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Balance sheet


Goodwill is regularly tested for impairment once a year on 30 June – or more frequently if there are indications for a possible impairment. If an impairment occurred, an impairment loss is recognised through profit or loss. To determine a possible impairment, the recoverable amount of a cash-generating unit is compared to the corresponding carrying amount of the cash-generating unit. The recoverable amount is the higher of the value in use and the fair value less costs of disposal. An impairment of the goodwill allocated to a cash-generating unit occurs only if the recoverable amount is lower than the total amount of the unit’s relevant carrying amount. No reversal of an impairment loss is recognised if the reasons for the impairment in previous years have ceased to exist.

Other intangible assets

Purchased other intangible assets are recognised at cost of purchase. In accordance with IAS 38 (Intangible Assets), internally generated intangible assets are recognised at their production cost. Research costs, in contrast, are not recognised as assets, but recognised as expenses when they are incurred. The production costs include all expenditures directly attributable to the development process, unless they are explicitly excluded from being a component of the cost of an internally generated intangible asset.

Direct costs

Direct material costs

Direct production costs

Special direct production costs

(directly attributable)

Material overhead

Production overhead

Depreciation/amortisation/impairment losses

Development-related administrative costs

Borrowing costs are factored into the determination of production costs only in case the intangible asset is a so-called qualified asset pursuant to IAS 23 (Borrowing Costs). Qualified assets are defined as non-financial assets that take a substantial period of time to be prepared for their intended use or sale.

All other intangible assets with a finite useful life are subject to straight-line amortisation. Capitalised internally created and purchased software as well as similar intangible assets are amortised over a period of up to 10 years, while licences are amortised over their useful lives.

Intangible assets with an indeterminable expected useful life are not subject to scheduled amortisation, but are subject to impairment testing at least once a year. Impairment losses and reversed impairment losses are recognised through profit or loss in consideration of the historical cost principle.

Property, plant and equipment

Property, plant and equipment are recognised at acquisition or production costs according to IAS 16 (Property, Plant and Equipment). The production costs of internally generated assets include both direct costs and directly attributable overhead costs. Borrowing costs are only capitalised in relation to so-called qualified assets as a component of acquisition or production costs. In line with IAS 20 (Accounting for Government Grants and Disclosure of Government Assistance), investment grants received are offset against the acquisition or production costs of the corresponding asset. Dismantling and removing obligations are included in the acquisition or production costs at the discounted settlement amount. Subsequent acquisition or production costs of property, plant and equipment are only capitalised if they result in a higher future economic benefit of the tangible asset.

Property, plant and equipment are solely depreciated on a straight-line basis. Throughout the group, depreciation is based on the following expected useful lives:


10 to 33 years

Leasehold improvements

8 to 15 years, or shorter lease term

Business and office equipment

3 to 13 years


3 to 8 years

In a few justified exceptional cases, the expected useful life of buildings is 40 years.

Capitalised costs of dismantling and removing are depreciated over the expected useful life of the asset.

According to IAS 36 (Impairment of Assets), an impairment test will be carried out if there are any indications of impairment of property, plant and equipment or of a cash-generating unit (CGU). Impairment losses are recognised if the recoverable amount is less than its carrying amount. If the reasons for the impairment have ceased to exist, impairment losses are reversed up to the amount of amortised acquisition or production costs had no impairment loss been recognised in previous periods.

Right-of-use assets

Rights of use are measured at acquisition costs at the time of addition, which include the amount of the lease liability at initial measurement as well as all lease payments made at or before the time when the underlying asset is made available for use, minus any lease incentives that were received. Moreover, they include initial direct costs and estimated costs for dismantling and removing obligations, if applicable. The rights of use are amortised on a straight-line basis over the shorter of the lease term or the useful life of the underlying asset. Furthermore, the acquisition costs of the rights of use are reduced by any impairment losses to be recognised.

The amortised costs are adjusted if corresponding revaluations must be made.

