SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
|3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2014
|Summary Of Significant Accounting Policies [Abstract]
|SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
1. SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
Nature of Operations. We collect, organize and manage various types of financial, demographic, employment and marketing information. Our products and services enable businesses to make credit and service decisions, manage their portfolio risk, automate or outsource certain human resources, employment tax and payroll-related business processes, and develop marketing strategies concerning consumers and commercial enterprises. We serve customers across a wide range of industries, including the financial services, mortgage, retail, telecommunications, utilities, automotive, brokerage, healthcare and insurance industries, as well as government agencies. We also enable consumers to manage and protect their financial health through a portfolio of products offered directly to consumers. As of March 31, 2014, we operated in the following countries: Argentina, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, or U.K., Uruguay, and the United States of America, or U.S. We also maintain support operations in the Republic of Ireland. We offer credit services in Russia and India through joint ventures and also have an investment in a consumer and commercial credit information company in Brazil.
We develop, maintain and enhance secured proprietary information databases through the compilation of actual consumer data, including credit, employment, asset, liquidity, net worth and spending activity, and business data, including credit and business demographics, that we obtain from a variety of sources, such as credit granting institutions, public record information (including bankruptcies, liens and judgments), income and tax information primarily from large to mid-sized companies in the U.S., and survey-based marketing information. We process this information utilizing our proprietary information management systems.
Basis of Presentation. The accompanying unaudited Consolidated Financial Statements have been prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, the instructions to Form 10-Q and applicable sections of Regulation S-X. To understand our complete financial position and results, as defined by GAAP, this Form 10-Q should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements and the notes thereto included in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013 (“2013 Form 10-K”).
Our unaudited Consolidated Financial Statements reflect all adjustments which are, in the opinion of management, necessary for a fair presentation of the periods presented and are of a normal recurring nature. Certain prior year amounts have been reclassified to conform to current period presentation.
Earnings Per Share. Our basic earnings per share, or EPS, is calculated as net income attributable to Equifax divided by the weighted-average number of common shares outstanding during the period. Diluted EPS is calculated to reflect the potential dilution that would occur if stock options or other contracts to issue common stock were exercised and resulted in additional common shares outstanding. The net income amounts used in both our basic and diluted EPS calculations are the same. A reconciliation of the weighted-average outstanding shares used in the two calculations is as follows:
For the three months ended March 31, 2014 and 2013, the stock options that were anti-dilutive were not material.
Financial Instruments. Our financial instruments consist primarily of cash and cash equivalents, accounts and notes receivable, accounts payable and short- and long-term debt. The carrying amounts of these items, other than long-term debt, approximate their fair market values due to the short-term nature of these instruments. The fair value of our fixed-rate debt is determined using Level 2 inputs such as quoted market prices for publicly traded instruments, and for non-publicly traded instruments through valuation techniques depending on the specific characteristics of the debt instrument. As of March 31, 2014 and December 31, 2013, the fair value of our long-term debt, based on observable inputs was $1.2 billion compared to its carrying value of $1.1 billion.
Derivatives and Hedging Activities. We use derivative financial instruments as a risk management tool to hedge the Company’s exposure to changes in interest rates, not for speculative purposes. On occasion, we have used interest rate swaps and interest rate lock agreements to manage interest rate risk associated with our fixed and floating-rate borrowings. Forward contracts on various foreign currencies have been used to manage the foreign currency exchange rate risk of certain firm commitments denominated in foreign currencies. We recognize all derivatives on the balance sheet at fair value. Derivative valuations reflect the value of the instrument including material amounts associated with counterparty risk.
Fair Value Hedges. In conjunction with our November 2009 sale of five-year Senior Notes, we entered into five-year interest rate swaps, designated as fair value hedges, which convert the debt’s fixed interest rate to a variable rate. These swaps involve the receipt of fixed rate amounts for floating interest rate payments over the life of the swaps without exchange of the underlying principal amount. Changes in the fair value of the interest rate swaps offset changes in the fair value of the fixed-rate Senior Notes they hedge due to changes in the designated benchmark interest rate and are recorded in interest expense. The fair value of these interest rate swaps was an asset of $4.4 million and $6.0 million at March 31, 2014 and December 31, 2013, respectively, and was recorded in other long-term assets on our Consolidated Balance Sheets.
Fair Value Measurements. Fair value is determined based on the assumptions marketplace participants use in pricing the asset or liability. We use a three level fair value hierarchy to prioritize the inputs used in valuation techniques between observable inputs that reflect quoted prices in active markets, inputs other than quoted prices with observable market data and unobservable data (e.g., a company’s own data).
The following table presents items measured at fair value on a recurring basis:
(1) The fair value of our interest rate swaps, which are designated as fair value hedges, and our notes, due in 2014, are based on the present value of expected future cash flows using zero coupon rates and are classified within Level 2 of the fair value hierarchy.
(2) We maintain deferred compensation plans that allow for certain management employees to defer the receipt of compensation (such as salary, incentive compensation and commissions) until a later date based on the terms of the plan. The liability representing benefits accrued for plan participants is valued at the quoted market prices of the participants’ investment elections. The asset consists of mutual funds reflective of the partcipants’ investment selections and is valued at daily quoted market prices.
Variable Interest Entities. We hold interests in certain entities, including credit data and information solutions ventures, that are considered variable interest entities, or VIEs. These variable interests relate to ownership interests that require financial support for these entities. Our investments related to these VIEs totaled $18.3 million at March 31, 2014, representing our maximum exposure to loss. We are not the primary beneficiary and are not required to consolidate any of these VIEs.
Other Assets. Other assets on our Consolidated Balance Sheets primarily represents our investment in unconsolidated affiliates, our cost method investment in Boa Vista Servicos (“BVS”), interest rate swaps, assets related to life insurance policies covering certain officers of the Company, and employee benefit trust assets. Our investment in BVS, which represents a 15% equity interest in BVS, was valued at 90 million Brazilian Reais ($39.8 million and $38.2 million at March 31, 2014 and December 31, 2013, respectively) and is accounted for using the cost method. The estimated fair value of the investment approximates carrying value at March 31, 2014.
Impairment of Cost Method Investment. We monitor the status of our cost method investment in order to determine if conditions exist or events and circumstances indicate that it may be impaired in that its carrying amount may exceed the fair value of the investment. Significant factors that are considered that could be indicative of an impairment include: changes in business strategy, market conditions, underperformance relative to historical or expected future operating results; and negative industry or economic trends. If potential indicators of impairment exist, we estimate the fair value of the investment using a combination of a discounted cash flow analysis and an evaluation of EBITDA and transaction multiples for comparable companies. If the carrying value of the investment exceeds the estimated fair value, an impairment loss is recorded based on the amount by which the investment’s carrying amount exceeds its fair value. We recorded an impairment of our cost method investment in 2013. See Note 2 of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in our 2013 Form 10-K for further discussion.