We have audited the consolidated financial statements of Sulzer Ltd and its subsidiaries (the Group), which comprise the “Consolidated balance sheet” as at December 31, 2020 and the “Consolidated income statement”, “Consolidated statement of comprehensive income”, “Consolidated statement of changes in equity” and “Consolidated statement of cash flows” for the year then ended, and “Notes to the consolidated financial statements”, including a summary of significant accounting policies.
In our opinion the accompanying consolidated financial statements give a true and fair view of the consolidated financial position of the Group as at December 31, 2020, and its consolidated financial performance and its consolidated cash flows for the year then ended in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and comply with Swiss law.
Basis for Opinion
We conducted our audit in accordance with Swiss law, International Standards on Auditing (ISAs) and Swiss Auditing Standards. Our responsibilities under those provisions and standards are further described in the Auditor’s Responsibilities for the Audit of the Consolidated Financial Statements section of our report. We are independent of the Group in accordance with the provisions of Swiss law and the requirements of the Swiss audit profession, as well as the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants’ International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards) (IESBA Code), and we have fulfilled our other ethical responsibilities in accordance with these requirements.
We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our opinion.
Key Audit Matters
Customer contracts – accuracy of revenue recognition, valuation of contract assets, work in progress (WIP), trade accounts receivable and accuracy of contract liabilities
Key Audit Matter
As per December 31, 2020, revenue from customer contracts amounts to CHF 3’319.0 million, contract assets amount to CHF 324.9 million, contract liabilities to CHF 300.5 million, the balance of work in progress (WIP) amounts to CHF 216.4 million and trade accounts receivable amount to CHF 599.1 million.
Under IFRS 15 revenue is recognized when a performance obligation is satisfied by transferring control over a promised good or service.
Revenue and related costs from long-term customer orders (construction and service contracts) are recognized over time (OT), provided they fulfill the criteria of International Financial Reporting Standards, specifically having the right to payment in case of termination for convenience. The OT method allows recognizing revenues by reference to the stage of completion of the contract. The application of the OT method is complex and requires judgments by management when estimating the stage of completion, total project costs and the costs to complete the work. Incorrect assumptions and estimates can lead to revenue being recognized in the wrong reporting period or in amounts inadequate to the actual stage of completion, and therefore to an incorrect result for the period.
During order fulfillment, contractual obligations may need to be reassessed. In addition, change orders or cancelations have to be considered. As a result, total estimated project costs may exceed total contract revenues and therefore require write-offs of contract assets, receivables and the immediate recognition of the expected loss as a provision.
Regarding the projects recognized at a point in time (PIT), the risks include inappropriate revenue recognition from revenue being recorded in the wrong accounting period or at amounts not justified as well as overstated WIP that requires impairment adjustments.
Our procedures included, among others, obtaining an understanding of the project execution processes and relevant controls relating to the accounting for customer contracts.
For the revenue recognized throughout the year, we tested selected key controls, including results reviews by management, for their operating effectiveness and performed procedures to gain sufficient audit evidence on the accuracy of the accounting for customer contracts and related financial statement captions.
These procedures included reading significant new contracts to understand the terms and conditions and their impact on revenue recognition. We performed enquiries with management to understand their project risk assessments and inspected meeting minutes from project reviews performed by management to identify relevant changes in their assessments and estimates. We challenged these estimates including comparing estimated project financials between reporting periods and assessed the historical accuracy of these estimates.
On a sample basis, we reconciled revenue to the supporting documentation, validated estimates of costs to complete, tested the mathematical accuracy of calculations and the adequacy of project accounting. We also examined costs included within contract assets on a sample basis by verifying the amounts back to source documentation and tested their recoverability through comparing the net realizable values as per the agreements with estimated cost to complete.
We further performed testing for PIT projects on a sample basis to confirm the appropriate application of revenue recognition policies and to verify valuation of WIP balances. This included reconciling accounting entries to supporting documentation. When doing this, we specifically put emphasis on those transactions occurring close before or after the balance sheet date to obtain sufficient evidence over the accuracy of cut-off.
