Financial Report – Consolidated financial statements

Accounting and ­valuation principles

PwC Schweiz PwC Switzerland

The balance sheets of all subsidiaries of Zehnder Group AG have been valued according to uniform valuation principles in accordance with the Swiss accounting and reporting recommendations (Swiss GAAP FER). The financial reporting gives a true and fair view of the financial position, the results of operations, and the cash flows. The consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with the historical cost method with the exception of marketable securities and participations under 20%, which are measured at fair value. The consolidation principles as well as the accounting and valuation principles applied remained unchanged year on year.

1. Liquid assets

Liquid assets include cash and cash equivalents, postal checking account and bank balances as well as fixed-term deposits with an original maturity of 90 days or less. Liquid assets are shown at nominal values.

2. Trade accounts receivable

Accounts receivable are stated at nominal value. Value adjustments for doubtful accounts are established based on maturity structure and identifiable solvency risks. Besides individual value adjustments with respect to specific known risks, other value adjustments are recognised based on experience.

3. Inventories

Inventories are valued on the lower of cost or market principle. Purchased products are valued at acquisition cost and manufactured goods at production cost. Production costs comprise variable manufacturing costs and overheads. Valuation adjustments are undertaken for risks arising from time in storage or reduced marketability. Unrealised profits in inventories from intergroup deliveries are eliminated. Any supplier discounts are netted with the cost of materials.

4. Property, plant and equipment

Property, plant and equipment is shown in the consolidated balance sheet at acquisition or manufacturing cost (for self-constructed assets) less depreciation and valuation adjustments. In 2021, the useful lifetimes were reviewed and adjusted for the following asset classes: buildings, installations and furniture. The new useful lives apply to assets acquired on or after 1 January 2021.

The following useful lives are applicable for the main items contained in property, plant and equipment:


Assets capitalised up to 31.12.2020

Assets capitalised as of 1.1.2021





35 to 50 years

20 to 40 years


10 to 20 years

5 to 15 years

Machinery and equipment

5 to 15 years

5 to 15 years


5 to 10 years

3 to 5 years

Computer hardware

3 to 5 years

3 to 5 years


3 to 5 years

3 to 5 years

The straight-line method of depreciation is applied to all property, plant and equipment. In general, depreciation commences from the time the asset is put into operation. Plant under construction is not depreciated.

Assets valued at less than EUR 3,000 are considered to be minor and are charged directly as an expense to the income statement. Investments financed through long-term leases are included in the balance sheet. Expenses for operating leasing are charged directly to the income statement in the period that they were incurred.

Investment properties that have been assessed as finance leases and financed via long-term leasing contracts are reported in the balance sheet at the lower of the present value of the minimum lease payments or the market value. The corresponding finance lease obligations are shown on the liabilities side. With regard to finance leases, please refer to item 5. Financial liabilities.

Costs for maintenance, repairs and minor renovations are charged as expenses to the income statement when they occur. Major renovations and investments are capitalised if they result in appreciation of value and depreciated over the remaining useful life of the corresponding asset.

5. Financial assets

Holdings with a voting interest of less than 20% and loans are valued at nominal or acquisition cost less the necessary valuation adjustments. For the accounting principles of the employer contribution reserves and the active deferred taxes, please refer to the following items “10. Pension funds” and “14. Income taxes” of these accounting and valuation principles.

6. Intangible assets

Acquired intangible assets are initially recognised at acquisition cost. Computer software is written down on a straight-line basis over three to five years, land use rights on the basis of the contract term or over 50 years as a maximum, and other intangible assets over three to ten years. Internally generated intangible assets are fully charged to the income statement in the year in which they are incurred.

7. Impairment of assets

The book values of assets are reviewed for impairment at each balance sheet date or if there are indications that an asset may be impaired. If an indication of potential impairment exists, the recoverable amount of the respective asset is determined. If the book values exceed the estimated recoverable amounts, the assets are written down to their recoverable amounts. Impairment losses are recognised in the income statement. The recoverable amount is the higher of the estimated asset’s net selling price and its value in use. The net selling price is the amount recoverable from the sale of an asset in an arm’s-length transaction between independent parties less the cost of disposal. The value in use is the present value of estimated future cash flows expected to arise from the continuing use of the asset and from its disposal at the end of its useful life.

8. Trade accounts payable and other liabilities

Trade accounts payable and other liabilities are shown at nominal value. They include short-term tax liabilities, shown in the balance sheet on the basis of the results for the reporting year. This item also includes taxes on the proposed distribution of profits by subsidiaries.

9. Provisions

Provisions are recognised for actual and legal obligations arising from past events and for potential risks and losses from existing agreements when an outflow of funds is likely and can be measured in a reliable way.

