Measurement of pension provisions is based on the projected unit credit method prescribed by IAS 19 for defined benefit pension plans. The measurement of pension provisions within the balance sheet is based on a number of estimates and assumptions.
They include, in particular, assumptions about long-term salary and pension trends and average life expectancy. The assumptions about salary and pension trends are based on developments observed in the past and take into account national interest and inflation rates and labour market trends. Estimates of average life expectancy are based on recognised biometric calculation formulas.
The interest rate used for discounting future payment obligations is the country-specific market rate for long-term cash investments with a comparable risk profile and time to maturity.
The expected long-term development of existing plan assets is also determined with regard to the country concerned and depending on the fund structure, taking past experience into account.
Changes in estimates and assumptions from year to year and deviations from actual annual effects are reflected in actuarial gains/losses and are, if they exceed 10 per cent of the higher of obligation and plan assets, amortised pro rata via the income statement over the beneficiaries’ remaining period of service. The 10 per cent corridor rule prevents fluctuations in the balance sheet and the income statement from year to year.
Actuarial losses not disclosed in the balance sheet as of 31 December 2011 amount to EUR 2,839m (previous year: EUR 1,416m). In the 2011 financial year EUR 40m (previous year: EUR 15m) was amortised via staff costs.
Other provisions and provisions for taxes (effective income tax obligations) are recognised if an obligation toward third parties exists as a result of a past event that is likely to lead to an outflow of resources which can be reliably estimated. If no provision could be recognised because one of the stated criteria was not fulfilled, the corresponding obligations are shown as contingent liabilities.
The amount of provisions is determined by the amount that is most likely to arise.
Provisions for obligations that are not expected to lead to an outflow of resources in the following year are recognised to the amount of the present value of the expected outflow, taking foreseeable price rises into account.
The assigned value of provisions is reviewed on each balance sheet date. Provisions in foreign currencies are translated at reporting date rates.