For further information on customer contracts – accuracy of revenue recognition, valuation of contract assets, work in progress (WIP), trade accounts receivable and accuracy of contract liabilities refer to the following:
Accounting for warranties and other costs to fulfill contract obligations
Key Audit Matter
As per December 31, 2020, provisions in the amount of CHF 85.3 million are held on the balance sheet to cover expected costs arising from product warranties. Additional expected costs to fulfill contract obligations and for onerous contracts are recorded as other provisions.
Sulzer is exposed to claims from customers for not meeting contractual obligations. Remedying measures, addressing technical shortcomings or settlement negotiations with clients may take several months and cause additional costs. The assessment of these costs to satisfy order related obligations contains management assumptions with a higher risk of material misjudgment.
Based on our knowledge gained through contract and project reviews, we assessed the need for and the accuracy of provisions and deductions in revenue for variable consideration for expected liquidated damages.
We further challenged management’s contract risk assessments by enquiries, inspection of meeting minutes and review of correspondence with customers where available.
Where milestones or contract specifications were not met, we challenged the recognition and appropriateness of variable consideration and provisions by recalculating the amounts, obtaining written management statements and evidence from supporting documents such as correspondence with clients or legal assessments of external counsels where available.
We also took into account the historical accuracy of estimates made by management through retrospective reviews. In order to gain a complete and clear understanding of legal matters we further performed enquiry procedures with the office of Sulzer’s General Counsel and reviewed relevant documents.
For further information on accounting for warranties and other costs to fulfill contract obligations to the following:
Valuation of goodwill
Key Audit Matter
As at December 31, 2020, Sulzer’s balance sheet included goodwill amounting to CHF 957.7 million.
Goodwill has to be assessed for impairment on a yearly basis by management using a discounted cash flow model to individually determine the value in use of goodwill balances. This requires the use of a number of key assumptions and judgments, including the estimated future cash flows, long-term growth rates, profitability levels and discount rates applied as well as the determination of the cash generating units (CGUs) for the goodwill impairment testing.
The goodwill balance is significant compared to total assets and there are a number of judgments involved in performing the impairment test. Furthermore, the economic conditions continue to be challenging in some of Sulzer’s key markets, specifically the oil and gas sector. With a significant share in this market segment, Sulzer’s financial performance is affected by the volatile oil prices, triggered by political tensions, and the resulting subdued demand and price pressure from its oil and gas customers. These effects were accompanied by the COVID-19 pandemic heavily affecting the global economy in 2020.
As a first step, we assessed the appropriateness of the CGUs identified. Our audit procedures then included, amongst others, evaluating the methodical and mathematical accuracy of the model used for the impairment testing, the appropriateness of the assumptions, and the methodology used by management to prepare its cash flow forecasts. We involved our own valuation specialists to support our procedures.
We thereby focused on those CGUs with the most significant goodwill balances or where reasonably possible changes of key assumptions would lead to an impairment and performed the following procedures amongst others:
- gaining an understanding and assessing the reasonableness of business plans by comparing them to prior year’s assumptions;
- comparing business plan data against budgets and three-year plans as approved by management and board of directors;
- recalculating the value in use calculations;
- challenging the robustness of the key assumptions used to determine the value in use, including the allocation of goodwill to the adequate CGUs, cash flow forecasts, long-term growth rates and the discount rates based on our understanding of the commercial prospects of the related CGUs and by comparing them with publicly available data, where possible;
- conducting sensitivity analysis, taking into account the historical forecasting accuracy; and
- comparing the sum of calculated values in use to the market capitalization of the Group.
We also considered the appropriateness of disclosures in the consolidated financial statements.
For further information on valuation of goodwill refer to the following:
Other Information in the Annual Report
The Board of Directors is responsible for the other information in the annual report. The other information comprises all information included in the annual report, but does not include the consolidated financial statements, the stand-alone financial statements of the Company, the compensation report and our auditor’s reports thereon.
Our opinion on the consolidated financial statements does not cover the other information in the annual report and we do not express any form of assurance conclusion thereon.
In connection with our audit of the consolidated financial statements, our responsibility is to read the other information in the annual report and, in doing so, consider whether the other information is materially inconsistent with the consolidated financial statements or our knowledge obtained in the audit, or otherwise appears to be materially misstated. If, based on the work we have performed, we conclude that there is a material misstatement of this other information, we are required to report that fact. We have nothing to report in this regard.
