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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 – specifically, this is generally the organisational unit per country – is compared to the corresponding carrying amount of the cash-generating unit. The recoverable amount is the higher of its value in use and its fair value less costs of disposal. It is calculated from discounted future cash flows and the level 3 input parameters of the fair value hierarchy. 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. 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.

Borrowing costs within the meaning of IAS 23 are generally not factored into the determination of production costs because the relevant criteria for a so-called qualified asset are not met.

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.

Investment properties

Analogous to property, plant and equipment, investment properties 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.

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 items.

Deferred tax assets and deferred tax liabilities

Deferred tax assets and deferred tax liabilities are determined using the asset-liability method.

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 IAS 12 and IFRIC 23. 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.

Employee benefits

Employee benefits include:

  • Short-term employee benefits
  • Post-employment benefits
  • Obligations similar to pensions
  • Termination benefits
  • Share-based payments
  • Other long-term employee benefits

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.

The other long-term employee benefits include the future benefits earned by employees in exchange for work performed in the current and previous periods (such as long-term profit sharing). These benefits are recognised at their present value.

(Other) provisions

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 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) is 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.

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

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. 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 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. Extension and termination options are included in a significant number of leases in all asset classes of METRO. Extension options (or termination options) are included in the term of the lease if their exercise (or non-exercise in the case of termination options) is sufficiently certain. In determining the lease term, management takes into account all facts and circumstances that create an economic incentive to exercise a renewal option or not to exercise a termination option. Examples of facts and circumstances include the terms of the lease for the optional periods compared to market conditions, significant improvements to the leases, costs associated with terminating the lease contract and the significance of the underlying asset to METRO’s operations. The measurement is reviewed if a significant event or significant change in circumstances occurs that affects this measurement.

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 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

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, the corresponding 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.

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