Alliander's financial statements have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as at 31 December 2015, as adopted by the European Union (EU). IFRS consists of the IFRS standards as well as the International Accounting Standards issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the interpretations of IFRS and IAS standards issued by the IFRS Reporting Interpretations Committee (IFRIC) and the Standing Interpretations Committee (SIC), respectively.
The significant accounting policies used in the preparation of the consolidated financial statements are set out below. The historical cost convention applies. However, certain assets and liabilities, including derivatives, are measured at fair value. Unless stated otherwise, these accounting policies have been applied consistently to the years covered in these financial statements.
The preparation of financial statements requires the use of estimates and assumptions based on experience and considered appropriate by management given the specific circumstances. These estimates and assumptions have an impact on the carrying amounts and presentation of the reported assets and liabilities, the off-balance-sheet rights and obligations and the reported income and expenditure during the year. The actual outcomes may differ from the estimates and assumptions used. Note  to the financial statements gives further information on the areas and items in the financial statements where estimates and assumptions are used. Unless stated otherwise, all amounts reported in these financial statements are in millions of euros.
Unrealised profits on transactions between the Alliander group and its associates or joint ventures are eliminated pro rata according to the group's interest in the entity concerned. Unrealised losses are also eliminated, unless the transaction gives rise to the recognition of impairment losses. If appropriate, the accounting policies of associates and joint ventures are adjusted to ensure the consistent application of accounting policies throughout the Alliander group.
New and/or amended IFRS standards applicable in 2015
The IASB and the IFRIC have issued new and/or amended standards and interpretations which are applicable to Alliander with effect from the 2015 financial year. The standards and interpretations below have been endorsed by the European Union.
IAS 19 (Amendments) Defined Benefit Plans, Employee Contributions concerns a simplification of the treatment of employee contributions and contributions from third parties relating to defined benefit plan pension contributions. Alliander has two defined benefit plans relating to subsidiaries in Germany, although these are not of material importance. There are no contributions to these plans from either employees or third parties.
The IASB Annual Improvements Process 2010-2012 and the IASB Annual Improvements Process 2011–2013 resulted in corrections and minor amendments to a number of IFRS standards which are applicable for periods beginning on or after 1 January 2015. These amendments do not affect the present financial statements. Since these changes do not have a material impact on Alliander, they are not itemised here.
Expected changes in accounting policies
In addition to the above-mentioned new and amended standards, the IASB and the IFRIC have issued new and/or amended standards and/or interpretations in the period which will be applicable to Alliander in subsequent financial years. These standards and interpretations can only be applied if adopted by the European Union. The following changes may be of relevance to Alliander.
IFRS 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers replaces the existing standards IAS 11 Construction Contracts and IAS 18 Revenue Recognition on 1 January 2018. In essence, the proposals mean that contracts with customers are decomposed into the performance obligations. The recognition of related assets and obligations and the recognition of revenue will be derived from the specific transaction prices of those performance obligations. The disclosure requirements under IFRS 15 are considerable. The impact as far as the regulated activities are concerned is expected to be limited; the impact in relation to activities in the unregulated domain is potentially substantial. In 2015, an implementation programme has been initiated to assess contracts, services and supplies in 2016 in terms of the new standard, to identify any changes in measurement and recognition and in required disclosures and to ascertain the impact this will have on the accounting and other systems.
IFRS 9 Financial Instruments. In July 2014, the IASB published the complete version of IFRS 9 Financial Instruments, bringing together the various parts of the IASB project to replace IAS 39. It covers recognition and measurement, impairment and hedge accounting in relation to financial instruments and therefore replaces the requirements of IAS 39 almost entirely. IFRS 9 includes amended requirements for the recognition and measurement of financial assets. The classification of financial assets is related to the business model applicable to the assets and introduces a new category for certain instruments, viz. fair value through other comprehensive income (FVOCI). IFRS 9 includes a new impairment model for all financial instruments, based on the expected losses rather than actual losses, as under IAS 39. In the recognition and measurement of financial liabilities, the only difference concerns the treatment of changes in the credit risk of a liability that is recognised at fair value. The effect of changes in the credit risk of a liability is recognised in other comprehensive income (OCI). IFRS 9 also contains new requirements for hedge accounting, enabling an entity to reflect its risk management more accurately in the financial statements. IFRS 9 is applicable to reporting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2018. Alliander has relatively modest portfolios of financial instruments, as a result of which the impact will be limited; it is expected that the amended impairment methodology will have the greatest impact for Alliander. Alliander will be initiating an implementation programme for IFRS 9 in 2016.
IFRS 16 Leases. The IASB published the new standard for leases on 13 January 2016. The implementation date is 1 January 2019. An important implication for Alliander as lessee in particular is that rights and obligations under operating leases will be included in the balance sheet. The new standard does not affect the way in which the cross-border leases are accounted for, however. An implementation programme to prepare for this change will begin in 2016.
The other future amendments to standards and interpretations that have been published are either not relevant to Alliander or do not have any material impact on Alliander and are therefore not considered in greater detail in these financial statements.