Investment properties

In accordance with IAS 40 (Investment Property), investment properties include real estate assets that are held to earn rentals or for capital appreciation, or both. Analogous to property, plant and equipment, such assets are recognised at acquisition or production costs less depreciation and, if required, impairment losses (cost model). Owned investment properties are depreciated using the straight-line method, considering an expected useful life of 15 to 33 years. Investment properties where rights of use are involved are depreciated on a straight-line basis over a useful life of 5 to 15 years. In addition, the fair value of these real estates is determined based on accepted valuation methods, taking into account project development opportunities. The fair values are disclosed in the notes.

Financial assets

Unless associates or joint ventures as defined by IAS 28 (Investments in Associates and Joint Ventures) are involved, to which the equity method is applied, financial assets are accounted for in accordance with IFRS 9 (Financial Instruments).

Financial assets are recognised in the consolidated balance sheet when METRO becomes a contractual party to a financial instrument. Recognition is effected at the trade date. Financial assets are derecognised if the contractual rights to payments from the financial assets no longer exist or the financial assets with all material risks and rewards are transferred to another party and METRO cannot control the financial assets after the transfer. When the uncollectability of receivables is finally determined, they are derecognised.

Financial assets are measured at fair value upon initial recognition. In doing so, the transaction costs directly attributable to the acquisition must be taken into account, unless the financial instruments are subsequently measured at fair value through profit or loss.

The subsequent measurement of financial assets is based on the classification of the respective financial asset to one of the categories described below. The classification is determined based on whether the so-called cash flow characteristics are met and on the basis of the business model used to manage the respective financial asset (or a portfolio of financial assets). The cash flow characteristics are met if the contractual terms of the financial asset give rise on specified dates to cash flows that are solely payments of principal and interest on the principal amount outstanding. With regard to potential business models, a distinction must be made for these financial assets meeting the cash flow characteristics between the objectives

  • to either hold the financial asset in order to collect contractual cash flows (hold)
  • or to both hold them in order to collect contractual cash flows and sell them (hold and sell).
  • Using these classification criteria, the individual financial asset is assigned to one of the following classes at initial recognition:
  • Measured at amortised cost (AC), provided the ‘hold’ criterion is met
  • Measured at fair value through other comprehensive income (FVOCI), if the ‘hold and sell’ criterion is met
  • Measured at fair value through profit or loss (FVPL) in all other cases

Derivative financial instruments that are not designated as part of a hedge accounting relationship for accounting purposes are measured at fair value.

METRO does not make use of the option to measure financial assets at fair value through profit or loss upon initial recognition (fair value option).

With regard to the financial assets recognised at amortised cost (AC), impairments are recognised as expected losses, regardless of the existence of actual default events. All reasonable and reliable information is considered for determination of the impairment rates, including forward-looking information, which is taken into account by including a projected index based on macroeconomic developments. However, if there is objective evidence that contractually agreed cash flows of a financial asset are likely to partially or completely default, they are recorded as specific bad debt allowances. If these indications cease to exist, impairment losses are reversed up to the amount of the carrying amount that would have resulted if no default event had occurred. METRO determines the expected losses on trade receivables using the so-called simplified approach by using a provision matrix structured according to various (past-due) maturities. Expected losses for other financial assets are determined in accordance with the so-called general approach. Impairment losses are generally recognised in separate accounts.

Changes in the fair value of financial assets measured at fair value through other comprehensive income (FVOCI) are recognised in other comprehensive income and reclassified to the income statement when the assets are sold. Impairment losses on financial assets in the FVOCI category are determined in the same way as impairment losses on financial assets in the AC category and recognised in profit or loss.

In accordance with the provisions of IFRS 9, own equity instruments are either measured at fair value through profit or loss (FVPL) or at fair value through other comprehensive income without reclassification (FVOCInR).

