Significant Accounting Policies
|9 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2013
|Accounting Policies [Abstract]
|SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
A. Use of Estimates – The preparation of the consolidated financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amount of assets and liabilities, recognition of distribution income and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
B. Leased Property – The Company includes assets subject to lease arrangements within Leased property, net of accumulated depreciation, in the Consolidated Balance Sheets. Lease payments received are reflected in lease revenue on the Consolidated Statements of Income, net of amortization of any off-market adjustments. Costs in connection with the creation and execution of a lease are capitalized and amortized over the lease term. See Note 4 for further discussion.
C. Cash and Cash Equivalents – The Company maintains cash balances at financial institutions in amounts that regularly exceed FDIC insured limits. The Company’s cash equivalents are comprised of short-term, liquid money market instruments.
D. Long-Lived Assets and Intangibles – Property and equipment are stated at cost less accumulated depreciation. Depreciation is computed using the straight-line method over the estimated useful life of the asset. Expenditures for repairs and maintenance are charged to operations as incurred, and improvements, which extend the useful lives of assets, are capitalized and depreciated over the remaining estimated useful life of the asset.
The Company initially records long-lived assets at their acquisition cost, unless the transaction is accounted for as a business combination. If the transaction is accounted for as a business combination, the Company allocates the purchase price to the acquired tangible and intangible assets and liabilities based on their estimated fair values. The Company determines the fair values of assets and liabilities based on discounted cash flow models using current market assumptions, appraisals, recent transactions involving similar assets or liabilities and/or other objective evidence, and depreciates the asset values over the estimated remaining useful lives.
The Company may acquire long-lived assets that are subject to an existing lease contract with the seller or other lessee party and the Company may assume outstanding debt of the seller as part of the consideration paid. If, at the time of acquisition, the existing lease or debt contract is not at current market terms, the Company will record an asset or liability at the time of acquisition representing the amount by which the fair value of the lease or debt contract differs from its contractual value. Such amount is then amortized over the remaining contract term as an adjustment to the related lease revenue or interest expense. The Company periodically reviews its long-lived assets, primarily real estate, for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of such assets may not be recoverable. The Company’s review involves comparing current and future operating performance of the assets, the most significant of which is undiscounted operating cash flows, to the carrying value of the assets. Based on this analysis, a provision for possible loss is recognized, if any. No impairment write-downs were recognized during the three and nine months ended September 30, 2013 and August 31, 2012.
Costs in connection with the direct acquisition of a new asset are capitalized as a component of the purchase price and depreciated over the life of the asset. See Note 4 for further discussion.
E. Investment Securities – The Company’s investments in securities are classified as either trading or other equity securities:
F. Security Transactions and Fair Value – Security transactions are accounted for on the date the securities are purchased or sold (trade date). Realized gains and losses are reported on an identified cost basis.
For equity securities that are freely tradable and listed on a securities exchange or over-the-counter market, the Company values those securities at their last sale price on that exchange or over-the-counter market on the valuation date. If the security is listed on more than one exchange, the Company will use the price from the exchange that it considers to be the principal, which may not necessarily represent the last sale price. If there has been no sale on such exchange or over-the-counter market on such day, the security will be valued at the mean between the last bid price and last ask price on such day.
The major components of net realized and unrealized gain or loss on trading securities for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2013 and August 31, 2012 are as follows:
The Company holds investments in illiquid securities including debt and equity securities of privately-held companies. These investments generally are subject to restrictions on resale, have no established trading market and are valued on a quarterly basis. Because of the inherent uncertainty of valuation, the fair values of such investments, which are determined in accordance with procedures approved by the Company’s Board of Directors, may differ materially from the values that would have been used had a ready market existed for the investments.
The Company determines fair value to be the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. The Company has determined the principal market, or the market in which the Company exits its private portfolio investments with the greatest volume and level of activity, to be the private secondary market. Typically, private companies are bought and sold based on multiples of EBITDA, cash flows, net income, revenues, or in limited cases, book value.
