MTN Cover page

 

 

Principal accounting policies

for the year ended 31 December 2007

1. SUMMARY OF PRINCIPAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES
   
1.1

Basis of preparation

The principal accounting policies applied in the preparation of these consolidated financial statements have been consistently applied to all periods presented, unless otherwise stated.

The financial statements have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”) and the requirements of the South African Companies Act. The financial statements have been prepared under the historical cost convention as modified by the revaluation of available-for-sale financial assets and financial liabilities (including derivatives) at fair value through profit or loss. Amounts are rounded to the nearest million with the exception of earnings per share and the weighted average number of shares (note 7).

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with IFRS requires the use of certain critical accounting estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period based on management’s best knowledge of current events and actions. Actual results may differ from these estimates. Areas involving a high degree of judgement or complexity, or areas where assumptions and estimates are significant to the Group financial statements are disclosed in notes 1.26 and 1.27.

   
1.2

Consolidation

The Group financial statements incorporate the financial statements of MTN Group Limited and all its subsidiaries, joint ventures, associates and special purpose entities ("SPE") for the year ended 31 December 2007.

   
1.2.1

Subsidiaries

Subsidiaries are all entities (including special purpose entities) over which the Group has the power to govern the financial and operating policies, generally accompanying shareholding of more than one half of the voting rights. The existence and effect of potential voting rights that are currently exercisable or currently convertible are considered when assessing whether the Group has the power to control another entity. Subsidiaries are fully consolidated from the date on which control is transferred to the Group and are de-consolidated from the date that control ceases.

All intercompany transactions, balances and unrealised gains on transactions between Group companies are eliminated on consolidation. Unrealised losses are also eliminated but are considered an impairment indicator of the asset transferred. SPEs (including insurance cell captives and the various MTN Group staff incentive schemes) are consolidated when the substance of the relationship indicates that the SPE is controlled by the Group.

The purchase method of accounting is used to account for the acquisition of subsidiaries by the Group. The cost of an acquisition is measured as the fair value of the assets given, equity instruments issued and liabilities incurred or assumed at the date of acquisition plus costs directly attributable to the acquisition. Identifiable assets acquired and liabilities and contingent liabilities assumed in a business combination are measured initially at their fair values at the acquisition date, irrespective of the extent of any minority interest. The excess of the cost of acquisition over the fair value of the Group’s share of the identifiable net assets of the subsidiary acquired is recorded as goodwill. If the cost of acquisition is less than the fair value of the net assets of the subsidiary acquired, the difference is recognised directly in the income statement.

Minority shareholders are treated as equity participants and, therefore, all acquisitions of minority interests or disposals by the Group of its minority interests in subsidiary companies where control is maintained subsequent to the disposal are accounted for as equity transactions with minorities. Consequently, the difference between the purchase price and the book value of a minority interest purchased is recorded in equity. All profits and losses arising as a result of the disposal of interests in subsidiaries to minorities, where control is maintained subsequent to the disposal, are also recorded in equity.

Accounting policies of subsidiaries have been changed where necessary to ensure consistency with the policies adopted by the Group.

The Company accounts for investments in subsidiaries at cost, which includes transaction costs, less accumulated impairment losses

 

1.2.2

Associates

Associates are all entities over which the Group has significant influence but not control, generally accompanying a shareholding of between 20% and 50% of the voting rights.

Investments in associates are accounted for using the equity method of accounting and are initially recognised at cost. Under this method, the Group’s share of post-acquisition accumulated profits or losses of associated companies, which are generally determined from their latest audited financial statements, is included in the carrying value of the investments, and the annual profit attributable to the Group is recognised in the income statement. The Group’s share of post-acquisition movement in reserves is recognised in other reserves. The cumulative post-acquisition movements are adjusted against the carrying amount of the investment. The carrying amount of such interests is reduced to recognise any potential impairment, other than a temporary decline, in the value of individual investments.

The Group’s investment in associates includes goodwill (net of accumulated impairment loss) identified on acquisition. When the Group’s share of losses in an associate equals or exceeds its interest in the associate, the Group does not recognise further losses unless the Group has incurred obligations, issued guarantees or made payments on behalf of the associate.

Where another Group entity transacts with an associate of the Group, unrealised profits and losses are eliminated to the extent of the Group’s interest in the relevant associate, except where unrealised losses provide evidence of an impairment of the asset transferred. Accounting policies of associates have been changed where necessary to ensure consistency with the policies of the Group.

The Company accounts for investments in associates at cost, which includes transaction costs, less accumulated impairment losses.

 

1.2.3

Joint ventures

A joint venture is a contractual arrangement whereby the Group and other parties undertake an economic activity which is subject to joint control.

Joint venture arrangements which involve the establishment of a separate entity in which each venturer has an interest, are referred to as jointly controlled entities. The Group reports its interests in jointly controlled entities using the proportionate consolidation method of accounting. The Group’s share of the assets, liabilities, income and expenses and cash flows of jointly controlled entities are combined with the equivalent items in the Group financial statements on a line-by-line basis.

Where the Group transacts with its jointly controlled entities, unrealised profits and losses are eliminated to the extent of the Group’s interest in the joint venture, except where unrealised losses provide evidence of an impairment of the asset transferred.

Accounting policies of joint ventures have been changed, where necessary, to ensure consistency with the policies adopted by the Group.

The company accounts for investments in joint ventures at cost, which includes transaction costs, less accumulated impairment losses.

   
1.3

Segment reporting

A business segment is a group of assets and operations engaged in providing products or services that are subject to risks and returns that are different from those of other business segments.

A geographic segment is engaged in providing products or services within a particular economic environment that is subject to risks and returns that are different from those of segments operating in other economic environments.

The geographic location of the Group’s telecommunication network facilities constitutes the primary segment. The basis of the segment reporting is representative of the internal structure used for management reporting.

Segment results include revenue and expenses directly attributable to a segment and the relevant portion of enterprise revenue and expenses that can be allocated on a reasonable basis to a segment, whether from external transactions or from transactions with other Group segments.

Intersegment transfer pricing is based on cost plus an appropriate margin. Unallocated items mainly comprise corporate expenses which do not directly relate to the operating activities of the segments or which cannot be re-allocated on a reasonable basis. Segment results are determined before any adjustment for minority interest. Segment assets and liabilities comprise those operating assets and liabilities that are directly attributable to the segment or can be allocated to the segment on a reasonable basis. Segment assets are determined after deducting related allowances that are reported as direct offsets in the Group’s balance sheet.

   
1.4 Foreign currency translation
   
1.4.1

Functional and presentation currency

Items included in the financial statements of each entity in the Group are measured using the currency that best reflects the primary economic environment in which the entity operates (“the
functional currency”). The Group financial statements are presented in South African rand, which is the functional and presentation currency of the parent company.

   
1.4.2

Transactions and balances

Foreign currency transactions are translated into the functional currency using the exchange rates prevailing at the dates of the transactions. Foreign exchange gains and losses resulting from the settlement of such transactions and from the translation at year-end exchange rates of monetary assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currencies are recognised in the income statement except when deferred in equity as qualifying cash-flow hedges.

