By Ilonka Oudenampsen
The change in the IFRS accountancy rules will decrease the assets of the 75 most active Dutch companies on the stock exchange by €22bn, a €7bn increase on last year’s estimates, research by the accountancy workgroup at the University of Groningen has found.
Under the amendments to the accountancy rules companies will have to immediately incorporate shortfalls in their pension fund, rather than phasing out the deficits over several years as is allowed at the moment.
Only 38 of the 75 investigated companies have defined benefit schemes and will therefore be affected by the new accountancy rules. The research group found a greater impact than in previous studies, not only because more companies have been researched, but also because of the low interest rate and rising longevity.
The study has taken the financial position as of 31 December 2011 to calculate the costs of the new rules, which will take effect in 2013. Six out of 38 companies will see their assets shrink by more than 10 per cent as a result of the new rule. Relatively PostNL is being hit the hardest, with the costs being twice as high as the company’s assets. In absolute terms, Shell will see the biggest impact, with a reduction of €15bn of its assets.