For private company investments, value is often realized through a liquidity event of the entire company. Therefore, the value of the company as a whole (enterprise value) at the reporting date often provides the best evidence of the value of the investment and is the initial step for valuing the Company’s privately issued securities. For any one company, enterprise value may best be expressed as a range of fair values, from which a single estimate of fair value will be derived. In determining the enterprise value of a portfolio company, an analysis is prepared consisting of traditional valuation methodologies including market and income approaches. The Company considers some or all of the traditional valuation methods based on the individual circumstances of the portfolio company in order to derive its estimate of enterprise value.
The fair value of investments in private portfolio companies is determined based on various factors, including enterprise value, observable market transactions, such as recent offers to purchase a company, recent transactions involving the purchase or sale of the equity securities of the company, or other liquidation events. The determined equity values may be discounted when the Company has a minority position, or is subject to restrictions on resale, has specific concerns about the receptivity of the capital markets to a specific company at a certain time, or other comparable factors exist.
The Company undertakes a multi-step valuation process each quarter in connection with determining the fair value of private investments. An independent valuation firm has been engaged by the Company to provide independent, third-party valuation consulting services based on procedures that the Company has identified and may ask them to perform from time to time on all or a selection of private investments as determined by the Company. The multi-step valuation process is specific to the level of assurance that the Company requests from the independent valuation firm. For positive assurance, the process is as follows:
G. Accounts Receivable – Accounts receivable are presented at face value net of an allowance for doubtful accounts. Accounts are considered past due based on the terms of sale with the customers. The Company reviews accounts for collectibility based on an analysis of specific outstanding receivables, current economic conditions and past collection experience. At September 30, 2013, Management determined that an allowance for doubtful accounts related to our leases was not required. Lease payments by our tenants, as discussed within Note 4, have remained timely and without lapse.
H. Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities - FASB ASC 815, Derivatives and Hedging (“ASC 815”), provides the disclosure requirements for derivatives and hedging activities with the intent to provide users of financial statements with an enhanced understanding of: (a) how and why an entity uses derivative instruments, (b) how the entity accounts for derivative instruments and related hedged items, and (c) how derivative instruments and related hedged items affect an entity's financial position, financial performance, and cash flows. Further, qualitative disclosures are required that explain the Company's objectives and strategies for using derivatives, as well as quantitative disclosures about the fair value of and gains and losses on derivative instruments, and disclosures about credit-risk-related contingent features in derivative instruments. Accordingly, the Company's derivative assets and liabilities are presented on a gross basis.
As required by ASC 815, the Company records all derivatives on the balance sheet at fair value. The accounting for changes in the fair value of derivatives depends on the intended use of the derivative, whether the Company has elected to designate a derivative in a hedging relationship and apply hedge accounting and whether the hedging relationship has satisfied the criteria necessary to apply hedge accounting. Derivatives designated and qualifying as a hedge of the exposure to changes in the fair value of an asset, liability, or firm commitment attributable to a particular risk, such as interest rate risk, are considered fair value hedges. Derivatives designated and qualifying as a hedge of the exposure to variability in expected future cash flows, or other types of forecasted transactions, are considered cash flow hedges. Derivatives may also be designated as hedges of the foreign currency exposure of a net investment in a foreign operation. Hedge accounting generally provides for the matching of the timing of gain or loss recognition on the hedging instrument with the recognition of the changes in the fair value of the hedged asset or liability that are attributable to the hedged risk in a fair value hedge or the earnings effect of the hedged forecasted transactions in a cash flow hedge. The Company may enter into derivative contracts that are intended to economically hedge certain of its risks, even though hedge accounting does not apply or the Company elects not to apply hedge accounting.
FASB ASC 820, Fair Value Measurements and Disclosure ("ASC 820"), defines fair value, establishes a framework for measuring fair value, and expands disclosures about fair value measurements. In accordance with ASC 820, the Company made an accounting policy election to measure the credit risk of its derivative financial instruments that are subject to master netting agreements on a net basis by counterparty portfolio.
