|NRG ENERGY, INC. filed this Form 10-K on 03/01/2018|
NRG is party to sale-leaseback arrangements that provide for the sale of certain assets to a third party and simultaneous leaseback to the Company. In accordance with ASC 840-40, Sale-Leaseback Transactions, if the seller-lessee retains, through the leaseback, substantially all of the benefits and risks incident to the ownership of the property sold, the sale-leaseback transaction is accounted for as a financing arrangement. An example of this type of continuing involvement would include an option to repurchase the assets or the buyer-lessor having the option to sell the assets back to the Company. This provision is included in most of the Company’s sale-leaseback arrangements. As such, the Company accounts for these arrangements as financings.
Under the financing method, the Company does not recognize as income any of the sale proceeds received from the lessor that contractually constitutes payment to acquire the assets subject to these arrangements. Instead, the sale proceeds received are accounted for as financing obligations and leaseback payments made by the Company are allocated between interest expense and as a reduction to the financing obligation. Interest on the financing obligation is calculated using the Company’s incremental borrowing rate at the inception of the arrangement on the outstanding financing obligation. Judgment is required to determine the appropriate borrowing rate for the arrangement and in determining any gain or loss on the transaction that would be recorded either at the end of or over the lease term.
Marketing and Advertising Costs
The Company expenses its marketing and advertising costs as incurred and which are included within selling, general and administrative expenses. Marketing and advertising expenses for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016, and 2015 were $184 million, $247 million, and $309 million, respectively. The costs of tangible assets used in advertising campaigns are recorded as fixed assets or deferred advertising costs and amortized as advertising costs over the shorter of the useful life of the asset or the advertising campaign. The Company has several long-term sponsorship arrangements. Payments related to these arrangements are deferred and expensed over the term of the arrangement. Advertising expenses for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016, and 2015 were $42 million, $53 million, and $135 million, respectively.
Reorganization costs include costs incurred by the Company related to the Transformation Plan implementation and primarily reflect personnel costs related to cost savings initiatives. As of December 31, 2017, $44 million has been incurred.
The Company accounts for its business combinations in accordance with ASC 805, Business Combinations, or ASC 805. ASC 805 requires an acquirer to recognize and measure in its financial statements the identifiable assets acquired, the liabilities assumed, and any noncontrolling interest in the acquiree at fair value at the acquisition date. It also recognizes and measures the goodwill acquired or a gain from a bargain purchase in the business combination and determines what information to disclose to enable users of an entity's financial statements to evaluate the nature and financial effects of the business combination. In addition, transaction costs are expensed as incurred.
Use of Estimates
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements, 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. Actual results could differ from these estimates.
In recording transactions and balances resulting from business operations, the Company uses estimates based on the best information available. Estimates are used for such items as plant depreciable lives, tax provisions, uncollectible accounts, actuarially determined benefit costs, the valuation of energy commodity contracts, environmental liabilities, legal costs incurred in connection with recorded loss contingencies, and assets acquired and liabilities assumed in business combinations, among others. In addition, estimates are used to test long-lived assets and goodwill for impairment and to determine the fair value of impaired assets. As better information becomes available or actual amounts are determinable, the recorded estimates are revised. Consequently, operating results can be affected by revisions to prior accounting estimates.
Certain prior-year amounts have been reclassified for comparative purposes. The reclassifications did not affect results from operations, net assets or cash flows.