As part of cash flow hedging, which continues to be accounted for in accordance with IAS 39, METRO hedges the exposure to variability in future cash flows. For this purpose, future transactions and related hedging instruments are designated as hedging relationships for accounting purposes. The effective portion of changes in the fair value of the hedging instrument that regularly meets the definition criteria of a derivative is initially recognised directly in equity under consideration of deferred taxes. The ineffective portion is recognised directly in profit or loss. For future transactions that result in the recognition of a non-financial asset or a non-financial liability, the cumulative changes in the fair value of the hedging instrument are removed from other comprehensive income and included in the initial cost of the other carrying amount of the asset or liability. In case the hedging transaction relates to financial assets, financial liabilities or future transactions, the changes in fair value of the hedging instrument are transferred from other comprehensive income to profit or loss in the reporting period in which the hedged item is recognised in the income statement. The term of the hedging instrument is aligned to coincide with the occurrence of the future transaction.

Other financial and other non-financial assets

Assets reported under other financial assets are generally recognised at cost of purchase less directly attributable transaction costs and measured at amortised cost. Impairment losses are determined for the reporting period in accordance with the general approach.

Other financial assets also include derivative financial instruments that are measured at fair value through profit or loss.

Deferred income presented pertains to transitorily deferred charges.

Deferred tax assets and deferred tax liabilities

Deferred tax assets and deferred tax liabilities are determined using the asset-liability method in accordance with IAS 12 (Income Taxes). Deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognised for temporary differences between the carrying amounts of these assets or liabilities in the consolidated financial statements and their tax base. Deferred tax assets are also considered for unused tax losses and interest carry-forwards.

Deferred tax assets are recognised only to the extent that it is probable that sufficient taxable profit will be available in the future to allow the corresponding benefit of that deferred tax asset to be realised.

Deferred tax assets and deferred tax liabilities are netted if these income tax assets and liabilities concern the same tax authority and refer to the same tax subject or a group of different tax subjects that are jointly assessed for income tax purposes. Deferred tax assets are remeasured at the end of each reporting period and adjusted if necessary.

Deferred taxes are determined on the basis of the tax rates expected in each country upon realisation. In principle, these are based on enacted laws or legislation that has been passed at the time of the closing date.

The assessment of deferred taxes reflects the tax consequence arising from METRO’s expectations as of the closing date with regard to the manner in which the carrying amounts of the assets will be realised or the liabilities will be settled.


In accordance with IAS 2 (Inventories), merchandise held as inventories is recognised at cost of purchase. The cost of purchase is determined either on the basis of a separate measurement of additions or by means of the weighted average cost method. Considerations from suppliers to be classified as a reduction in the cost of purchase are deducted when the costs of acquisition are determined.

Merchandise is measured as of the closing date at the lower of cost or net realisable value. Merchandise is written down on a case-by-case basis if the net realisable value declines below the carrying amount of the inventories. Such net realisable value corresponds to the anticipated estimated selling price less the attributable costs necessary to make the sale.

When the reasons for a write-down of the merchandise have ceased to exist, the previously recognised impairment loss is reversed.

Trade receivables

Trade receivables are recognised at amortised cost. For the reporting period, expected impairments determined on the basis of a provision matrix are taken into account. If there are further doubts about their recoverability, the trade receivables are recognised at the lower present value of the estimated future cash flows.

Income tax assets and liabilities

The income tax assets and liabilities presented relate to domestic and foreign income taxes for the reporting period as well as prior periods. They are determined in compliance with the tax laws of the respective country.

Income tax liabilities are calculated in accordance with IFRIC 23. IFRIC 23 clarifies the application of recognition and measurement requirements under IAS 12 where there is uncertainty about the treatment of income tax. Recognition and measurement requires estimates and assumptions to be made, for example whether an estimate is made separately or together with other uncertainties, whether a probable or expected value for the uncertainty is used, and whether changes have occurred compared to the previous period. The detection risk is irrelevant for the accounting treatment of uncertain balance sheet items. Accounting is based on the assumption that the tax authorities will investigate the matter in question and that they have all relevant information at their disposal.