I. Fair Value Measurements - Various inputs are used in determining the fair value of the Company’s assets and liabilities. These inputs are summarized in the three broad levels listed below:
ASC 820 applies to reported balances that are required or permitted to be measured at fair value under existing accounting pronouncements; accordingly, the standard does not require any new fair value measurements of reported balances. ASC 820 emphasizes that fair value is a market-based measurement, not an entity-specific measurement. Therefore, a fair value measurement should be determined based on the assumptions that market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability. As a basis for considering market participant assumptions in fair value measurements, ASC 820 establishes a fair value hierarchy that distinguishes between market participant assumptions based on market data obtained from sources independent of the reporting entity (observable inputs that are classified within Levels 1 and 2 of the hierarchy) and the reporting entity's own assumptions about market participant assumptions (unobservable inputs classified within Level 3 of the hierarchy).
Level 1 inputs utilize quoted prices (unadjusted) in active markets for identical assets or liabilities that the Company has the ability to access. Level 2 inputs are inputs other than quoted prices included in Level 1 that are observable for the asset or liability, either directly or indirectly. Level 2 inputs may include quoted prices for similar assets and liabilities in active markets, as well as inputs that are observable for the asset or liability (other than quoted prices), such as interest rates, foreign exchange rates, and yield curves that are observable at commonly quoted intervals. Level 3 inputs are unobservable inputs for the asset or liability, which are typically based on an entity's own assumptions, as there is little, if any, related market activity. In instances where the determination of the fair value measurement is based on inputs from different levels of the fair value hierarchy, the level in the fair value hierarchy within which the entire fair value measurement falls is based on the lowest level input that is significant to the fair value measurement in its entirety. The Company's assessment of the significance of a particular input to the fair value measurement in its entirety requires judgment, and considers factors specific to the asset or liability.
The following section describes the valuation methodologies used by the Company for estimating fair value for financial instruments not recorded at fair value, but fair value is included for disclosure purposes only, as required under disclosure guidance related to the fair value of financial instruments.
J. Revenue Recognition – Specific recognition policies for the Company’s revenue items are as follows:
K. Cost of Sales – Included in the Company’s cost of sales are the amounts paid for gas and propane, along with related transportation, which are delivered to customers, as well as the cost of material and labor related to the expansion of the natural gas distribution system.
L. Asset Acquisition Expenses – Costs in connection with the research of real property acquisitions are expensed as incurred until determination that the acquisition of the real property is probable. Upon such determination, costs in connection with the acquisition of the property are capitalized as described in paragraph (D) above.
M. Offering Costs – Offering costs related to the issuance of common stock are charged to additional paid-in capital when the stock is issued.
N. Debt Issuance Costs – Costs in connection with the issuance of new debt are capitalized and amortized over the debt term. See Note 11 for further discussion.
O. Distributions to Stockholders – The amount of any distributions to stockholders will be determined by the Board of Directors. Distributions to stockholders are recorded on the ex-dividend date.
P. Other Income Recognition – Specific policies for the Company’s other income items are as follows:
Q. Federal and State Income Taxation – We intend to elect to be treated as a REIT for federal income tax purposes (which we refer to as the “REIT Election”) for the calendar and tax year ended December 31, 2013. We anticipate that the Company will satisfy the annual income test and the quarterly asset tests necessary for us to qualify and elect to be taxed as a REIT for 2013. Because certain of our assets may not produce REIT-qualifying income or be treated as interests in real property, during December 2012 we contributed those assets into wholly-owned Taxable REIT Subsidiaries ("TRSs"). This was done in 2012 in order to limit the potential that such assets and income would prevent us from qualifying as a REIT for 2013. Due to the REIT Election, we changed our fiscal year end from November 30 to December 31.
As to the nine months ended August 31, 2012, the Company is treated as a C corporation and is obligated to pay federal and state income tax on its taxable income. Currently, the highest regular marginal federal income tax rate for a corporation is 35 percent. The Company may be subject to a 20 percent federal alternative minimum tax on its federal alternative minimum taxable income to the extent that its alternative minimum tax exceeds its regular federal income tax. For years ended in 2012 and before, the distributions we made to our stockholders from our earnings and profits were treated as qualified dividend income ("QDI") and return of capital. QDI is taxed to our individual shareholders at the maximum rate for long-term capital gains, which through tax year 2012 was 15 percent and beginning in tax year 2013 will be 20 percent.
