A.2 – Main items of the financial statements

1 – Financial assets held for trading

Classification criteria

Financial assets held for trading include financial instruments held with the intention of generating profit from fluctuations in their prices in the short term.

Recognition criteria

Debt and equity instruments, as well as derivatives held for trading purposes, are classified in this category. Initial recognition is made at fair value. This corresponds to the consideration paid, excluding the transaction costs attributable to the instrument, which are recognised in profit or loss.

Measurement criteria

Also subsequent to initial recognition, financial assets held for trading are measured at fair value. The fair value of instruments traded on an active market is determined based on market prices.

If a market for a financial instrument is not active, an entity establishes fair value by using a measurement technique that makes maximum use of market inputs and includes recent arm's length market transactions, reference to the current fair value of another instrument that is substantially the same, discounted cash flow analysis, and internal models or measurement techniques generally used for pricing financial instruments.

Derecognition criteria

Financial assets held for trading are derecognised exclusively when all relevant risks and rewards have been transferred. Should the company retain part of the relevant risks and rewards, the financial assets will continue to be recognised, even though legal ownership has been actually transferred to a third party.

Where it is not possible to ascertain the substantial transfer of the risks and rewards, financial assets are derecognised if the company no longer has control over them. Otherwise, the financial assets are recognised proportionally to the entity’s continuing involvement in the asset, measured according to the exposure to changes in the transferred assets’ value and cash flows.

Lastly, as for the transfer of collection rights, transferred financial assets are derecognised even if contractual rights to receive cash flows are maintained but an obligation to pay such flows to one or more companies is taken on.

2 - Available for sale financial assets

Classification criteria

These are financial assets not classified as loans and receivables, held-to-maturity investments, or financial assets held for trading. They can fall under available-for-sale financial investments, money market securities, other debt instruments and equity securities.

Recognition criteria

Available for sale financial assets are initially recognised at fair value, i.e. the cost of the operation including transaction costs directly attributable to the instrument, if any.

For interest-bearing instruments, interest is recognised at amortised cost, using the effective interest method.

Measurement criteria

Subsequent to their initial recognition, these investments are measured at their year-end fair value. The fair value is calculated based on the same criteria as those used for financial assets held for trading. Gains and losses resulting from changes in fair value are recognised under a dedicated equity reserve until the financial asset is transferred: then, accrued profits and losses are recognised in profit or loss. Changes in fair value recognised in the item “valuation reserve” are also included in the statement of comprehensive income under item 100 “Available for sale financial assets”.

If there is objective evidence that the asset is permanently impaired, the accrued loss recognised directly to equity is transferred to profit or loss. The total amount of this loss is equal to the difference between the carrying amount (acquisition cost, net of any impairment losses previously recognised in the income statement) and the fair value.

As for debt instruments, any circumstances indicating that the borrower is experiencing financial difficulties which could undermine the collection of the principal or interests represent a permanent impairment loss.

As far as equity instruments are concerned, the existence of impairment losses is assessed on the basis of indicators such as fair value falling below cost and adverse changes in the environment in which the company operates, as well as the issuer’s debt servicing difficulties. A significant or lasting fall in the fair value of an equity instrument below its cost is considered objective evidence of an impairment loss. The impairment loss is considered significant if the fair value falls by more than 20% below cost, and is considered lasting if it persists for more than 9 months.

If, at a later date, the fair value of a debt instrument increases and such an increase can be objectively related to an event occurring after the period in which the impairment loss was recognised in profit or loss, the impairment loss is reversed, recognising the corresponding amount in profit or loss.

As for equity securities, instead, if the grounds for impairment no longer exist, the impairment losses are later reversed through equity.

Derecognition criteria

Available for sale financial assets are derecognised exclusively when all relevant risks and rewards have been transferred. Should the company retain part of the relevant risks and rewards, the financial assets will continue to be recognised, even though legal ownership has been actually transferred to a third party.

Where it is not possible to ascertain the substantial transfer of the risks and rewards, financial assets are derecognised if the company no longer has control over them. Otherwise, the financial assets are recognised proportionally to the entity’s continuing involvement in the asset, measured according to the exposure to changes in the transferred assets’ value and cash flows.