Changes in the fair value of monetary securities denominated in foreign currency classified as available-for-sale are analysed between translation differences resulting from changes in the amortised cost of the security and other changes in the carrying amount of the security. Translation differences related to changes in the amortised cost are recognised in profit or loss, and other changes in the carrying amount are recognised in equity.

Translation differences on non-monetary financial assets and liabilities are reported as part of the fair value gain or loss. Translation differences on non-monetary financial assets and liabilities, such as equities held at fair value through profit or loss, are recognised in profit or loss as part of the fair value gain or loss. Translation differences on non-monetary financial assets such as equities classified as available-for-sale are included in the available-for-sale equity reserve.

   
1.4.3

Group companies

The financial statements of all Group entities (none of which has the currency of a hyperinflationary economy) that have a functional currency different from the presentation currency are translated into the presentation currency as follows:

  • Assets and liabilities are translated at rates of exchange ruling at the balance sheet date;
  • Equity is translated at rates of exchange ruling at the transaction date;
  • Income and expenditure and cash‑flow items are translated at weighted average exchange rates for the period;
  • Foreign exchange translation differences are recognised as a separate component of equity in a foreign currency translation reserve.

On consolidation, exchange differences arising from the translation of the net investment in foreign operations are taken to equity (refer to note 18). When a foreign operation is sold, exchange differences that were recorded in equity are recognised in the income statement as part of the gain or loss on sale.

Goodwill and fair value adjustments arising on the acquisition of a foreign entity are treated as assets and liabilities of the foreign entity and translated at the exchange rate ruling at the balance sheet date

   
1.5

Property, plant and equipment

Property, plant and equipment are stated at historical cost less accumulated depreciation and impairment losses. Property, plant and equipment acquired through business combinations are initially shown at fair value and are subsequently carried at the initially determined fair value less accumulated depreciation and impairment losses.

Cost includes all costs directly attributable to bringing the asset to working condition for its intended use and the present value of future decommissioning costs. Depreciation of property, plant and equipment is calculated to write off the cost of the asset to its residual value, on the straight-line basis, over its expected useful life as follows:

Buildings – owned 5 – 50 years
Buildings – leased 3 – 11 years (shorter of lease term and useful life)
Network infrastructure 3 – 20 years
Information systems equipment 3 – 10 years
Furniture and fittings 3 – 10 years
Leasehold improvements 3 – 10 years (shorter of lease term and useful life)
Office equipment 3 – 10 years
Motor vehicles 3 – 10 years

The assets’ residual values and useful lives are reviewed, and adjusted if appropriate, at each balance sheet date.

Land is not depreciated. Assets held under finance leases are depreciated over their expected useful lives on the same basis as owned assets or, where shorter, the expected term of the relevant lease.

Capital work in progress

Property, plant and equipment under construction is stated at initial cost and depreciated from the date the asset is placed in use over its useful life. The cost of self-constructed assets includes
expenditure on materials and direct labour. Assets are transferred from capital work in progress to an appropriate category of property, plant and equipment when commissioned and ready for its
intended use.

Subsequent costs are included in the asset’s carrying amount or recognised as a separate asset, only when it is probable that future economic benefits associated with the item will flow to the Group and the cost of the item can be measured reliably. Repairs and maintenance are charged to the income statement during the financial period in which they are incurred. Borrowing costs are not capitalised in accordance with Group policy.

Where the carrying amount of an asset is greater than its estimated recoverable amount, it is written down immediately to its recoverable amount.

The gain or loss arising on the disposal or retirement of an asset is determined as the difference between the fair value of the sales proceeds and the carrying amount of the asset, and is included in operating profit.

   
1.6

Leases

Leases over property, plant and equipment are classified as finance leases whenever the terms of the lease transfer substantially all the risks and rewards of ownership to the lessee. Assets held under finance leases are capitalised at the lower of the fair value of the leased asset and the estimated present value of the minimum lease payments at the inception of the lease. The corresponding liability to the lessor, net of finance charges, is included in the balance sheet under borrowings. Each lease payment is allocated between the liability and finance charges. Finance costs, which represent the difference between the total lease commitments and fair value of the assets acquired, are charged to the income statement over the term of the relevant leases so as to produce a constant periodic rate of interest on the remaining balance of the obligations for each accounting period.

Leases, where a significant portion of the risks and rewards of ownership are retained by the lessor, are classified as operating leases. Rentals payable under operating leases are charged to the income statement on a straight-line basis over the term of the relevant leases.

In all significant leasing arrangements in place during the period, the Group acted as the lessee.

   
1.7 Intangible assets
   
1.7.1

Computer software

Acquired computer software licences are capitalised on the basis of the costs incurred to acquire and bring the specific software into use. These costs are amortised over their estimated useful lives (three to five years).

Costs associated with maintaining computer software programs are recognised as an expense as incurred. Costs that are directly associated with the production of identifiable and unique software products controlled by the Group, and that will probably generate economic benefits exceeding costs beyond one year, are recognised as intangible assets. Direct costs include the software development employee costs and an appropriate portion of relevant overheads. Expenditure that enhances or extends the performance of computer software programs beyond their original specifications is recognised as a capital improvement and added to the original cost of the software.

Computer software development costs recognised as assets are amortised over their estimated useful lives (not exceeding three years).

   
1.7.2

Licences

Licences are initially shown at historical cost. Licences have a finite useful life and are subsequently carried at costs less accumulated amortisation and impairment losses. Licences acquired through business combinations are initially shown at fair value and are subsequently carried at the initially determined fair value less accumulated amortisation and impairment losses. Amortisation is calculated using the straight-line method to allocate the cost of licences over their estimated useful lives from the commencement of service of the network. The useful lives and renewal periods of licences are given in note 36, and are determined primarily with reference to the unexpired licence period, the conditions for licence renewal and whether licences are dependent on specific technologies.

   
1.7.3

Goodwill

Goodwill represents the excess of the cost of an acquisition over the fair value of the Group’s share of the net identifiable assets of the acquired subsidiary, associate or jointly controlled entity at the date of acquisition.

Goodwill arising on the acquisition of subsidiaries and jointly controlled entities is included in intangible assets. Goodwill arising on the acquisition of an associate is included in “investments in
associates”, and is tested for impairment as part of the overall balance.

Separately recognised goodwill is tested annually for impairment and carried at cost less accumulated impairment losses.

Goodwill is allocated to cash-generating units for the purpose of impairment testing. The allocation is made to those cash generating units or groups of cash generating units that are expected to
benefit from the business combination in which the goodwill arose. Each of those cash-generating units represents the Group’s investment in each country of operation.

Impairment losses on goodwill are not reversed. Gains and losses on the disposal of an entity include the carrying amount of goodwill allocated to the entity sold.

   
1.7.4

Customer relationships

Customer relationships acquired through business combinations are initially shown at fair value, and are subsequently carried at the initially determined fair value less accumulated amortisation and impairment losses. Amortisation is calculated using the straight-line method to allocate the value of the customer bases over their estimated useful lives. Prepaid customer bases are amortised over two to five years and postpaid customer bases are amortised over five years.