The group companies are subject to income taxes in various countries worldwide. In assessing the worldwide income tax assets and liabilities, the interpretation of tax regulations in particular may be subject to uncertainty. It cannot be ruled out that the respective tax authorities may have different views on the correct interpretation of tax regulations. Changes in assumptions about the correct interpretation of tax standards, for example due to changes in case law, are reflected in the accounting treatment of uncertain income tax assets and liabilities in the relevant financial year.

Cash and cash equivalents

Cash and cash equivalents comprise cheques, cash on hand, bank deposits and other short-term liquid financial assets, such as accessible deposits on lawyer trust accounts or cash in transit, with an original term of up to 3 months. They are measured at their respective nominal values.

Non-current assets held for sale, liabilities related to assets held for sale and discontinued operations

In accordance with IFRS 5 (Non-current Assets Held for Sale and Discontinued Operations), an asset is classified as a non-current asset held for sale if the respective carrying amount will be recovered principally through a sale transaction rather than through continuing use. Analogously, liabilities related to assets held for sale are presented separately in the balance sheet. A sale must be feasible in practice and be planned for execution within the subsequent 12 months. Immediately before the initial classification of the assets and liabilities as held for sale, the carrying amounts of the assets and liabilities are measured in accordance with applicable IFRS. In case of reclassification, the assets and liabilities of the disposal group are measured at the lower of their carrying amount and the fair value less costs of disposal and are reported separately in the balance sheet. Discontinued operations are a component of an entity that either has been disposed of or is classified as held for sale and represents a separate major line of business or a separate geographical area of operations.

Employee benefits

Employee benefits include:

  • Short-term employee benefits
  • Post-employment benefits
  • Obligations similar to pensions
  • Termination benefits
  • Share-based payment

Short-term employee benefits include, for example, wages and salaries, social security contributions, paid annual leave and paid sick leave and are recognised as liabilities at the amount (to be) disbursed as soon as the associated job performance has been rendered.

Post-employment benefits are provided in the context of defined benefit or defined contribution plans. In the case of defined contribution plans, the obligation to make periodic contributions to an external pension provider is recognised as expenses for post-employment benefits at the same time as the beneficiaries provide their service. Missed payments or prepayments to the external pension provider are accrued or deferred as liabilities or receivables. Liabilities with a term of over 12 months are discounted.

The actuarial measurement of pension provisions for post-employment benefits plans as part of a defined benefit plan is effected in accordance with the projected unit credit method as stipulated by IAS 19 (Employee Benefits) on the basis of actuarial reports. Based on biometric data, this method takes into account known pensions and pension entitlements at the closing date as well as expected increases in future wages and pensions. Where the employee benefit obligations determined or the fair value of the plan assets increase or decrease between the beginning and end of a financial year as a result of experience adjustments (for example a changed fluctuation rate) or changes in underlying actuarial assumptions, this will result in actuarial gains and losses. These are recognised in other comprehensive income outside of profit or loss. Effects of plan changes and curtailments are recognised fully under service costs through profit or loss. The interest element of the addition to the provision is presented as interest expenses as part of the financial result. Insofar as plan assets exist, the amount of the pension obligation is generally the result of the difference between the present value of defined benefit obligations and the fair value of the plan assets.

Provisions for obligations similar to pensions (such as anniversary allowances and death benefits) are based on the present value of future payment obligations to the employee or his or her surviving dependants less any associated assets measured at fair value. The amount of provisions is determined on the basis of actuarial reports in line with IAS 19. Actuarial gains and losses are recognised in the period in which they are incurred.

Termination benefits comprise severance payments to employees. They are recognised as liabilities through profit or loss when contractual or factual payment obligations towards the employee are to be made in relation to the termination of the employment relationship. Such an obligation exists when a formal plan for the early termination of the employment relationship is available to which the company is bound. Benefits with terms of more than 12 months after the reporting period are recognised at their present value.