Lastly, as for the transfer of collection rights, transferred financial assets are derecognised even if contractual rights to receive cash flows are maintained but an obligation to pay such flows to one or more companies is taken on.

3 - Held to maturity financial assets

Classification criteria

Investments held until maturity are securities, with fixed or determinable payments and a fixed maturity date, that an entity is objectively willing and able to hold to maturity.

These securities may be used in repurchase agreements, loans or temporary refinancing transactions.

Recognition criteria

After initial recognition at fair value, which is usually equal to the consideration paid including expenses and income directly attributable to the acquisition or issue of the financial asset (even if not yet settled), these assets are recognised at amortised cost using the effective interest method.

Measurement criteria

If there is objective evidence that the issuer’s solvency is deteriorated, the assets are tested for impairment: the resulting impairment losses are equal to the difference between the carrying amount of the impaired assets and the present value (calculated based on the internal rate of return) of cash flows expected for principal and interest; any reversals of impairment losses cannot exceed the amortised cost that would have been incurred if no impairment loss had been recognised.

Derecognition criteria

Should a significant amount of such assets be sold or reclassified before their maturity during the period, the remaining financial assets held to maturity shall be reclassified as available for sale and the use of the portfolio concerned be blocked for the following two years, unless such sale or reclassification:

  • is so close to maturity or the option expiration date that changes in the market interest rate would not significantly affect the financial asset’s fair value;
  • occurs after the entity has collected essentially all of the financial asset’s original principal through scheduled payments or prepayments; or
  • is attributable to an isolated event that is beyond the entity’s control, is non-recurring and could not have been reasonably foreseen by the entity.

4 - Loans and receivables

Classification criteria

Receivables include loans to customers and banks with fixed or determinable payment dates and not traded on an active market.

Receivables due from customers largely consist of:

  • demand advances to customers as part of factoring operations vis-à-vis a receivables portfolio factored with recourse and still recognised in the seller’s statement of financial position, or vis-à-vis receivables factored without recourse, providing no contractual clauses that eliminate the conditions for their recognition exist.
  • distressed retail loans acquired from banks and retail lenders;
  • tax receivables resulting from insolvency proceedings.

Distressed retail loans, due to their nature, are classified as either unlikely to pay or bad loans according to the criteria established in Circular 272/2008, which sets out the rules for reporting on supervisory, statistical, and financial matters as well as prudential capital ratios, and Circular 139/1991, relating to the Central Credit Register. In particular, those loans maintain the same classification as that assigned by the invoice seller, provided the latter is subject to the same law as Banca IFIS: otherwise, if the Bank has not ascertained the debtor's state of insolvency, those loans are classified as unlikely to pay.

Recognition criteria

Loans are initially recognised at the date they are granted and/or acquired at their fair value, including any transaction costs. Transaction costs are incremental costs directly attributable to the acquisition or granting of loans and determinable right from the beginning of the transaction, even though they are settled at a later date. Incremental costs are those costs that the company would not have incurred had it not acquired or granted the loan. Costs meeting these characteristics, but to be reimbursed by the debtor or falling under normal internal administrative costs, are excluded.

Measurement criteria

After initial recognition, the receivables are measured at amortised cost, which is equal to the initial amount minus/plus reimbursements of principal, impairment losses/reversals of impairment losses, and amortisation calculated using the effective interest method. The effective interest rate is calculated as the rate at which the present value of expected cash flows for the principal and interest is equal to the amount of the loan granted, including any directly attributable costs/revenues. This finance-based accounting method allows to spread the economic effect of costs/revenues over the expected residual life of the receivable.

The amortised cost method usually does not apply to short-term loans, as the effect of discounting would be immaterial. These are measured instead at their acquisition cost. A similar criterion applies to loans without a definite payment date or revocable loans. Furthermore, newly acquired distressed retail loans are measured at cost until the Bank has started taking action to recover the receivable, as specified later on in the part concerning non-performing exposures in the DRL sector.

At the end of every reporting period, including interim periods, receivables are reviewed in order to identify those objectively at risk of impairment following events occurred after their initial recognition. In accordance with both the Bank of Italy’s regulations and IASs, bad loans, unlikely to pay, and past due exposures fall into this category.