   
1.7 Intangible assets
   
1.7.5

Other intangible assets

Other intangible assets with finite lives are stated at cost less accumulated amortisation and impairment losses. Other intangible assets acquired through business combinations are initially shown at fair value and are subsequently carried at the initially determined fair value less accumulated amortisation and impairment losses. Amortisation is charged to the income statement on a straight-line basis over the estimated useful lives of intangible assets from the date they are available for use. The estimated useful life for brands is 20 years.

   
1.8

Impairment of non-financial assets

Goodwill is deemed to have an indefinite useful life and is not subject to amortisation and is tested annually for impairment. The useful life of assets subject to amortisation is reviewed on an annual basis as is impairment testing. Assets that are subject to amortisation/depreciation are also reviewed for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount may not be recoverable. An impairment loss is recognised in the income statement for the amount by which the asset’s carrying amount exceeds its recoverable amount. The recoverable amount is the higher of an asset’s fair value less costs to sell or value in use. For the purposes of assessing impairment, assets are grouped at the lowest levels for which there are separately identifiable cash flows (cash generating units).

Non-financial assets other than goodwill that suffer impairment are reviewed for possible reversal of the impairment at each reporting date, in the event of which the impairment reversal is credited to the income statement, limited to what the carrying amount of the asset would have been if the original impairment had not taken place.

   
1.9

Financial instruments

Financial assets and financial liabilities are recognised on the Group’s balance sheet when the Group becomes a party to the contractual provisions of the instrument.

   
1.9.1

Financial assets

The Group classifies its financial assets into the following categories: at fair value through profit or loss, loans and receivables and available-for-sale. The classification is dependent on the purpose for which the financial assets were acquired. Management determines the classification of its financial assets at initial recognition.

(a)

Financial assets at fair value through profit or loss

Financial assets at fair value through profit or loss are financial assets held for trading. A financial asset is classified in this category if acquired principally for the purpose of selling the item in the short term. Derivatives are classified as held for trading unless they are designated as hedges. Assets in this category are classified as current assets. Financial assets held for trading are accounted for in accordance with note 1.23.2.

   
(b)

Loans and other receivables

Loans and other receivables are non-derivative financial assets with fixed or determinable payments that are not quoted in an active market. They are included in current assets, except for maturities greater than 12 months after the balance sheet date. These are classified as non-current assets. Loans and other receivables include loans (note 12), trade and other receivables (excluding prepayments) (note 15), restricted cash (note 26) and cash and cash equivalents (note 25). Loans and receivables are classified as “Loans and other non-current receivables” in the balance sheet. For the accounting policy in respect of trade receivables, refer to note 1.12 and in respect of cash and cash equivalents, refer to note 1.13.

   
(c)

Available-for-sale financial assets

Available-for-sale financial assets are non-derivative financial assets that are not classified in any of the other categories. They are included in non-current assets unless management has expressed their intention of holding the investment for less than 12 months from the balance sheet date.

Regular purchases and sales of investments are recognised on trade-date, the date on which the Group commits to purchase or sell the asset. Investments are initially recognised at fair value plus transaction costs for all financial assets not carried at fair value through profit or loss. Financial assets carried at fair value through profit or loss are initially recognised at fair value and transaction costs are expensed in the income statement. Financial assets are derecognised when the rights to receive cash flows from the investments have expired or have been transferred and the Group has transferred substantially all risks and rewards of ownership.

Available-for-sale financial assets and financial assets held at fair value through profit or loss are subsequently carried at fair value.

Changes in the fair value of monetary securities denominated in a foreign currency and classified as available-for-sale are analysed between translation differences resulting from changes in amortised cost of security and other changes in the carrying amount of the security. The translation differences on monetary securities are recognised in profit or loss; translation differences on non-monetary securities are recognised in equity. Changes in the fair value of monetary and non-monetary securities classified as available-for-sale are recognised in equity. Gains and losses arising from changes in the fair value of financial assets at fair value through profit or loss, including interest and dividend income, are included in the income statement in the periods they arise.

When securities classified as available-for-sale are sold or impaired, the accumulated fair value adjustments recognised in equity are included in the income statement as “gains and losses
from investment securities”. Interest on available-for-sale securities calculated using the effective interest rate method is recognised in the income statement. Dividend income on available-forsale equity instruments is recognised in the income statement when the Group’s right to receive payment is established.

The fair values of quoted investments are based on current bid prices. If the market for a financial asset is not active (and for unlisted securities), the Group establishes fair value by using valuation techniques. These include the use of recent arm’s length transactions, reference to other instruments that are substantially the same, and discounted cash flow analysis, making maximum use of market inputs and relying as little as possible on entity-specific inputs. Equity securities for which fair values cannot be measured reliably are recognised at cost less impairment.

The Group assesses at each balance sheet date if there is objective evidence that a financial asset or a group of financial assets is impaired. In the case of equity securities classified as available-for- sale, a significant or prolonged decline in the fair value of the security below its cost is considered an indicator that the securities are impaired. If any such evidence exists for available-for- sale financial assets, the cumulative loss, measured as the difference between the acquisition cost and the current fair value, less any impairment loss on that financial asset previously recognised in profit or loss, is removed from equity and recognised in the income statement. Impairment losses recognised in the income statement on equity instruments are not reversed through the income statement. Impairment testing of trade receivables is described in note 1.12.

Assets are derecognised when the enterprise loses control of contractual rights that comprise the assets and liabilities or when the obligation is extinguished.

   
1.9.2

Financial liabilities and equity

The Group measures all financial liabilities, including trade and other payables, at amortised cost using the effective interest rate method. Financial liabilities include borrowings (note 19); other non‑current liabilities (excluding provisions) (note 20); and trade and other payables (excluding provisions) (note 21).

   
1.9.3

Trade payables

Trade payables are initially measured at fair value and are subsequently measured at amortised cost, using the effective interest rate method.

   
1.10

Derivative financial instruments and hedging activities

Derivatives are initially recognised at fair value on the date the derivative contract is entered into and are subsequently remeasured at their fair value. The method of recognising the resulting gain or loss depends on whether the derivative is designated as a hedging instrument, and if so, the nature of the item being hedged. The Group designates certain derivatives as either:

(a) hedges of the fair value of recognised liabilities (fair‑value hedge);
(b) hedges of a particular risk associated with a recognised liability or a highly probable forecast transaction (cash‑flow hedge);
(c) hedges of a net investment in a foreign operation (net investment hedge).

The Group documents, at the inception of the transaction, the relationship between hedging instruments and hedged items, as well as its risk management objectives and strategy for undertaking various hedged transactions. The Group also documents its assessment, both at hedge inception and on an ongoing basis, of whether the derivatives that are used in hedging transactions are highly effective in offsetting changes in fair values or cash flows of hedged items.

The fair values of various derivative instruments used for hedging purposes are disclosed in note 38. Movements on the hedging reserve in shareholdings’ equity are shown in note 18. The full fair value of a hedging derivative is classified as a non-current asset or liability when the remaining maturity of the hedged item is more than 12 months; it is classified as a current asset or liability when the remaining maturity of the hedged item is less than 12 months. Trading derivatives are classified as a current asset or liability.

