providing for temporary differences between the carrying amounts of the assets and liabilities for financial reporting purposes and the amounts used for taxation purposes.

Deferred tax liabilities are recognised for taxable temporary differences arising on investments in subsidiaries and joint ventures, except where the Group is able to control the reversal of the temporary difference and it is probable that the temporary difference will not reverse in the foreseeable future. Deferred tax is not recognised on taxable temporary differences arising on the initial recognition of goodwill or for temporary differences arising from the initial recognition of assets and liabilities in a transaction that is not a business combination and that affects neither accounting nor taxable profit.

Deferred tax is calculated using the enacted or substantively enacted rates that are expected to apply when the asset or liability is settled. Deferred tax is charged or credited in the income statement or statement of recognised income and expense as appropriate, except when it relates to items credited or charged directly to equity in which case the deferred tax is also dealt with in equity.

Deferred tax assets are recognised only to the extent that it is probable that future taxable profits will be available against which the assets can be utilised.

Segmental reporting
A segment is a distinguishable component of the Group that is engaged in providing products and services. As the risks and rates of return are predominantly affected by differences in these products and services, the primary format for reporting segment information is based on business segments.

Foreign currency translation
Transactions in overseas currencies are translated into local currency at the exchange rates ruling on the date of the transaction. Monetary assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currencies are translated into local currency at the rate ruling at the year-end. Exchange differences arising on foreign exchange transactions and the retranslation of assets and liabilities into sterling at the rate ruling at the year-end are taken into account in determining profit before taxation. The trading results of overseas undertakings are translated at the average exchange rates for the year. The assets and liabilities of overseas undertakings, including goodwill and fair value adjustments arising on acquisition, are translated at the exchange rates ruling at the year-end. Exchange adjustments arising from the retranslation of the opening net investments, and from the translation of the profits or losses at average rates, are taken to equity.

Financial instruments
IAS 39 Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement requires the classification of financial instruments into separate categories for which the accounting requirement is different. The Group has classified its financial instruments as follows:

  • Fixed deposits, principally comprising funds held with banks and other financial institutions and trade receivables, are classified as loans and receivables.
  • Investments (other than interests in joint ventures and fixed deposits) and short-term deposits (other than fixed deposits) are classified as available for sale.
  • Borrowings, trade payables, financial RRSPs and B Shares are classified as other liabilities.
  • Derivatives, comprising foreign exchange contracts, interest rate swaps and commodity swaps are classified as held for trading.

Financial instruments are recognised at the contract date and initially measured at fair value. Their subsequent measurement depends on their classification:

  • Loans and receivables and other liabilities are held at amortised cost and not revalued (except for changes in exchange rates which are included in the income statement) unless they are included in a fair value hedge accounting relationship. Where such a relationship exists, the instruments are revalued in respect of the risk being hedged. If instruments held at amortised cost are hedged, generally by interest rate swaps, and the hedges are effective, the carrying values are adjusted for changes in fair value, which are included in the income statement.
  • Available for sale assets are held at fair value. Changes in fair value arising from changes in exchange rates are included in the income statement. All other changes in fair value are taken to equity. On disposal, the accumulated changes in value recorded in equity are included in the gain or loss recorded in the income statement.
  • Held for trading instruments are held at fair value. Changes in fair value are included in the income statement unless the instrument is included in a cash flow hedge. If the instruments are included in a cash flow hedging relationship, which is effective, changes in value are taken to equity. When the hedged forecast transaction occurs, amounts previously recorded in equity are recognised in the income statement.

Financial instruments are derecognised on expiry or when all contractual rights and obligations are transferred.

Hedge accounting
The Group does not apply hedge accounting in respect of forward foreign exchange contracts held to manage the cash flow exposures of forecast transactions denominated in foreign currencies.

The Group does not apply hedge accounting in respect of commodity swaps held to manage the cash flow exposures of forecast transactions in those commodities.