In the notes, impairment losses on loans are classified as individual impairment losses in the mentioned income statement item even under a lump-sum calculation method.

As for the non-performing exposures included in the trade receivables sector, they were measured according to the following criteria.

Bad loans are individually evaluated, and the total amount of the impairment loss on each loan is equal to the difference between the carrying amount at measurement (amortised cost) and the present value of expected future cash flows, calculated by applying the effective interest method at the moment in which the loan went bad. Expected cash flows are calculated taking into account expected recovery times based on historical elements and other significant characteristics, as well as the estimated realisable value of guarantees, if any.

Each subsequent change in the amount or maturities of expected cash flows causing a negative change from the initial estimates results in the recognition of an impairment loss in profit or loss.

If the quality of a non-performing exposure improves and there is reasonable certainty of a timely recovery of both principal and interest, in keeping with the relevant initial terms and conditions, the impairment loss is reversed through profit and loss to a value not higher than the amortised cost that would have been incurred if no impairment loss had been recognised.

Outstanding gross loans below 100 thousand Euro as well as those above 100 thousand Euro which went bad over 10 years prior to the reporting date are written down to zero.

Unlikely to pay loans amounting to more than 100 thousand Euro are evaluated individually; the write-down to each loan is equal to the difference between the amount recognised in the balance sheet at the time of recognition (amortised cost) and the current value of expected future cash flows, calculated using the original effective interest rate or, in case of indexed rates, the last contractually applied rate. If the individual evaluation does not indicate any impairment, they are collectively tested for impairment.

Unlikely to pay loans amounting to less than 100 thousand Euro are collectively tested for impairment.

Non-performing past due exposures, as defined by the Bank of Italy, are collectively tested for impairment. Such measurement applies to categories of loans with a homogeneous credit risk. The relevant losses are estimated as a percentage of the original loan amount by taking into account historical time series based on observable market data existing at the time of measurement and allowing to calculate the latent losses for each category.

Performing loans are collectively tested for impairment. Such measurement applies to categories of loans with a homogeneous credit risk. The relevant losses are estimated as a percentage of the original loan amount by taking into account historical time series based on observable market data existing at the time of measurement and allowing to calculate the latent losses for each category.

Impaired loans included in the DRL sector are recognised and assessed through the following steps:

  1. at the time of purchase, receivables are recognised by allocating the portfolio's purchase price among the individual receivables it consists of through the following steps: 
    • recognition of the individual receivables at a value equal to the contract price, which is used for the purposes of reporting to the Central Credit Register; 
    • after verifying the documentation, if provided in the contract, the Bank returns the loans lacking documentation or beyond the statute of limitations to the seller, and measures the fair value of receivables which actually exist and can be collected; finally, after sending a notice of assignment to the debtor, the Bank can start taking action to collect the receivable;
  2. once the collection process begins, receivables are measured at amortised cost using the effective interest rate method;
  3. the effective interest rate is calculated on the basis of the price paid, the transaction costs, if any, and the estimated cash flows and collection time calculated using either a proprietary model (point 5), or analytical estimates made by managers;
  4. the effective interest rate as set out in the previous point is unchanged over time;
  5. The proprietary model estimates cash flows by projecting the “breakdown” of the nominal amount of the receivable “over time” based on the historical recovery profile for similar clusters. In addition, for the positions with funding characteristics, the Bank uses a “deterministic” model based on the measurement of the future instalments of the settlement plan, net of the historical default rate.
  6. at the end of each reporting period, interest income accrued on the basis of the original effective interest rate is recognised under Interest Income. Said interest is calculated as follows: Amortised Cost at the beginning of the period x IRR/365 x days in the period;
  7. in addition, at the end of each reporting period, the expected cash flows for each position are re-estimated;
  8. should events occur (higher or lower revenues realised or expected compared to forecasts and/or a change in collection times) which cause a change in the amortised cost (calculated by discounting the new cash flows at the original effective rate compared to the amortised cost in the period), this change is also recognised under Interest Income;
  9. in case of impairment events, the changes in the amortised cost (calculated by discounting the new cash flows at the original effective interest rate compared to the period's amortised cost) are recognised under item 130 Net impairment losses/reversals on receivables; if an impairment loss had already been recognised, reversals can be recognised up to the amount of said impairment loss, recognising the surplus under Interest Income.