(a)

Fair‑value hedge

Changes in the fair value of derivatives that are designated and qualify as fair‑value hedges are recorded in the income statement, together with any changes in the fair value of the hedged asset or liability that are attributable to the hedged risk.

If the hedge no longer meets the criteria for hedge accounting, the adjustment of the carrying amount of a hedge item for which the effective method is used is amortised to profit or loss over the period to maturity.

   
(b)

Cash‑flow hedge

The effective portion of changes in the fair value of derivatives that are designated and qualify as cash‑flow hedges are recognised in equity. The gain or loss relating to the ineffective portion is recognised immediately in the income statement.

Amounts accumulated in equity are recycled to the income statement in the periods when the hedged item affects profit or loss.

When a hedging instrument expires or is sold, or when a hedge no longer meets the criteria for hedge accounting, any cumulative gain or loss existing in equity at that time remains in equity and is recognised when the forecast transaction is ultimately recognised in the income statement. When a forecast transaction is no longer expected to occur, the cumulative gain or loss that was reported in equity is immediately transferred to the income statement

   
(c)

Net investment hedge

Hedges of net investments in foreign operations are accounted for similarly to cash‑flow hedges. Any gain or loss on the hedging instrument relating to the effective portion of the hedge is recognised in equity. The gain or loss relating to the ineffective portion is recognised immediately in the income statement.

Gains and losses accumulated in equity are included in the income statement when the foreign operation is partially disposed of or sold.

   
(d)

Derivatives at fair value through profit or loss

Certain derivative instruments do not qualify for hedge accounting and are accounted for at fair value through profit or loss. Changes in the fair value of these derivative instruments that do not qualify are recognised immediately in the income statement.

   
1.11

Inventories

Inventories are stated at the lower of cost and net realisable value. Cost is determined using the weighted average method. Cost comprises direct materials and, where applicable, overheads that have been incurred in bringing the inventories to their present location and condition, excluding borrowing costs. Net realisable value represents the estimated selling price in the ordinary course of business, less applicable variable selling expenses. Where appropriate, an impairment provision is raised in respect of obsolete and defective inventories.

   
1.12

Trade receivables

Trade receivables are recognised initially at fair value and subsequently at amortised cost using the effective interest method, less provision made for the impairment of these receivables. A provision for impairment of trade receivables is established when there is objective evidence that the Group will not be able to collect all amounts due according to the original terms of the receivables. Significant financial difficulties of the debtor, probability that the debtor will enter bankruptcy or financial reorganisation, and default or delinquency in payments are considered indicators that the trade receivable is impaired. The amount provided is the difference between the asset carrying amount and the estimated recoverable amount, being the present value of expected future cash flows, discounted at the effective rate of interest. The carrying amount of the asset is reduced through the use of an allowance account, and the amount of the loss is recognised in the income statement. When a trade receivable is uncollectable, it is written off against the allowance account for trade receivables.

Subsequent recoveries of amounts previously written off are credited to the income statement.

   
1.13

Cash and cash equivalents

Cash and cash equivalents include cash on hand, deposits held on call and investments in money market instruments, net of bank overdrafts, all of which are available for use by the Group. Bank overdrafts are included within current liabilities on the balance sheet, unless the entity has a legally enforceable right to set off the amounts and intends to settle on a net basis, or realise the asset and settle the liability simultaneously. Derivative financial instruments with a maturity date of three months or less are included in cash and cash equivalents.

   
1.14

Share capital

Ordinary shares are classified as equity. Incremental external costs directly attributable to the issue of new shares or options, are shown in equity as a deduction, net of tax, from the proceeds.

Where the Company or its subsidiaries purchase the Company’s equity share capital (treasury shares), the consideration paid, including any directly attributable incremental external costs net of
income taxes, is deducted from total shareholders’ equity as treasury shares until they are cancelled or reissued. Where such shares are subsequently reissued, any consideration received, net of any directly attributable incremental transaction costs and the related income tax effects, is included in shareholders’ equity.

   
1.15

Borrowings

Borrowings are recognised initially at the fair value of proceeds received, net of transaction costs incurred, when the relevant contracts are entered into. Borrowings are subsequently stated at amortised cost using the effective interest rate method; any difference between the proceeds (net of transaction costs) and the redemption value is recognised in the income statement over the period of the borrowings as interest.

Financial liabilities are derecognised when the obligation specified in the contract is discharged, cancelled or expires.

Borrowings are classified as current liabilities unless the Group has an unconditional right to defer settlement of the liability for at least 12 months after the balance sheet date.

   
1.16

Current and deferred income tax

The current income tax charge is calculated on the basis of the tax laws enacted or substantively enacted at the balance sheet date in the countries where the Company’s subsidiaries and joint ventures operate and generate taxable income. Management periodically evaluates positions taken in tax returns with respect to situations in which applicable tax regulations is subject to interpretation and establishes provisions where appropriate on the basis of amounts expected to be paid to the tax authorities.

Deferred income tax is provided for in full, using the liability method, on temporary differences arising between the tax bases of assets and liabilities and their carrying values for financial reporting purposes. However, if the deferred income taxes arise from initial recognition of an asset or liability in a transaction other than a business combination that at the time of the transaction affects neither accounting nor taxable profit or loss, it is not accounted for. Deferred income tax is determined using tax rates (and laws) that have been enacted or substantially enacted at the balance sheet date and are expected to apply when the related deferred income tax asset is realised or the deferred income tax liability is settled.

Deferred income tax assets are recognised to the extent that it is probable that future taxable profit will be available against which the temporary differences can be utilised.

Deferred income tax is provided on temporary differences arising on investments in subsidiaries and associates and joint ventures, except where the timing of the reversal of the temporary difference is controlled by the Group and it is probable that the temporary difference will not reverse in the foreseeable future.

   
1.17

Employee benefits

Short-term employee benefits

Remuneration to employees in respect of services rendered during a reporting period is recognised as an expense in that reporting period. Provision is made for accumulated leave and for non-vested short‑term benefits when there is no realistic alternative other than to settle the liability, and at least one of the following conditions is met:

  • there is a formal plan and the amounts to be paid are determined before the time of issuing the financial statements; or
  • achievement of previously agreed bonus criteria has created a valid expectation by employees that they will receive a bonus and the amount can be determined before the time of issuing the financial statements.

Share-based compensation

The Group operates two staff share incentive schemes, the MTN Group Limited Share Option Scheme and the MTN Group Share Appreciation Rights Scheme.

These schemes are accounted for as equity-settled share-based payments to employees. Equity-settled share-based payments are measured at fair value (excluding the effect of non-market-based vesting conditions) at the date of grant. The fair value determined at the grant date of the equity-settled share-based payments is expensed on a straight-line basis over the vesting period, based on the Group’s estimate of the shares that will eventually vest and adjusted for the effect of non-market-based vesting conditions. Fair value is measured using the stochastic model. The expected life used in the model has been adjusted, based on management’s best estimate, for the effects of non-transferability, exercise restrictions and behavioural considerations.