The Group applies hedge accounting in respect of transactions entered into to manage the fair value and cash flow exposures of its borrowings. Forward foreign exchange contracts are held to manage the fair value exposures of borrowings denominated in foreign currencies and are designated as fair value hedges. Interest rate swaps are held to manage the interest rate exposures and are designated as fair value or cash flow hedges of fixed and floating rate borrowings respectively.

Changes in the fair values of derivatives designated as fair value hedges and changes in fair value of the related hedged item are recognised directly in the income statement.

Changes in the fair values of derivatives that are designated as cash flow hedges and are effective are recognised directly in equity. Any ineffectiveness in the hedging relationships is included in the income statement. The amounts deferred in equity are recognised in the income statement to match the recognition of the hedged item.

Hedge accounting is discontinued when the hedging instrument expires or is sold, terminated, exercised, or no longer qualifies for hedge accounting. At that time, for cash flow hedges and if the forecast transaction remains probable, any cumulative gain or loss on the hedging instrument recognised in equity is retained in equity until the forecast transaction occurs. If a hedged transaction is no longer expected to occur, the net cumulative gain or loss previously recognised in equity is transferred to the income statement.

The portion of a gain or loss on an instrument used to hedge a net investment in a foreign operation that is determined to be an effective hedge is recognised directly in equity. The ineffective portion is recognised immediately in the income statement.

Until December 31, 2004, and as allowed by IFRS 1 First-time Adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards, the Group applied hedge accounting for forecast foreign exchange transactions and commodity exposures in accordance with UK GAAP. On January 1, 2005, the fair values of derivatives used for hedging these exposures were included in the transition hedging reserve. This reserve is released to the income statement based on the designation of the hedges on January 1, 2005.

Purchased goodwill
Goodwill represents the excess of the fair value of the purchase consideration for shares in subsidiary undertakings and joint ventures over the fair value to the Group of the net of the identifiable assets acquired and the liabilities assumed.

  • To December 31, 1997: Goodwill was written off to reserves in the year of acquisition.
  • From January 1, 1998: Goodwill was recognized within intangible assets in the year in which it arose and amortised on a straight line basis over its useful economic life, up to a maximum of 20 years.
  • From January 1, 2004, in accordance with IFRS 3 Business Combinations, goodwill is recognised as per (ii) above but is no longer amortised.

Certification costs and participation fees
Costs incurred in respect of meeting regulatory certification requirements for new civil aero-engine/aircraft combinations and payments made to airframe manufacturers for this, and participation fees, are carried forward in intangible assets to the extent that they can be recovered out of future sales and are charged to the income statement over the programme life, up to a maximum of 15 years from the entry-into-service of the product.

Research and development
In accordance with IAS 38 Intangible Assets, expenditure incurred on research and development, excluding known recoverable amounts on contracts, and contributions to shared engineering programmes, is distinguished as relating either to a research phase or to a development phase.

All research phase expenditure is charged to the income statement. For development expenditure, this is capitalised as an internally generated intangible asset only if it meets strict criteria, relating in particular to technical feasibility and generation of future economic benefits.

Expenditure that cannot be classified into these two categories is treated as being incurred in the research phase. The Group considers that, due to the complex nature of new equipment programmes, it is not possible to distinguish reliably between research and development activities until relatively late in the programme.

Expenditure capitalised is amortised over its useful economic life, up to a maximum of 15 years from the entry-into-service of the product.

Recoverable engine costs
On occasion, the Group may sell original equipment to customers at a price below its cost, on the basis that this deficit will be recovered from future aftermarket sales to the original customer. Where the Group has a contractual right to supply aftermarket parts to the customer and its intellectual rights, warranty arrangements and statutory airworthiness requirements provide reasonable control over this supply, these arrangements are considered to meet the definition of an intangible asset. Such intangible assets are recognised to the extent of the deficit and amortised on a straight-line basis over the expected period of utilization by the original customer.