The share bonuses granted under the share-based remuneration system are classified as cash-settled share-based payments in accordance with IFRS 2 (Share-based Payment). For these share-based payments, provisions are set up on a pro rata basis, measured at the fair value of the obligations entered into. The recognition of the provision follows a prorated approach over the underlying vesting period and is recognised in profit or loss as personnel expenses. The fair value is remeasured at each closing date during the vesting period based on an option pricing model. Provisions are adjusted accordingly through profit or loss.

(Other) provisions

In accordance with IAS 37 (Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets), (other) provisions are recognised if legal or constructive obligations to third parties exist that are based on past business transactions or events and an outflow of financial resources that can be reliably measured is probable. The provisions are stated at the anticipated settlement amount with regard to all identifiable risks considered.

Long-term provisions with a term of more than 1 year are discounted to the closing date using an interest rate for matching maturities reflecting current market expectations regarding interest rate effects. Provisions with a term of less than 1 year are discounted accordingly, if the interest rate effect is material. Claims for recourse are not netted with provisions, but recognised separately as an asset if their realisation is considered virtually certain.

Provisions for onerous contracts are recognised if the unavoidable costs of meeting the obligations under a contract exceed the expected economic benefits resulting from the contract.

Provisions for restructurings are recognised if a constructive obligation for restructuring has been formalised by means of adopting a detailed restructuring plan and its communication to those employees affected as of the closing date.

Recognition of warranty provisions that do not fall into the scope of IFRS 15 (Revenue from Contracts with Customers) are based on past warranty claims and the sales of the current financial year.

(Other) financial liabilities

In accordance with IFRS 9, financial liabilities are assigned to one of the following categories:

  • At fair value through profit or loss
  • Other financial liabilities

The initial recognition of financial liabilities and the subsequent measurement of financial liabilities at fair value through profit or loss are conducted in analogy to the corresponding guidance as it is applied to financial assets.

All other financial liabilities are presented as such. They are measured at their amortised cost using the effective interest method.

The fair value option according to IFRS 9 is not applied to financial liabilities at METRO.

The fair values provided for the financial liabilities in the notes have been determined on the basis of the interest rates prevailing at the closing date for the remaining terms and redemption structures.

Financial liabilities from finance leases are generally measured at the present value of future minimum lease payments.

A financial liability is derecognised only when it has expired or when the contractual obligations have been discharged or cancelled or have expired.

Other non-financial liabilities

Other non-financial liabilities are carried at their settlement amount.

Deferred income presented pertains to transitorily deferred charges.

Trade liabilities

Trade liabilities are recognised at amortised cost.


Under IFRS 16, a contract is a lease or includes a lease when it conveys the right to use an identified asset for a specified period in exchange for a consideration.

Exercising of options

Various options are available to lessees. METRO did not make use of the option of creating a portfolio of leases with the same or similar characteristics for accounting and measurement purposes. However, METRO exercises the option to not apply the right-of-use approach to leases for which the underlying asset is of low value (mainly business and office equipment) or to short-term leases (maximum term of 12 months). Rental expenses for these assets are therefore recognised directly in the income statement. 

The option to separate lease and non-lease components (services) is not exercised and the non-lease components are included in the right-of-use assets to be recognised.

Furthermore, the option to capitalise leased intangible assets was not exercised. These assets still fall within the scope of IAS 38. 

METRO as lessee

The company recognises an asset with a right of use and a lease liability at the inception of the lease. The right of use is initially measured at cost, which is the initial amount of the lease liability, adjusted for any lease payments made on or before the commencement date, plus any initially incurred direct costs, less any incentives received. The right of use is subsequently amortised on a straight-line basis over the shorter lease term or the useful life of the underlying asset. In addition, the right of use is reduced by any impairment losses and adjusted for certain remeasurements of the lease liabilities. The lease liability is initially measured at the present value of the lease payments, which are discounted at the interest rate inherent in the lease agreement; if this interest rate cannot be readily determined, they are discounted at the incremental borrowing rate that the company would have to pay for borrowing funds to acquire an asset of similar value in a similar economic environment. To determine the incremental borrowing rate, METRO uses country- and currency-specific reference interest rates based on risk-free rates with matching maturities, plus the credit risk premium. This is determined for each country on a quarterly basis and is broken down by maturity.