Finally, tax receivables are classified under performing loans, since they are due from the Public Administration.

Derecognition criteria

A receivable is entirely derecognised when it is considered unrecoverable. Derecognitions are directly recorded under net impairment losses on receivables and are recognised as a reduction of the principal. Partial or complete reversals of previous impairment losses are recognised as a reduction of net impairment losses on receivables.

Sold or securitised financial assets are derecognised exclusively when all relevant risks and rewards have been transferred. Should the company retain part of the relevant risks and rewards, the financial assets will continue to be recognised, even though legal ownership has been actually transferred to a third party.

In such cases, a financial liability is recognised for an amount equal to the consideration received.

If some, but not all, the risks and rewards have been transferred, financial assets are derecognised only if the company no longer has control over them. Otherwise, the financial assets are recognised proportionally to the entity’s continuing involvement in them.

Finally, as for the transfer of collection rights, transferred financial assets are derecognised even if contractual rights to receive cash flows are maintained but an obligation to pay such flows to one or more entities is taken on.

8 - Property, plant and equipment and investment property

Classification criteria

The item includes tangible assets used in operations and those held for investment. It also includes those acquired under finance leases.

All property (either fully owned or leased) held by the company for the purposes of obtaining rent and/or a capital gain fall under investment property.

All property (either fully owned or leased) held by the company for business and expected to be used for more than one fiscal year fall under property for functional use.

Property, plant and equipment for functional use include:

  • land
  • buildings
  • furniture and accessories
  • electronic office machines
  • various machines and equipment
  • vehicles
  • leasehold improvements on third-party property

Those are physical assets held for use in production, in providing goods and services or for administrative purposes, and that are expected to be used for more than one fiscal year.

This item also includes assets used as a lessee under lease contracts.

Financial leases are leases that essentially transfer all the risks and rewards deriving from ownership of an asset to the lessee.

Leasehold improvements on third-party property are improvements and expenses relating to identifiable and separable asset. Normally, this kind of investment is sustained in order to make a property rented from third parties suitable for use.

Recognition criteria

Property, plant and equipment and investment property are initially recognised at cost, including all directly attributable costs connected to the acquisition or to bring the asset into use.

Subsequently incurred expenses are added to the carrying amount of the asset, or recognised as separate assets, if they are likely to yield future economic benefits exceeding those initially estimated and if the cost can be measured reliably; otherwise, they are recognised in profit or loss.

Measurement criteria

Property, plant and equipment and investment property are measured at cost, net of any depreciation or impairment losses.

Property, plant and equipment and investment property with a finite useful life are systematically depreciated on a straight-line basis over their useful life.

Property, plant and equipment and investment property with an indefinite useful life, whose residual value is equal to or higher than their carrying amount, are not depreciated.

For accounting purposes, land and buildings are treated separately, even when acquired together. Land is not depreciated, as it has an indefinite useful life. Where the value of land is included in the value of a building, the former is considered separately by applying the component approach. The separate values of the land and the building are calculated by independent experts in this field and only for entirely owned properties.

The useful life of property, plant and equipment and investment property is reviewed at the closure of each period and, if expectations are not in line with previous estimates, the depreciation rate for the current period and subsequent ones is adjusted.

If there is objective evidence that an individual asset may be impaired, the asset’s carrying amount is compared to its recoverable amount, which is the higher of an asset's fair value less costs to sell and its value in use, intended as the present value of future cash flows expected to arise from this asset. Any impairment loss is recognised in profit or loss.

When an impairment loss is reversed, the new carrying amount cannot exceed the net carrying amount that would have been measured if no impairment loss had been recognised on the asset in previous years.

The usually estimated useful lives are the following:

  • buildings:not exceeding 34 years
  • furniture: not exceeding 7 years.
  • Electronic systems:not exceeding 3 years
  • other: not exceeding 5 years.
  • Improvements on third party property/leasehold improvements:not exceeding 5 years

Derecognition criteria

Property, plant and equipment and investment property are derecognised from the statement of financial position on disposal or when they are withdrawn from use and no future economic benefits are expected from their disposal.