Where employees exercise options in terms of the rules and regulations of the option schemes, treasury shares if available within the MTN Group Share Trust, are allocated, or alternatively new shares are issued to participants as beneficial owners. The directors procure a listing of these shares on the JSE Limited on which the Company’s shares are listed. For the share option scheme, in exchange for the share options the participants entitled to such share options pay a consideration equal to the option price allocated to them. The nominal value of shares issued is credited to share capital and the difference between the nominal value and the option price is credited to share premium. The share appreciation rights scheme is exercised at the participants’ election in terms of the vesting period and on the date exercised the benefits associated with the share appreciation rights will be received by the participant. At the participants’ election any tax associated with the rights awards and the settlement of the strike price can be settled either in cash or MTN would act as agent and dispose of the shares on the participants’ behalf. The proceeds of the disposal will be used to settle the participants’ obligations. Further details of equity compensation schemes are provided in the directors’ report.

Defined contribution plans

Group companies operate various defined contribution schemes.

A defined contribution plan is one under which the Group pays a fixed percentage of employees’ remuneration as contributions into a separate entity (a fund), and will have no further legal or constructive obligations to pay additional contributions if the fund does not hold sufficient assets to pay all employee benefits relating to employee service in the current and prior periods. Contributions to defined contribution plans in respect of services rendered during a period are recognised as an employee benefit expense when they are due.

Termination benefits

Termination benefits may be payable when an employee’s employment is terminated before the normal retirement date due to death or retrenchment. Termination benefits are charged against income when the Group is demonstrably committed to any such plan without the possibility of withdrawal or to provide termination benefits as a result of an offer made to encourage voluntary redundancy. Benefits falling due more than 12 months after balance sheet date are discounted to their present value.

   
1.18

Basis of accounting of underwriting activities

Underwriting results are determined on an annual basis whereby the incurred cost of claims, commission and related expenses is charged against the earned proportion of premiums, net of reinsurance, as follows:

  • Premiums written relate to business incepted during the period and exclude value added tax.
  • Unearned premiums represent the portion of premiums written during the period that relate to unexpired terms of policies in force at the balance sheet date, generally calculated on a time‑apportionment basis.
  • Claims incurred comprise claims and related expenses paid in the period and changes in the provisions for claims incurred but not reported and related expenses, together with any other adjustments to claims from previous years. Where applicable, deductions are made for salvage and other recoveries.
  • Claims outstanding represent the ultimate cost of settling all claims (including direct and indirect settlement costs) arising from events that have occurred up to the balance sheet date, including provision for claims incurred but not yet reported, less any amounts paid in respect of those claims. Claims outstanding are reduced by anticipated salvage and other recoveries.
   
1.19

Provisions

A provision is recognised when there is a present legal or constructive obligation as a result of a past event for which it is more likely than not that an outflow of resources will be required to settle the obligation and a reliable estimate can be made of the amount of the obligation. The Group provides for onerous contracts when the expected benefits to be derived from a contract are less than the unavoidable costs of meeting the obligations under the contract. Provisions are not recognised for future operating losses.

Where there are a number of similar obligations, the likelihood that an outflow will be required in settlement is determined by considering the class of obligations as a whole. A provision is recognised even if the likelihood of an outflow with respect to any one item included in the same class of obligations may be small.

Provisions are measured at the present value of the expenditures expected to be required to settle the obligation using a pre-tax rate that reflects current market assessments of the time value of money and the risks specific to the obligation. The increase in the provision due to the passage of time is recognised as an interest expense.

   
1.20

Revenue recognition

Revenue comprises the fair value of the consideration received or receivable for the sale of goods and services in the ordinary course of the Group’s activities. Revenue is shown, net of indirect taxes, estimated returns and trade discounts and after eliminating sales within the Group.

Revenue from the sale of goods and the rendering of services is recognised when it is probable that the economic benefits associated with a transaction will flow to the Group and the amount of
revenue, and associated costs incurred or to be incurred, can be measured reliably. The amount of revenue is not considered to be reliably measurable until all contingencies relating to the sale have been resolved.

The main categories of revenue and the bases of recognition are:

   
1.20.1

Contract (postpaid) products

  • Connection fees: Revenue is recognised on the date of activation by the GSM operator of a new Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) card.
  • Access charges: Revenue is recognised in the period to which they relate.
  • Airtime: Revenue is recognised on the usage basis commencing on the date of activation.
   
1.20.2

Prepaid products

  • SIM kits: Revenue is recognised on the date of sale.
  • Connection fees: Revenue is recognised on the date of activation.
  • Airtime: Revenue is recognised on the usage basis commencing on the date of activation.
   
1.20.3

Other revenue

  • Equipment sales: All equipment sales to third parties are recognised only when the risks and rewards of ownership are transferred to the buyer.
  • Interconnect/Roaming/Data: Revenue is recognised on a usage basis, unless it is not probable on transaction date that the interconnect revenue will be received; in which case interconnect revenue is recognised only when the cash is received.
  • Interest income: Revenue is recognised on the time proportion basis with reference to the principal amount receivable and the effective interest rate applicable. When a receivable is impaired, the Group reduces the carrying amount to its recoverable amount, being the estimated future cash flow discounted at the original effective interest rate of the instrument, and continues unwinding the discount as interest income. Interest income on impaired loans is recognised using the original effective interest rate.
   
1.21

Connection incentives

Connection incentives are expensed in the period in which they are incurred.

   
1.22

Dividends

Dividend income is recognised when the right to receive the payment is established.

Dividends payable are recorded in the financial statements in the period in which they are approved by the Company’s shareholders.

   
1.23 Financial risk management
   
1.23.1

Financial risk factors

The Group’s activities expose it to a variety of financial risks: foreign exchange risk, credit risk, liquidity risk, cash flow and fair value interest rate risk. The Group’s overall risk management programme focuses on the unpredictability of financial markets and seeks to minimise potential adverse effects on the financial performance of the Group. The Group uses derivative financial instruments, such as forward exchange contracts, to hedge certain exposures but, as a matter of principle, the Group does not enter into derivative contracts for speculative purposes.

Risk management is carried out under policies approved by the board of directors of the Company and of relevant subsidiaries. The MTN Group executive committee identifies, evaluates and hedges financial risks in co-operation with the Group’s operating units. The board provides written principles for overall risk management, as well as for specific areas such as foreign exchange risk, interest rate risk, credit risk, use of derivative financial instruments, and investing excess liquidity.

Market risk

Cash flow and fair value interest rate risk

Interest rate risk arises from the repricing of the Group’s forward cover and floating rate debt, incremental funding or new borrowings, the refinancing of existing borrowings and the magnitude
of the significant cash balances which exist.

Debt in the South African entities and all holding companies (including Investcom LLC and MTN International (Mauritius) Limited) is managed on an optimal fixed versus floating interest rate
basis, in line with the approved Group Treasury Policy. Significant cash balances are also considered in the fixed versus floating interest rate exposure mix.

Debt in the majority of MTN’s non-South African operations is at floating interest rates. This is due to the underdeveloped and expensive nature of products in these financial markets. MTN continues to monitor developments which may create opportunities as these markets evolve in order that each underlying operation can be aligned with the Group Treasury Policy.

