Analyzing and Interpreting Disclosures on Equity Method Investments

Analyzing and Interpreting Disclosures on Equity Method Investment sAssume Caterpillar Inc. (CAT) reports investments in affiliated companies

<strong>Analyzing and Interpreting Disclosures on Equity Method Investmentsstrong>

Assume Caterpillar, Inc. (CAT) reports investments in affiliated companies, consisting mainly of its 50% ownership of Shin Caterpillar Mitsubishi, Ltd. Caterpillar reports those investments on its balance sheet at $572 million, and provides the following footnote in its 10-K report.

Investments in unconsolidated affiliated companies
Our investments in affiliated companies accounted for by the equity method consist primarily of a 50% interest in Shin Caterpillar Mitsubishi Ltd. (SCM) located in Japan. Combined financial information of the unconsolidated affiliated companies accounted for by the equity method (generally on a three-month lag, e.g., SCM results reflect the periods ending September 30) was as follows:

Years Ended December 31 (Millions of Dollars) 2011 2010 2009
Results of operations:      
Sales $ 4,007 $ 4,420 $ 4,140
Cost of sales 3,210 3,526 3,257
Gross profit $ 797 $ 894 $ 883
Profit $ 157 $ 187 $ 161
Caterpillar’s profit $ 74 $ 81 $ 73

Sales from SCM to Caterpillar of approximately $1.67 billion, $1.81 billion and $1.73 billion in 2011, 2010 and 2009 respectively, are included in the affiliated company sales. In addition, SCM purchased $268 million, $273 million and $282 million of products from Caterpillar in 2011, 2010 and 2009, respectively.

December 31 (Millions of Dollars) 2011 2010 2009
Financial position:      
Current assets $ 2,062 $ 1,807 $ 1,714
Property, plant and equipment-net 1,286 1,119 1,120
Other assets 173 176 194
  3,521 3,102 3,028
Current liabilities 1,546 1,394 1,348
Long-term debt due after one year 269 309 318
Other liabilities 393 145 188
  2,208 1,848 1,854
Ownership $ 1,313 $ 1,254 $ 1,174


Caterpillar’s investment in unconsolidated affiliated
companies, December 31 (millions of dollars)
2011 2010 2009
Investment in equity method companies $ 572 $ 542 $ 540
Plus: Investment in cost method companies 16 20 25
Investment in unconsolidated affiliated companies $ 588 $ 562 $ 565

(a) What assets and liabilities of unconsolidated affiliates are included on CAT’s balance sheet as a result of the equity method of accounting for those investments? 
Assets = Answer 572 ($ millions)
Liabilities = Answer 0($ millions)

(b) Do the liabilities of the unconsolidated affiliates affect CAT directly? 

The creditors of the investee company have recourse to the assets of the investor in the event of default.

The liabilities of the investor company are liabilities of the investee.

The liabilities of the investee company are not liabilities for the investor.

The liabilities of the investee company are liabilities for the investor.

(c) How does the equity method impact CAT’s ROE and its RNOA components (net operating asset turnover and net operating profit margin)? (Indicate whether each statement is true or false.)

The equity method arguably omits assets and liabilities from CAT’s balance sheet, and omits sales and expense from its income statement (compared with the assets, liabilities, sales and expenses that would be recorded with consolidation). Therefore, RNOA would be affected.

Answer True

Because equity method investments are reported at fair value, assets are likely overstated.

Answer  False

There is no effect on CAT’s ROE and RNOA as a result of its use of the equity method.

Answer  False

Net income and stockholders’ equity are the same whether the equity method or consolidation is used, so ROE is the same.

Answer True


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