9 - Intangible assets

Classification criteria

Intangible assets are non-monetary assets, identifiable even though they lack physical substance, that meet the requirements of identifiability, control over a resource and existence of future economic benefits. Intangible assets mainly include goodwill and software.

Recognition criteria

Intangible assets are recognised in the statement of financial position at cost, i.e. the purchase price and any direct cost incurred in preparing the asset for use.

Goodwill is represented by the positive difference between the acquisition cost and the fair value of the acquiree’s assets and liabilities and when such positive difference is representative of the capacity to generate returns in the future.

Measurement criteria

Intangible assets with a finite useful life are systematically amortised according to their estimated useful life.

If there is objective evidence that a single asset may be impaired, the asset’s carrying amount is compared to its recoverable amount, which is the higher of an asset's fair value less costs to sell and its value in use, intended as the present value of future cash flows expected to arise from this asset. Any impairment loss is recognised in profit or loss.

Intangible assets with an indefinite useful life are not amortised. The carrying amount is compared with the recoverable amount at least on an annual basis. If the carrying amount is greater than the recoverable amount, a loss equal to the difference between the two amounts is recognised in profit or loss.

Should the impairment of an intangible asset (excluding goodwill) be reversed, the increased net carrying amount cannot exceed the net carrying amount that would have been measured if no impairment loss had been recognised on the asset in previous years.

Goodwill is recognised in the statement of financial position at cost, net of any accrued losses, and is not subject to amortisation. Goodwill is tested for impairment at least annually by comparing its carrying amount to its recoverable amount. To this end, goodwill must be allocated to cash-generating units (CGUs) in compliance with the maximum combination limit that cannot exceed the "operating segment" identified for internal management purposes.

The impairment loss, if any, is calculated based on the difference between the carrying amount of the CGU plus its recoverable amount, which is the higher of the CGU’s fair value less costs to sell and its value in use.

The amount of any impairment losses is recognised in profit or loss and is not derecognised in the following years should the reason for the impairment be no longer valid.

Derecognition criteria

An intangible asset is derecognised from the statement of financial position on disposal or when it is withdrawn from use and no future economic benefits are expected from its disposal.

11 – Current and deferred taxes

Classification criteria

Current and deferred taxes, calculated in compliance with national tax laws, are recognised in profit or loss with the exception of items directly credited or debited to equity.

Current tax liabilities are shown in the statement of financial position net of relative tax advances paid for the current period.

Deferred tax assets and liabilities are recognised in the statement of financial position at pre-closing balances and without set-offs, and are included in the items ‘tax assets’ and ‘tax liabilities’, respectively.

Recognition and measurement criteria

Deferred tax assets and liabilities are calculated based on temporary differences—without time limits—between the value attributed to the asset or liability according to statutory criteria and the corresponding tax base, applying the tax rates expected to be applicable for the year in which the tax asset will be realised, or the tax liability will be settled, according to theoretical tax laws in force at the realisation date.

Deferred tax assets are entered in the statement of financial position according to the likelihood of their recovery, calculated on the basis of the company’s (or, due to tax consolidation, the parent company’s) ability to continue to generate positive taxable income.

Deferred tax liabilities are entered in the statement of financial position, with the sole exception of the tax-relieved major assets represented by strategic investments not expected to be sold and reserves, as it can be safely assumed that operations giving rise to their taxation will be avoided, based on the amount of already taxed available reserves.

12 – Provisions for risks and charges

These provisions consist of liabilities arising when:

  • a legal or constructive obligation exists as a result of a past event;
  • it is likely that it will be necessary to spend resources which could generate economic benefits to settle the obligation;
  • the amount of the obligation can be reliably estimated.

Should all these conditions not be met, no liability is recognised.

The amount recognised as a provision represents the best estimate of the expense required to meet the obligation and reflects the risks and uncertainties regarding the facts and circumstances in question.

Where the cost deferral is significant, the amount of the provision is determined as the present value of the best estimate of the cost to settle the obligation. In this case a discount rate is used that reflects current market assessments.