The Group makes use of various products including interest rate derivatives and other appropriate hedging tools as a way to manage these risks; however, derivative instruments may only be used to hedge existing exposures.

Sensitivity analysis

The Group has used a sensitivity analysis technique that measures the estimated change to the income statement and equity of an instantaneous increase or decrease of 1% (100 basis points) in market interest rates, from the rate applicable at 31 December, for each class of financial instrument with all other variables remaining constant. This analysis is for illustrative purposes only as, in practice, market rates rarely change in isolation.

The Group is exposed mainly to fluctuations in the following market interest rates: JIBAR, LIBOR, NIBOR and EURIBOR. Changes in market interest rates affect the interest income or expense of floating rate financial instruments, and the fair value gain or loss in respect of interest rate derivatives. Changes in market interest rates affect profit or loss only in relation to financial instruments with fixed interest rates if these financial instruments are recognised at their fair value.

A change in the above market interest rates at the reporting date would have increased/(decreased) profit before tax by the amounts shown below.

The analysis has been performed on the basis of the change occurring at the start of the reporting period and assumes that all other variables, in particular foreign currency rates, remain constant. The analysis is performed on the same basis for 2006.

GROUP     Increase/(decrease) in profit
      before tax
      Upward   Downward
    Change in change in   change in
    interest rate interest rate   interest rate
At 31 December 2007   % Rm   Rm

JIBAR   1 (15,6)   15,6
LIBOR   1 (48,5)   48,5
3-month LIBOR   1 (1,8)   1,8
NIBOR   1 (14,4)   14,4
EURIBOR   1 2,2   (2,2)
6-month EURIBOR   1 (1,5)   1,5
Money market   1 (1,8)   1,8
Other   1 7,8   (7,8)
           
At 31 December 2006          
JIBAR   1 (107,4)   107,4
LIBOR   1 (44,5)   44,5
3-Month LIBOR   1 (3,1)   3,1
NIBOR   1 (15,5)   15,5
EURIBOR   1 1,9   (1,9)
6-Month EURIBOR   1 (2,0)   2,0
Money market   1 (1,5)   1,5
Other   1 5,4   (5,4)

Foreign exchange risk

The Group operates internationally and is exposed to foreign exchange risk arising from various currency exposures. Foreign exchange risk arises when future commercial transactions or recognised assets and liabilities are denominated in a currency that is not the entity’s functional currency.

Certain entities in the Group use forward contracts to hedge their exposure to foreign currency risk in connection with the functional currency. The Group’s Nigerian subsidiary manages foreign currency risk on major foreign purchases by placing foreign currency on deposit as security against Letters of Credit (“LCs”) when each order is placed. The Company has foreign subsidiaries whose assets are exposed to foreign currency translation risk, which is managed primarily through borrowings denominated in the relevant foreign currencies to the extent that such funding is available on reasonable terms in the local capital markets.

Sensitivity analysis

The Group has used a sensitivity analysis technique that measures the estimated change to the income statement and equity of an instantaneous 1% strengthening or weakening in the rand against all other currencies, from the rate applicable at 31 December, for each class of financial instrument with all other variables remaining constant. This analysis is for illustrative purposes only as, in practice, market rates rarely change in isolation.

The Group is exposed mainly to fluctuations in foreign exchange rates in respect of South African rand, US dollar, Nigerian naira, euro, Syrian pound, Iranian riyals, Ghanaian cedi, Sudanese dinars and Zambian kwacha. This analysis considers the impact of changes in foreign exchange rates on profit or loss and equity, excluding foreign exchange translation differences resulting from the translation of Group entities that have a functional currency different from the presentation currency, into the Group’s presentation currency (and recognised in the foreign currency translation reserve).

A change in the foreign exchange rates to which the Group is exposed at the reporting date would have increased/(decreased) profit before tax by the amounts shown below.

The analysis has been performed on the basis of the change occurring at the start of the reporting period and assumes that all other variables, in particular interest rates, remains constant. The analysis is performed on the same basis for 2006.

      Increase/(decrease) in profit
GROUP     before tax
      Weakening in   Strengthening in
      functional   functional
      currency,   currency,
      resulting in an   resulting in an
      increase/   increase/
      (decrease)   (decrease)
    Change in in profit   in profit
    exchange rate before tax   before tax
At 31 December 2007   % Rm   Rm

Denominated: functional currency          
USD:ZAR   1 48,1   (48,1)
USD:SYP   1 22,0   (22,0)
USD:IRR   1 (17,4)   17,4
USD:GHC   1 (6,0)   6,0
USD:SDD   1 (10,2)   10,2
USD:ZMK   1 (3,7)   3,7
USD:EUR   1 2,2   (2,2)
EURO:ZAR   1 18,2   (18,2)
EURO:SYP   1 5,5   (5,5)
EURO:IRR   1 (15,6)   15,6
EURO:SDD   1 (1,9)   1,9
At 31 December 2006          
USD:ZAR   1 84,6   (84,6)
USD:NGN   1 (31,3)   31,3
USD:SYP   1 8,0   (8,0)
USD:IRR   1 (16,4)   16,4
USD:SDD   1 (4,8)   4,8
USD:ZMK   1 (2,3)   2,3
USD:EUR   1 (1,0)   1,0
EURO:ZAR   1 4,0   (4,0)
EURO:SYP   1 3,8   (3,8)
EURO:IRR   1 (1,9)   1,9
EURO:SDD   1 (2,9)   2,9

Price risk

The Group is not exposed to commodity price risk or material equity securities price risk.

Liquidity risk

Prudent liquidity risk management implies maintaining sufficient cash and the availability of funding through an adequate amount of committed facilities. The Group remains confident that the available cash resources and borrowing facilities will be sufficient to meet its funding requirements.

Available liquid resources are:

GROUP   Carrying amount   Fair value
    December   December   December   December
    2007   2006   2007   2006
    Rm   Rm   Rm   Rm

Cash at bank and on hand;                
net of overdrafts   15 546   9 008   15 546   9 008
Restricted cash   739   130   739   130
Trade and other receivables   12 586   9 055   12 586   9 055
    28 871   18 193   28 871   18 193
COMPANY                
Cash at bank and on hand;                
net of overdrafts   31   56   31   56
Trade and other receivables   327   143   327   143
    358   99   358   99

The following are the contractual maturities of financial liabilities, excluding interest payments:

GROUP   Payable   More than   More than
    within   1 month but   3 months but
    1 month or   not exceeding   not exceeding
    on demand   3 months   1 year
At 31 December 2007   Rm   Rm   Rm

Current liabilities            
Borrowings*   1 510   3 188   4 630
Trade and other payables            
– Trade payables   3 541   1 036   1 751
– Sundry creditors   1 074   94   250
– Accrued expenses   5 720   545   1 163
Bank overdraft   1 322    
Derivative financial instruments            
– Inflows     (4)  
– Outflows   58   112   278
Other non-current liabilities            
– Put option in respect            
   of subsidiaries     474  
    13 225   5 445   8 072
             
    More than   More than    
    1 year but   2 years but    
    not exceeding   not exceeding   More than
    2 years   5 years   5 years
    Rm   Rm   Rm

Non-current liabilities            
Borrowings*   4 024   17 222   1 761
Other non-current liabilities            
– Put option in respect            
   of subsidiaries     2 082  
– Obligation in respect            
   of licence agreements   85   303   134
– Other non-current liabilities   90   17   10
    4 199   19 624   1 905

*Refer to note 19 for detailed information in respect of interest payments on borrowings.