The provisions are for the purpose of personnel pensions and to cover identifiable risks, including guarantee, procedural and country risks, as well as restructuring measures implemented. Provisions for deferred tax liabilities and for set-off risks in respect of tax audits are also included.

Provisions are broken down according to their maturity; i.e. a distinction is made between short-term provisions with an expected cash outflow within the next twelve months and long-term provisions with an expected cash outflow of funds after a period greater than one year.

The provisions are recalculated annually and adjusted accordingly. It is assumed that there is a high probability of use of these provisions.

10. Pension funds

Employees of the Swiss Group companies are registered with a legally independent collective foundation that provides benefits in addition to state pensions. The collective foundation is funded through investment income and premiums paid by both employers and employees. The contributions payable are set out in the regulations.

The economic effects of pension plans on the company are presented as follows: although the capitalisation of economic benefit would be admissible, it is not undertaken because the company does not intend to use this to lower employer contributions. Any benefit resulting from freely disposable employer contribution reserves is recognised as an asset. An economic liability is recognised if the conditions for forming a provision are met. The employer contributions to the pension fund for the reporting period are recognised in the income statement.

In most countries abroad, pension and retirement plans are state-organised. They are generally financed through employer and employee contributions. Two of our German companies have a pension plan in addition to the state scheme. The corresponding obligations are specified in part under provisions. In addition, one obligation amounting to EUR 5.0 million was transferred to a pension trust (Contractual Trust Arrangement) and is no longer specified on the balance sheet. Any financial income from the outsourced obligation is posted in personnel expenses.

11. Derivative financial instruments

Derivative financial instruments are sometimes used to hedge against currency, interest rate and commodity risks. Valuation is undertaken at current value or according to the same valuation principles as for the hedged underlying transaction (current values or according to lower of cost or market principle). The changes in value since the previous valuation are reported in the financial result for the period.

Instruments used to hedge future cash flows are not recognised in the balance sheet, but are reported in the notes until the future cash flow is realised.

12. Sales

Sales comprises the sale of products and services after deducting value-added taxes, rebates, and other price discounts. Sales are posted if the relevant risks and opportunities associated with the services rendered or the ownership of the sold products have been transferred to the customer, the income and costs can be reliably determined, and the recoverability of the resulting receivables is adequately assured.

13. Long-term contracts

If the applicable criteria are met, the revenue from sales of long-term projects is recognised according to the percentage of completion on the balance sheet date. Long-term contracts are defined as individual projects with a contract volume of more than EUR million and a term of more than nine months.

The percentage of completion is determined for each individual contract on the basis of the units of delivery method. It is calculated using the number of installed units as a percentage of the total delivery quantity that is contractually agreed. There are justified cases in which acceptance by the customer is delayed purely due to administrative or organisational issues, and all significant performance obligations have otherwise been fulfilled. In these cases, the company management evaluates the financial situation and recognises the revenue before customer acceptance if necessary. A unit is normally invoiced in full when it is accepted (to be offset against any advance payments that have been received or as trade accounts receivable for the amount exceeding the advance payments).

Contract costs are made up of the costs of materials and external services, material overheads (procurement and logistics), and production costs. For loss-free valuation purposes, a single valuation of contracts in progress is made. As soon as a loss becomes apparent, an adjustment is made to account for the full loss amount that is expected. If the adjustment exceeds the value of the asset for the contract, a provision for the excess amount is recognised.

Contracts in progress are projects in which the cumulative performance exceeds the advance payments already received. If the advance payments received are higher than the cumulative performance, this is recognised under liabilities from contracts in progress.

Advance payments received are recognised directly in equity. They are offset against the contracts or compensation claims for which the advance payments have been made.

14. Income taxes

Income taxes comprise current and deferred income taxes.

Current income taxes are calculated by applying the current tax rates to the profit calculated in accordance with commercial law/anticipated profit for tax purposes, in accordance with the respective taxable profit calculation regulations. The current income tax liabilities are recognised under accruals and deferred income.

Deferred taxes comprise deviations between the group-wide and tax valuation in the company financial statements. These deviations can lead to timing differences in the taxation of the profits. Deferred taxes are based on the income tax rates per country. Whether an actual tax expense or an actual tax reduction will also arise in the foreseeable future has not been taken into account. Deferred tax assets are recognised in the balance sheet within financial assets, and deferred tax liabilities within provisions. Deferred tax assets and deferred tax liabilities are offset provided that they apply to the same taxable entity and are levied by the same tax authority. Deferred tax assets with respect to timing differences will then be capitalised only if it becomes likely that they can be offset by future taxable profits.

Several companies have tax loss carry-forwards. Deferred tax assets have not been capitalised from tax loss carry-forwards.

15. Transactions with related parties

Associated companies, boards of directors, executive board members, employee benefits plans, and companies controlled by major shareholders are considered to be related parties.

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