The provisions made are periodically reviewed and, if necessary, adjusted to reflect the best current estimate. When the review finds that the cost is unlikely to be incurred, the provision is reversed.

13 – Payables and outstanding securities

Classification criteria

Payables due to banks and customers and outstanding securities include the various forms of interbank funding, as well as funding from customers and through outstanding bonds, net of any buybacks.

In addition, payables incurred by the lessee as part of finance lease transactions are also included.

Recognition criteria

Payables due to banks and customers and outstanding securities are initially recognised at their fair value, which is equal to the consideration received, net of transaction costs directly attributable to the financial liability.

Measurement criteria

After initial recognition at fair value, these instruments are later measured at amortised cost, using the effective interest method.

Compound debt instruments, connected to equity instruments, foreign currencies, credit instruments or indexes are all considered structured instruments. The embedded derivative is split from the host contract and accounted for separately if the criteria for splitting are met. The embedded derivative is recognised at its fair value and then measured. Any fair value changes are recognised in profit or loss.

The value corresponding to the difference between the total collected amount and the fair value of the embedded derivative is attributed to the host contract and then measured at amortised cost.

Instruments convertible into newly issued treasury shares are considered as structured instruments and imply the recognition, at the date of issue, of a financial liability and an equity component.

The instrument’s residual value, resulting from the deduction from its overall value of the value separately calculated for a financial liability without conversion clause with the same cash flows, is attributed to the equity component.

The financial liability is recognised net of directly attributable transaction costs and later measured at amortised cost using the effective interest method.

Derecognition criteria

Financial liabilities are derecognised when they expire or are settled. The difference between the carrying amount and the acquisition cost is recognised in profit or loss.

Liabilities are derecognised also when previously issued securities are bought back, even if such instruments will be sold again in the future. Gains and losses from such derecognition are recognised in profit or loss when the buyback price is higher or lower than the carrying amount.

Subsequent sales of the company’s own bonds on the market are considered as an issuance of new debt.

14 – Financial liabilities held for trading

Classification criteria

Financial liabilities held for trading refer to derivative contracts that are not hedging instruments.

Recognition criteria

At initial recognition, financial liabilities held for trading are recognised at fair value.

Measurement criteria

Also subsequent to initial recognition, financial liabilities held for trading are measured at fair value at the reporting date. The fair value is calculated based on the same criteria as those used for financial assets held for trading.

Derecognition criteria

Financial liabilities held for trading are derecognised when they are settled or when the obligation is fulfilled, cancelled or expired. The difference arising from their derecognition is recognised in profit or loss.

16 – Foreign currency transactions

Initial recognition

At initial recognition, foreign currency transactions are recognised in the money of account, applying the exchange rate at the date of the transaction.

Subsequent recognitions

At each reporting date, including interim periods, foreign currency monetary items are translated using the closing rate.

Non-monetary assets and liabilities recognised at historical cost are translated at the historical exchange rate, while those measured at fair value are translated using the year-end rate. Any exchange differences arising from the settlement of monetary elements or their translation at exchange rates different from those used at initial recognition or in previous financial statements are recognised in profit or loss in the period in which they arise, excluding those relating to available for sale financial assets, as they are recognised in equity.

18 - Other information

Post-employment benefits

Pursuant to IAS 19 ‘Employee benefits’ and up to 31 December 2006, the so-called ‘TFR’ post-employment benefit for employees of the Group’s Italian companies was classified as a defined benefit plan. The Group had to recognise this benefit by discounting it using the projected unit credit method.

Following the coming into force of the 2007 Budget Law, which brought the reform regarding supplementary pension plans—as per Legislative Decree no. 252 of 5 December 2005 —forward to 1 January 2007, the employee was given a choice as to whether to allocate the post-employment benefits earned as from 1 January 2007 to supplementary pension funds or to maintain them in the company, which would then transfer it to a dedicated fund managed by INPS (the Italian National Social Security Institute).

This reform has led to changes in the accounting of such benefits as for both the benefits earned up to 31 December 2006 and those earned from 1 January 2007.