GROUP   Payable   More than   More than
    within   1 month but   3 months but
    1 month or   not exceeding   not exceeding
    on demand   3 months   1 year
At 31 December 2006   Rm   Rm   Rm

Current liabilities            
Borrowings*   297   379   2 763
Trade and other payables            
– Trade payables   2 831   808   991
– Sundry creditors   868   96   58
– Accrued expenses   3 938   318   255
Bank overdraft   953    
Derivative financial instruments            
– Inflows   (2)    
– Outflows   120   43   163
    9 005   1 644   4 230
             
    More than   More than    
    1 year but   2 years but    
    not exceeding   not exceeding   More than
    2 years   5 years   5 years
    Rm   Rm   Rm

Non-current liabilities            
Borrowings*   10 047   16 972   1 568
Other non-current liabilities            
– Put option in respect            
   of subsidiaries   480   1 524  
– Obligation in respect            
   of licence agreements   176   224  
– Other non-current liabilities   424   2   1
    11 127   18 722   1 569

*Refer to note 19 for detailed information in respect of interest payments on borrowings.

COMPANY   Payable   More than   More than
    within   1 month but   3 months but
    1 month or   not exceeding   not exceeding
    on demand   3 months   1 year
At 31 December 2007   Rm   Rm   Rm

Current liabilities            
Trade and other payables            
– Sundry creditors   10   50  
– Accrued expenses and other payables   5    
    15   50  
             
At 31 December 2006            
Current liabilities            
Trade and other payables            
– Sundry creditors   3    
– Accrued expenses and other payables   5    
    8    

Credit risk

MTN’s financial instruments that are exposed to concentrations of credit risk consist primarily of trade receivables (note 15).

The Group has no significant concentrations of credit risk, due to its wide spread of customers across various operations. The Group has policies in place to ensure that retail sales of products and services are made to customers with an appropriate credit history. The recoverability of interconnect debtors in certain international operations is uncertain; however, this is actively managed within acceptable limits (this fact has been incorporated in the assessment of an appropriate revenue recognition policy in this regard (note 1.20.3) and the impairment of trade receivables as applicable). Derivative counterparties and cash transactions are limited to high credit quality financial institutions. The Group actively seeks to limit the amount of credit exposure to any one financial institution.

The Group's maximum exposure to credit risk is represented by the carrying amount of all the financial assets determined to be exposed to credit risk, with the exception of financial guarantees granted by the Group for which the maximum exposure to credit risk is the maximum amount the Group would have to pay if the guarantees are called on.

Capital risk management

The Group’s policy is to maximise borrowings at an operating company level, on a non-recourse basis, within an acceptable level of debt for the maturity of the local company. Equity funding for existing operations or new acquisitions is raised centrally, first from excess cash and then from new borrowings while retaining an acceptable level of debt for the consolidated Group. Where funding is not available to the operating company or in specific circumstances where it is more efficient to do so, funding is sourced centrally and on-lent. The Group’s policy is to borrow using a mixture of long-term and short-term capital market issues and borrowing facilities from the local and international capital markets as well as multi-lateral organisations together with cash generated to meet anticipated funding requirements. The board of directors has approved three key debt protection ratios, being: Net debt: EBITDA; Net debt: Equity and Net interest: EBITDA. Net debt is defined as cash and cash equivalents less interest-bearing borrowings. Equity approximates share capital and reserves attributable to equity holders of the company.

These internal ratios establish levels of debt that the Group should not exceed other than for relatively short periods of time and are shared with the Group’s debt rating agencies, being Moody’s and Fitch.

   
1.23.2

Accounting for derivative financial instruments

Derivative financial instruments are initially recognised in the balance sheet at fair value and are subsequently re-measured to their fair value through the income statement. Embedded derivatives separated from their host contracts are initially recognised in the balance sheet at the fair value of the consideration received/paid, if any, and are subsequently re-measured to their fair value through the income statement (note 39).

   
1.23.3

Fair value estimation

The fair value of forward foreign exchange contracts is determined using quoted forward exchange market rates at the balance sheet date. In assessing the fair value of non-traded derivatives and other financial instruments, the Group uses a variety of methods and makes assumptions that are based on market conditions existing at each balance sheet date. Quoted market prices or dealer quotes for specific or similar instruments are used for long-term debt. Other techniques, such as option pricing models and estimated discounted value of future cash flows, are used to determine fair value for the remaining financial instruments.

The carrying value (less impairment provisions where relevant) of short‑term non‑derivative financial instruments is assumed to approximate their fair value. The fair value of financial liabilities for disclosure purposes is estimated by discounting the future contractual cash flows at the current market interest rate available to the Group for similar financial instruments.

   
1.24

Earnings per ordinary share

Earnings per ordinary share are calculated using the weighted average number of ordinary shares in issue during the period and are based on the net profit attributable to ordinary shareholders.

Headline earnings per ordinary share are calculated using the weighted average number of ordinary shares in issue during the period and are based on the earnings attributable to ordinary shareholders, after excluding those items as required by Circular 8/2007 issued by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (“SAICA”).

   
1.25

New accounting standards and International Financial Reporting Interpretation Committee (“IFRIC”) interpretations

Certain new accounting standards, amendments and interpretations to existing standards have been published that are mandatory for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 January 2008 or later periods, and which the Group has elected not to early adopt.

The following standards, amendments and interpretations became effective in 2007:

  • IFRS 7, Financial Instruments: Disclosures, and a complementary amendment to IAS 1, Presentation of Financial Statements – Capital Disclosures and consequential amendments to IFRS 4 implementation guidance.
    IFRS 7 is applicable for annual periods beginning on or after 1 January 2007 and supersedes both IAS 30 “Disclosures in the Financial Statements of Banks and Similar Financial Institutions”, and the disclosure requirements of IAS 32 “Financial Instruments: Disclosure and Presentation”. The latter has been renamed “Financial Instruments: Presentation” as this standard now deals only with presentation matters, including classification of financial liabilities and equity, compound financial instruments, offsetting and treasury shares. IFRS 7 incorporates many of the requirements previously contained in IAS 30 and IAS 32, but some have been amended, some made less prescriptive and new ones added.

    At the same time that IFRS 7 was published, a complementary amendment was made to IAS 1, Presentation of Financial Statements – Capital Disclosures, which adds requirements for all entities to provide information about the level of capital and how the entity manages capital. Disclosure requirements of this standard and relating amendment have been included in these financial statements as deemed appropriate.

  • IFRS 4 Insurance contracts; IFRIC 7 Applying the restatement approach under IAS 29 Financial reporting in hyperinflationary economies.
    This standard and interpretation were not deemed relevant to the Group’s operations.