Responsibility of the Board of Directors for the Consolidated Financial Statements
The Board of Directors is responsible for the preparation of the consolidated financial statements that give a true and fair view in accordance with IFRS and the provisions of Swiss law, and for such internal control as the Board of Directors determines is necessary to enable the preparation of consolidated financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.
In preparing the consolidated financial statements, the Board of Directors is responsible for assessing the Group’s ability to continue as a going concern, disclosing, as applicable, matters related to going concern and using the going concern basis of accounting unless the Board of Directors either intends to liquidate the Group or to cease operations, or has no realistic alternative but to do so.
Auditor’s Responsibilities for the Audit of the Consolidated Financial Statements
Our objectives are to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements as a whole are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error, and to issue an auditor’s report that includes our opinion. Reasonable assurance is a high level of assurance, but is not a guarantee that an audit conducted in accordance with Swiss law, ISAs and Swiss Auditing Standards will always detect a material misstatement when it exists. Misstatements can arise from fraud or error and are considered material if, individually or in the aggregate, they could reasonably be expected to influence the economic decisions of users taken on the basis of these consolidated financial statements.
As part of an audit in accordance with Swiss law, ISAs and Swiss Auditing Standards, we exercise professional judgment and maintain professional skepticism throughout the audit. We also:
- Identify and assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements, whether due to fraud or error, design and perform audit procedures responsive to those risks, and obtain audit evidence that is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our opinion. The risk of not detecting a material misstatement resulting from fraud is higher than for one resulting from error, as fraud may involve collusion, forgery, intentional omissions, misrepresentations, or the override of internal control.
- Obtain an understanding of internal control relevant to the audit in order to design audit procedures that are appropriate in the circumstances, but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Group’s internal control.
- Evaluate the appropriateness of accounting policies used and the reasonableness of accounting estimates and related disclosures made.
- Conclude on the appropriateness of the Board of Directors’ use of the going concern basis of accounting and, based on the audit evidence obtained, whether a material uncertainty exists related to events or conditions that may cast significant doubt on the Group’s ability to continue as a going concern. If we conclude that a material uncertainty exists, we are required to draw attention in our auditor’s report to the related disclosures in the consolidated financial statements or, if such disclosures are inadequate, to modify our opinion. Our conclusions are based on the audit evidence obtained up to the date of our auditor’s report. However, future events or conditions may cause the Group to cease to continue as a going concern.
- Evaluate the overall presentation, structure and content of the consolidated financial statements, including the disclosures, and whether the consolidated financial statements represent the underlying transactions and events in a manner that achieves fair presentation.
- Obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence regarding the financial information of the entities or business activities within the Group to express an opinion on the consolidated financial statements. We are responsible for the direction, supervision and performance of the Group audit. We remain solely responsible for our audit opinion.
We communicate with the Board of Directors or its relevant committee regarding, among other matters, the planned scope and timing of the audit and significant audit findings, including any significant deficiencies in internal control that we identify during our audit.
We also provide the Board of Directors or its relevant committee with a statement that we have complied with relevant ethical requirements regarding independence, and communicate with them all relationships and other matters that may reasonably be thought to bear on our independence, and where applicable, actions taken to eliminate threats or safeguards applied.
From the matters communicated with the Board of Directors or its relevant committee, we determine those matters that were of most significance in the audit of the consolidated financial statements of the current period and are therefore the key audit matters. We describe these matters in our auditor’s report, unless law or regulation precludes public disclosure about the matter or when, in extremely rare circumstances, we determine that a matter should not be communicated in our report because the adverse consequences of doing so would reasonably be expected to outweigh the public interest benefits of such communication.
Report on Other Legal and Regulatory Requirements
In accordance with article 728a para. 1 item 3 CO and the Swiss Auditing Standard 890, we confirm that an internal control system exists, which has been designed for the preparation of consolidated financial statements according to the instructions of the Board of Directors.
We recommend that the consolidated financial statements submitted to you be approved.
Licensed Audit Expert
Auditor in Charge
Licensed Audit Expert
Zurich, February 23, 2021
KPMG AG, Räffelstrasse 28, CH-8036 Zurich
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