The cost of acquiring software that is not specific to an item of property, plant and equipment is classified as an intangible asset and amortised over its useful economic life, up to a maximum of five years.

Property, plant and equipment
Property, plant and equipment assets are stated at cost less accumulated depreciation and any provision for impairments in value.

Depreciation is provided on a straight-line basis to write off the cost, less the estimated residual value, of property, plant and equipment over their estimated useful lives. No depreciation is provided on assets in the course of construction. Estimated useful lives are as follows:

  • Land and buildings, as advised by the Group’s professional advisors:
    • Freehold buildings – five to 45 years (average 24 years).
    • Leasehold buildings – lower of advisor’s estimates or period of lease.
    • No depreciation is provided on freehold land.
  • Plant and equipment – five to 25 years (average 14 years).
  • Aircraft and engines – five to 20 years (average 17 years).


  • As LesseeAssets financed by leasing agreements that give rights approximating to ownership (finance leases) are capitalised at their fair value and depreciation is provided on the basis of the Group depreciation policy. The capital elements of future obligations under finance leases are included as liabilities in the balance sheet and the current year’s interest element, having been allocated to accounting periods to give a constant periodic rate of charge on the outstanding liability, is charged to the income statement. The annual payments under all other lease arrangements, known as operating leases, are charged to the income statement on a straight-line basis.
  • As LessorAmounts receivable under finance leases are included within receivables and represent the total amount outstanding under the lease agreements less unearned income. Finance lease income, having been allocated to accounting periods to give a constant periodic rate of return on the net investment, is included in revenue. Rentals receivable under operating leases are included in revenue on a straight-line basis.

Impairment of non-current assets
Impairment of non-current assets is considered in accordance with IAS 36 Impairment of Assets. Where the asset does not generate cash flows that are independent of other assets, impairment is considered for the cash-generating unit to which the asset belongs.

Goodwill and intangible assets not yet available for use are tested for impairment annually. Other intangible assets and property, plant and equipment are assessed for any indications of impairment annually. If any indication of impairment is identified, an impairment test is performed to estimate the recoverable amount.

Recoverable amount is the higher of value in use or fair value less costs to sell if this is readily available. The value in use is the present value of future cash flows using a pre-tax discount rate that reflects the time value of money and the risk specific to the asset.

If the recoverable amount of an asset (or cash-generating unit) is estimated to be below the carrying value, the carrying value is reduced to the recoverable amount and the impairment loss recognised as an expense.

Inventory and work in progress are valued at the lower of cost and net realizable value on a first-in, first-out basis. Cost comprises direct materials and, where applicable, direct labour costs and those overheads, including depreciation of property, plant and equipment, that have been incurred in bringing the inventories to their present location and condition. Net realisable value represents the estimated selling prices less all estimated costs of completion and costs to be incurred in marketing, selling and distribution.

Cash and cash equivalents
Cash and cash equivalents include cash at bank and in hand and short-term Deposits with a maturity of three months or less on inception. The Group considers overdrafts (repayable on demand) to be an integral part of its cash management activities and these are included in cash and cash equivalents for the purposes of the cash flow statement.

Provisions are recognized when the Group has a present obligation as a result of a past event, and it is probable that the Group will be required to settle that obligation. Provisions are measured at the director’s best estimate of the expenditure required to settle the obligation at the balance sheet date, and are discounted to present value where the effect is material.

Post-retirement benefits
Pensions and similar benefits (principally healthcare) are accounted for under IAS 19 Employee Benefits. For defined benefit plans, obligations are measured at discounted present value whilst plan assets are recorded at fair value. The service and financing costs of such plans are recognised separately in the income statement; current service costs are spread systematically over the lives of employees and financing costs are recognised in the periods in which they arise. Actuarial gains and losses are recognised immediately in the statement of recognised income and expense.

