The Company’s reported financial condition and results of operations are sensitive to accounting methods, assumptions and estimates that are the basis for our financial statements. The critical accounting policies, the judgments made in the creation and application of these policies, and the sensitivities of reported results to changes in accounting policies, assumptions and estimates are factors to be considered along with the Company’s financial statements, and the discussion below in “Results of Operations”.
Recoverability of Goodwill and Intangible Assets
The growth of our business through acquisitions has created a significant amount of intangible assets, including goodwill, trade names and management contracts. At December 31, 2010, the carrying amount of goodwill amounted to $8,140 M and non-amortizable intangible assets amounted to $215 M representing in total approximately 49% of our total assets.
In accordance with current accounting standards, we perform an impairment test of goodwill and non-amortizable intangible assets at least once a year for each reporting unit, or if we become aware of events that occur or if circumstances change that would indicate the carrying value might be impaired see also Note 1f.
To comply with the provisions of the current accounting standards for the impairment testing, the fair value of the reporting unit is compared to the reporting unit’s carrying amount. We estimate the fair value of each reporting unit using estimated future cash flows for the unit discounted by a weighted average cost of capital (WACC) specific to that reporting unit. Estimating the discounted future cash flows involves significant assumptions, especially regarding future reimbursement rates and sales prices, treatments and sales volumes and costs. In determining discounted cash flows, the Company utilizes for every reporting unit, its three-year budget, projections for years 4 to 10 and a corresponding growth rate for all remaining years. Projections for up to ten years are possible due to the stability of the Company’s business which, due to the non-discretionary nature of the healthcare services we provide, the need for products utilized to provide such services and the availability of government reimbursement for a substantial portion of our services, has been largely independent from the economic cycle. The Company’s weighted average cost of capital consisted of a basic rate of 6.38% for 2010. This basic rate is then adjusted by a country specific risk rate within each reporting unit.
If the fair value of the reporting unit is less than its carrying value, a second step is performed which compares the fair value of the reporting unit’s goodwill to the carrying value of its goodwill. If the fair value of the goodwill is less than its carrying value, the difference is recorded as an impairment.
A prolonged downturn in the healthcare industry with lower than expected increases in reimbursement rates and/or higher than expected costs for providing healthcare services and for procuring and selling products could adversely affect our estimated future cash flows. Future adverse changes in a reporting unit’s economic environment could affect the discount rate. A decrease in our estimated future cash flows and/or a decline in a reporting unit’s economic environment could result in impairment charges to goodwill and other intangible assets which could materially and adversely affect our future financial position and operating results.