The lease payments included in the measurement of the lease liability consist of the following items: 

  • Fixed payments, including substantially fixed payments 
  • Variable lease payments that depend on an index or instalment, which are initially measured using the index or instalment on the starting date 
  • Amounts expected to be paid under a residual value guarantee 
  • Exercise price of a purchase option that the company expects to be exercised with reasonable certainty 
  • Lease payments in an optional extension period, if it is reasonably certain that the company will exercise an extension option 
  • Penalties for early termination of a lease, unless the company is reasonably certain that it will not terminate the lease prematurely

The lease liability is measured at amortised cost using the effective interest method. It is remeasured if the future lease payments change as a result of a change in the index or interest rate, if the company’s estimate of the amount expected to be payable under a residual value guarantee changes, or if the company changes its assessment of whether it will exercise a purchase, renewal or termination option. If the lease liability is remeasured in this way, a corresponding adjustment to the carrying amount of the right of use is made or recognised in the income statement if the carrying amount of the right of use is reduced to 0. Rights of use are recognised in the balance sheet under property, plant and equipment. Rights of use that meet the definition of investment property are included under investment properties and are recognised separately in the financial statements. Lease liabilities are included in other current financial liabilities and other non-current financial liabilities. 

In the cash flow statement, the company has classified the redemption of lease payments and the interest portion within financing activities. Lease payments are divided into a redemption and an interest portion and are included in the cash flow statement in the line lease disbursements. Lease payments for short-term leases, lease payments for leases of low-value assets and variable lease payments not included in the measurement of the lease liability are classified as cash flows from operating activities. 

METRO as lessor

The accounting policies that applied to METRO as a lessor under the previous standard do not differ materially from the new rules under IFRS 16. However, there are differences with regard to subleases, which are classified under IFRS 16 with reference to the right of use and not, as previously, by reference to the underlying asset. As a result, the number of subleases classified as finance leases has risen, and the amount of receivables to be reported in the balance sheet has increased accordingly. 

Even if the company is the lessor in a sublease, it determines at the inception of the lease whether each lease is a finance lease or an operating lease. To classify each lease, the company makes an overall assessment of whether the lease generally transfers all the risks and benefits associated with ownership of the underlying asset. If this is the case, the lease is a finance lease; otherwise, it is an operating lease. As part of this assessment, the company considers certain indicators, for example, whether the lease covers most of the lease term of the main lease of the asset. 

If the lease is a finance lease, a net investment (receivable) equal to the discounted future lease payments to be received is recognised in the balance sheet. The interest rate underlying the lease is used to determine the discount. Interest income from leases is recognised in cash flow from operating activities. 

If the company is an intermediate lessor, it accounts for its interest in the main lease agreement and the sublease agreement separately. If a main lease is a short-term lease to which the company applies the exception described above, the company classifies the sublease as an operating lease. The company recognises lease payments it receives under operating leases as rental income. 

Sale-and-leaseback transactions 

If a sale-and-leaseback transaction involves the sale of the asset as defined by IFRS 15 (Revenue from Contracts with Customers), the lessee (seller) must derecognise the asset and recognise any gain or loss relating to the rights transferred to the lessor (buyer).  

All measures specifying compliance with legal requirements as well as social guidelines and values by a company and its employees.
Fair value
Recognised fair value that would be received in return for the disposal of an asset or paid for the assignment of a debt in an ordinary transaction conducted between market participants on the assessment date.
Interpretation on IFRS prepared by the IFRS Interpretations Committee (or its predecessor) and approved by the IASB.
IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards)
Internationally applicable rules for financial reporting developed by the IASB.

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