Surpluses in schemes are recognised as assets only if they represent economic benefits available to the Group in the future. Movements in unrecognised surpluses are included in the statement of recognised income and expense.

Payments to defined contribution schemes are charged as an expense as they fall due.

Share-based payments
The Group provides share-based payment arrangements to certain employees. These are principally equity-settled arrangements and are measured at fair value (excluding the effect of non-market based vesting conditions) at the date of grant. The fair value is expensed on a straight-line basis over the vesting period. The amount recognised as an expense is adjusted to reflect the actual number of shares or options that will vest, except where additional shares vest as a result of the Total Shareholder Return performance condition in the Performance Share Plan.

Cash-settled share options (grants in the International ShareSave plan) are measured at fair value at the balance sheet date. The Group recognises a liability at the balance sheet date based on these fair values, and taking into account the estimated number of options that will actually vest and the relative completion of the vesting period. Changes in the value of this liability are recognised in the income statement for the year.

The fair values of the share-based payment arrangements are measured as follows:

  • ShareSave plans – using the binomial pricing model;
  • Performance SharePlan – using a pricing model adjusted to reflect non-entitlement to dividends (or equivalent) and the Total Shareholder Return market-based performance condition;
  • Annual Performance Related Award plan deferred shares and free shares under the Share Incentive Plan – share price on the date of the award. See note 21 for a further description of the share-based payment plans.

Contingent liabilities
In connection with the sale of its products, the Group will, on occasion, provide financing support for its customers. These arrangements fall into two categories; credit-based guarantees and asset value guarantees. In accordance with the requirements of IAS 39 and IFRS 4 Insurance Contracts, credit-based guarantees are treated as insurance contracts. The Group considers asset value guarantees to be non-financial liabilities and accordingly these are also treated as insurance contracts. Provision is made as described above.

The Group’s contingent liabilities relating to financing arrangements are spread over many years and relate to a number of customers and a broad product portfolio, and are reported on a discounted basis.

Key sources of estimation uncertainty

In applying the above accounting policies, management has made appropriate estimates in many areas, and the actual outcome may differ from those calculated. The key sources of estimation uncertainty at the balance sheet date, that have a significant risk of causing material adjustment to the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities within the next financial year are set out below. The estimation of the relevant assets and liabilities involves the combination of a number of assumptions. Where appropriate and practicable, sensitivities are disclosed in the relevant notes.

Current economic environment
The current economic environment could impact a number of estimates necessary to prepare the financial statements, in particular, the recoverable amount of assets and contingent liabilities. The Group has taken these factors into account in assessing the estimates set out below. These matters are discussed in more detail in the Finance Director’s review.

Forecasts and discount rates
The carrying value of a number of items on the balance sheet are dependent on the estimates of future cash flows arising from the Group’s operations:

  • The impairment tests for goodwill are dependent on forecasts of the cash flows of the cash generating units that give rise to the goodwill and the discount rate applied. (Carrying values at December 31, 2008 £1,008m, December 31, 2007 £801m).
  • If the assessment of development, participation, certification and recoverable engine costs recognised as intangible assets indicates the possibility of impairment, a detailed impairment test is undertaken. (Carrying values at December 31, 2008 £1,072m, December 31, 2007 £880m).
  • The financial liabilities arising from financial risk and revenue sharing partnerships are valued at each reporting date using the amortised cost method. (Carrying values at December 31, 2008 £455m, December 31, 2007 £315m). This involves calculating the present value of the forecast cash flows of the arrangement using the internal rate of return at the inception of the arrangement as the discount rate.
  • The realisation of the deferred tax assets (carrying value at December 31, 2008 £685m, December 31, 2007 £81m) recognised is dependent on the generation of sufficient future taxable profits. The Group recognises deferred tax assets where it is more likely than not that the benefit will be realised.