In particular:

  • benefits earned as from 1 January 2007 constitute a defined-contribution plan, regardless of whether the employee has chosen to allocate them to a supplementary pension fund or to INPS’s Treasury Fund. Those benefits shall be calculated according to contributions due without applying actuarial methods;
  • benefits earned up to 31 December 2006 continue to be considered as a defined-benefit plan, and as such are calculated on an actuarial basis which, however, unlike the calculation method applied until 31 December 2006, no longer implies that the benefits be proportionally attributed to the period of service rendered: the employee’s service is considered entirely accrued due to the change in the accounting nature of benefits earned as from 1 January 2007.

Actuarial gains/losses shall be included immediately in the calculation of the net obligations to employees through equity, to be reported in other comprehensive income.

Share-based payments

They are payments granted to employees or similar parties as remuneration for the services received that are settled in equity instruments.

The relevant international accounting standard is IFRS 2 – Share-based payments; specifically, since the Bank is to settle the obligation for the service received in equity instruments (shares “to the value of”, i.e. a given amount is converted into a variable number of shares based on the fair value at grant date), those payments fall under “equity-settled share-based payments”.

As a general rule, IFRS 2 requires entities to recognise share-based payment transactions as personnel expenses, with a corresponding increase in equity; the cost is amortised on a straight-line basis over the vesting period.

Treasury shares

Pursuant to regulations in force in Italy, buying back treasury shares requires a specific resolution of the shareholders' meeting and the recognition of a specific reserve in equity. Treasury shares in the portfolio are deducted from equity and measured at cost, calculated using the “Fifo” method. Differences between the purchase price and the selling price deriving from trading in these shares during the accounting period are recognised under equity reserves.

Recognition of costs and revenues

Income from management and guarantee services for receivables purchased through factoring activities are recognised under commission income according to their duration. Components considered in the amortised cost to calculate the effective interest rate are excluded and recognised instead under interest income.

Costs are recognised on an accrual basis. Concerning the costs of the DRL segment, the costs incurred upfront for non-judicial debt collection operations through settlement plans, as well as legal expenses and registration fees for judicial debt collection operations, are recognised in profit or loss under “Other administrative expenses” in the period in which the positive impact of the relevant receivables deriving from the change in the underlying cash flows associated with the plans entered into or the court orders obtained is recognised in profit or loss.

Dividends

Dividends are recognised in profit or loss in the year in which the resolution concerning their distribution is passed.

Repurchase agreements

Securities received as a result of transactions that contractually require they are subsequently sold, as well as securities delivered as a result of transactions that contractually require they are subsequently repurchased, are not recognised in and/or derecognised from the financial statements.

Consequently, in cases of securities acquired under a repurchase agreement, the amount paid is recognised as due from customers or banks, or as a financial asset held for trading; and in cases of securities sold under a repurchase agreement, the liability is entered under payables due to banks or customers, or under financial liabilities held for trading. Income from these commitments, made up of the coupons matured on the securities and of the difference between their spot price and their forward price, is recognised under interest income in profit or loss.

The two types of transactions are offset if, and only if, they have been carried out with the same counterparty and if such offsetting is contractually envisaged.

Amortised cost

The amortised cost of a financial asset or liability is its amount upon initial recognition, net of any principal repayments, plus or minus the overall amortisation of the difference between the initial and the maturity value calculated using the effective interest method, and deducting any impairment losses.

The effective interest method is a method of spreading interest income or interest expense over the duration of a financial asset or liability. The effective interest rate is the rate that precisely discounts expected future payments or cash flows over the life of the financial instrument at the net carrying amount of the financial asset or liability. It includes all the expenses and basis points paid or received between the parties to a contract that are an integral part of such rate, as well as the transaction costs and all other premiums or discounts.

Commissions considered an integral part of the effective interest rate are the initial commissions received for selling or buying a financial asset not classified as measured at fair value: for example, those received as remuneration for the assessment of the debtor’s financial situation, for the assessment and the registration of sureties and, in general, for completing the transaction.

Transaction costs, in turn, include fees and commissions paid to agents (including employees that act as sales agents), advisors, brokers and dealers, levies charged by regulatory bodies and stock exchanges, and transfer taxes and duties. Transaction costs do not include financing, internal administration or operating costs.