  • IFRIC 8, “Scope of IFRS 2”.
    This standard requires consideration of transactions involving the issuance of equity instruments, where the identifiable consideration received is less than the fair value of the equity instruments issued in order to establish whether or not they fall within the scope of IFRS 2. This standard did not have a material impact on the Group’s financial statements.

  • IFRIC 10, “Interim financial reporting and impairment”.
    This standard prohibits the impairment losses recognised in an interim period on goodwill and investments in equity instruments and in financial assets carried at cost to be reversed at a
    subsequent balance sheet date. This standard did not have any impact on the Group’s financial statements.

    The standards and interpretations included hereafter may have an impact on the Group’s operations when they become effective. The Group will apply these standards and interpretations in the applicable annual period which they become effective from. An assessment of which is still in the process of being finalised by management:

  • IFRS 8, Operating Segments (effective 1 January 2009)
    IFRS 8 requires an entity to adopt the “management approach” to reporting on the financial performance of its operating segments. The standard sets out requirements for the disclosure of information about an entity’s operating segments and also about the entity’s products and services, the geographic areas in which it operates, and its major customers. The disclosure should enable users of financial statements to evaluate the nature and financial effects of the business activities in which it engages and the economic environments in which it operates.

  • IFRIC 11, IFRS 2 – Group and Treasury Share Transactions (effective 1 March 2007)
    IFRIC 11 addresses how to apply IFRS 2 to share-based payment arrangements involving an entity's own equity instruments or equity instruments of another entity in the same group (eg equity instruments of its parent).

  • IFRIC 12, Service Concession Arrangements (effective 1 January 2008)
    IFRIC 12 addresses how service concession operators should apply existing IFRS to account for the obligations they undertake and rights they receive in service concession arrangements.

  • IFRIC 13, Customer Loyalty Programmes (effective 1 July 2008)
    IFRIC 13 addresses accounting by entities that grant loyalty award credits to customers who buy other goods or services. Specifically, it explains how such entities should account for their obligations to provide free or discounted goods or services to customers who redeem award credits.

  • IAS 23 (Amendment), Borrowing Costs (effective 1 January 2009)
    The main change from the previous version of IAS 23 is the removal of the option of immediately recognising as an expense borrowing costs that relate to assets that take a substantial period of time to get ready for use or sale.

  • IAS 1R, Presentation of Financial Statements (effective 1 January 2009)
    The objective of this standard is to prescribe the basis for presentation of general purpose financial statements, to ensure comparability both with the entity’s financial statements of previous periods and with the financial statements of other entities.

  • IAS 27R, Consolidated and Separate Financial Statements (effective 1 January 2009)
    The objective of this standard is to reduce the alternatives in accounting for subsidiaries in consolidated financial statements and in accounting for investments in the separate financial statements of the parent, venturer or investor. The amendments relate, primarily, to accounting for non-controlling interests and the loss of control of a subsidiary.

  • IFRS 3R, Business Combinations (effective 1 January 2009)
    The objective of this standard is to enhance the relevance, reliability and comparability of the information that an entity provides in its financial statements about a business combination and its effects.

  • IFRS 2R, Share-based Payments (effective 1 January 2009)
    The objective of this standard is to:
    (a) clarify that vesting conditions are service and performance conditions only
    (b) all cancellations, whether by the entity or by another party, should receive the same accounting treatment.

    The following interpretation is not yet effective nor relevant for the Group’s operations:

  • IFRIC 14, IAS 19 – The Limit on a Defined Benefit Asset, Minimum Funding Requirements and their interaction (effective 1 January 2008)
    IFRIC 14 provides guidance on assessing the limit in IAS 19 in the amount of the surplus that can be recognised as an asset. It also explains how the pension asset or liability may be affected by a statutory or contractual minimum funding requirement. It is not expected to have any impact on the Group’s accounts.
   
1.26

Critical accounting estimates and assumptions

The Group makes estimates and assumptions concerning the future. Actual results may differ from these estimates. The estimates and assumptions that have a significant risk of causing a material adjustment to the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities within the next financial year are discussed below.

Estimated impairment of goodwill

The Group tests annually whether goodwill has suffered any impairment, in accordance with the accounting policy stated in note 1.8. The recoverable amounts of cash-generating units have been determined based on value-in-use calculations. These calculations require the use of estimates and the input factors most sensitive to change have been disclosed in note 9. The Group has performed a sensitivity analysis by varying these input factors by a reasonably possible margin and assessing whether the change in input factors results in any of the goodwill allocated to appropriate cash generating units being impaired. Based on the analysis performed, there are no indications that an impairment of goodwill related to any of its cash generating units that have been tested is required at year-end.

Connection incentives and subscriber acquisition costs

Connection incentives paid to service providers are currently expensed by the Group in the period incurred. Service providers utilise the incentives received from the Group to fund a variety of administrative costs and/or to provide incentives to maintain/sign up customers on behalf of the Group, at their own discretion. The portion of the incentive used by the respective service providers as an incentive to retain/obtain existing/new subscribers on behalf of the Group, should be capitalised only to the extent that it is reliably measurable (prepaid discount). In accordance with the framework under IFRS, the Group has resolved not to capitalise these fees due to the portion of incentives utilised to acquire/retain subscribers on behalf of the Group by the respective independent service providers not being reliably measurable.

In accordance with the recognition criteria in terms of IAS 38 Intangible Assets, the Group has also resolved not to capitalise commissions paid to dealers, utilised to acquire new subscribers, as intangible assets (subscriber acquisition cost), due to the portion utilised to acquire subscribers on behalf of the Group not being reliably measurable.

Interconnect revenue recognition

Due to the receipt of interconnect revenue in certain operations not being certain at transaction date, the Group has resolved to recognise interconnect revenue relating to these operations only as the cash is received.

   
1.27

Critical judgements in applying the entity’s accounting policies

Deferred tax assets

Although Irancell Telecommunication Company Services as a start-up enterprise was still loss making at 31 December 2007, management of Irancell Telecommunication Company Services has resolved to raise a deferred tax asset in the amount of R400 million, of which the Group’s portion amounts to R196 million (49%), relating to unused losses incurred up to 31 December 2007 (note 13). Management believes that it is probable that future taxable profit will be available against which the unused tax losses will be utilised.

Income taxes

The Group is subject to income taxes in numerous jurisdictions. Significant judgement is required in determining the worldwide provision for income taxes. There are many calculations and transactions for which the ultimate tax determination is uncertain during the ordinary course of business. The Group recognises liabilities for anticipated tax issues based on estimates of whether additional taxes will be due. Where the final outcome of these matters is different from the amounts that were initially recorded, such differences will impact the income tax and deferred tax provisions in the period in which such determination is made.

   
1.28

Secondary taxation on companies

Secondary taxation on companies (“STC”) is provided for at a rate of 10% on the amount by which dividends declared by the Group exceeds dividends received. Deferred tax on unutilised STC credits is recognised to the extent that STC payable on future dividend payments is likely to be available for set-off.