Assessment of long-term contractual arrangements
The Group has long-term contracts that fall into different accounting periods. In assessing the allocation of revenues and costs to individual accounting periods, and the consequential assets and liabilities, the Group estimates the total revenues and costs forecast to arise in respect of the contract and the stage of completion based on an appropriate measure of performance as described under revenue recognition above.

Post-retirement benefits
The Group’s defined benefit pension schemes and similar arrangements are assessed annually in accordance with IAS 19. The accounting valuation, which was based on assumptions determined with independent actuarial advice, resulted in a net deficit of £142m before deferred taxation being recognised on the balance sheet at December 31, 2008 (December 31, 2007 £123m). The size of the net deficit is sensitive to the market value of the assets held by the schemes and to actuarial assumptions, which include price inflation, pension and salary increases, the discount rate used in assessing actuarial liabilities, mortality and other demographic assumptions and the levels of contributions. Further details are included in note 18.

As described in the accounting policy above, the Group measures provisions (carrying value at December 31, 2008 £369m, December 31, 2007 £301m) at the Director’s best estimate of the expenditure required to settle the obligation at the balance sheet date. These estimates are made, taking account of information available and different possible outcomes.

The tax payable on profits is determined based on tax laws and regulations that apply in each of the numerous jurisdictions in which the Group operates. Where the precise impact of these laws and regulations is unclear then reasonable estimates may be used to determine the tax charge included in the financial statements. If the tax eventually payable or reclaimable differs from the amounts originally estimated then the difference will be charged or credited in the financial statements for the year in which it is determined.

Contingent liabilities
As described in note 23, the Group has significant long-term contingent obligations. The directors consider that, after allowing for provisions already made, the possibility that there will be any significant loss arising from these contingencies as remote. In reaching this opinion, the directors have considered the likelihood of the contingency crystallising and have taken account of forecast aircraft values that generally provide security against the contingent liability.

Revisions to IFRS adopted in 2008

No standards or interpretations that became effective during 2008 had a significant impact on the Group’s financial statements.

Revisions to IFRS not applicable in 2008

IAS 8 Operating Segments is applicable for 2009. This standard amends the requirements for disclosure of segmental performance and will not have any effect on the Group’s overall reported results.

IFRIC 14 IAS 19 The Limit of a Defined Benefit Asset, Minimum Funding Requirements and their Interaction is applicable for 2009. This interpretation applies where regulatory funding requirements will result in an unrecognisable surplus arising in the future. Had it been applicable in 2008 an additional pension deficit of approximately £425m would have been recognised.

Amendment to IAS 23 Borrowing Costs is applicable for 2009. The amendment generally eliminates the option to expense borrowing costs attributable to the acquisition, construction or production of a qualifying asset as incurred, and instead requires the capitalisation of such borrowing costs as part of the cost of the specific asset. The Group does not consider that the adoption of this amendment will result in the capitalisation of a significant level of borrowing costs.

Amendments to IFRS 2 Share-based Payments: Vesting Conditions and Cancellations are applicable for 2009. These amendments concern certain aspects of the valuation of share-based payments and the impact of a cancellation by a grantee. The Group does not consider that these amendments will have a significant impact on the charges recognised to date for share-based payments. Amendments to IAS 1 Presentation of Financial Statements are applicable for 2010. These amendments revise requirements for the presentation of the financial statements and will not affect the Group’s overall reported results.

Revised IFRS 3 Business Combinations and amendments to IAS 27 Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements are applicable for 2010, if endorsed by the EU. If endorsed, these standards will affect the future accounting for acquisitions and transactions with non-controlling interests. There will be no retrospective impact.

IFRIC 12 Service Concession Arrangements is applicable for 2009, if endorsed by the EU. If endorsed, this will apply to the Group’s investments in the joint ventures operating the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft contract with the UK Ministry of Defence.

The Group does not consider that any other standards or interpretations issued by the IASB, but not yet applicable, will have a significant impact on the financial statements.