The Company's trading securities and other equity securities are limited partnerships or limited liability companies which are treated as partnerships for federal and state income tax purposes. As a limited partner, the Company reports its allocable share of taxable income in computing its own taxable income. The Company's tax expense or benefit is included in the Consolidated Statements of Income based on the component of income or gains and losses to which such expense or benefit relates. Deferred income taxes reflect the net tax effects of temporary differences between the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities for financial reporting purposes and the amounts used for income tax purposes. A valuation allowance is recognized if, based on the weight of available evidence, it is more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred income tax asset will not be realized. Due to the restructuring in December 2012, it is expected that for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2013 and future periods, any deferred tax liability or asset will be related entirely to the assets and activities of the Company's TRSs.
The Company expects to be taxed as a REIT for 2013 rather than a C corporation and generally will not pay federal income tax on taxable income that is distributed to our stockholders. As a REIT, our distributions from earnings and profits will be treated as ordinary income and a return of capital, and generally will not qualify as QDI. To the extent that the REIT has accumulated C corporation earnings and profits from the periods prior to 2013, we will distribute such earnings and profits in 2013, which will be treated as QDI. Currently, we do not expect to need to make such a distribution.
The restructuring done in December 2012 causes us to hold and operate certain of our assets through one or more wholly-owned TRSs. A TRS is a subsidiary of a REIT that is subject to applicable corporate income tax. Our use of TRSs enables us to continue to engage in certain businesses while complying with REIT qualification requirements and also allows us to retain income generated by these businesses for reinvestment without the requirement of distributing those earnings. In the future, we may elect to reorganize and transfer certain assets or operations from our TRSs to the Company or other subsidiaries, including qualified REIT subsidiaries.
If we fail to qualify to be a REIT for 2013, the Company, as a C corporation, would be obligated to pay federal and state income tax on its taxable income. Currently, the highest regular marginal federal income tax rate for a corporation is 35 percent. The Company may be subject to a 20 percent federal alternative minimum tax on its federal alternative minimum taxable income to the extent that its alternative minimum tax exceeds its regular federal income tax.
R. Recent Accounting Pronouncements – In July 2013, the FASB issued ASU No. 2013-11 "Presentation of an Unrecognized Tax Benefit When a Net Operating Loss Carryforward, a Similar Tax Loss, or a Tax Credit Carryforward Exists". ASU No. 2013-11 amends FASB ASC Topic 740 Income taxes, to include explicit guidance on the financial statement presentation of an unrecognized tax benefit when a net operating loss carryforward, a similar tax loss, or a tax credit carryforward exists. ASU No. 2013-11 is effective for fiscal years, and interim periods within those years, beginning after December 15, 2013. Management is evaluating this amendment and does not expect adoption to have a material impact on the Company's consolidated financial statements.
In July 2013, the FASB issued ASU No. 2013-10 "Inclusion of the Fed Funds Effective Swap Rate (or Overnight Index Swap Rate) as a Benchmark Interest Rate for Hedge Accounting Purposes". ASU No. 2013-10 amends FASB ASC Topic 815 Derivatives and Hedging, to permit Fed Funds Effective Swap Rate (OIS) to be used as a U.S. benchmark interest rate for hedge accounting purposes under Topic 815, in addition to UST and LIBOR. The amendment also removes the restriction on using different benchmark rates for similar hedges. ASU No. 2013-10 is effective prospectively for qualifying new or redesignated hedging relationships entered into on or after July 17, 2013. The Company has adopted this amendment and it did not have a material impact on the Company's consolidated financial statements.
In June 2011, the FASB issued ASU No. 2011-05 "Presentation of Comprehensive Income". ASU No. 2011-05 amends FASB ASC Topic 220, Presentation of Comprehensive Income, to improve the comparability, consistency and transparency of financial reporting and to increase the prominence of items reported in other comprehensive income. ASU No. 2011-05 is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2011 and for interim periods within those fiscal years. The Company has adopted this amendment and has elected to present a single continuous statement of comprehensive income.
In December 2011, the FASB issued ASU No. 2011-12 "Deferral of the Effective Date for Amendments to the Presentation of Reclassifications of Items out of Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income in Accounting Standards Update No. 2011-05". ASU No. 2011-12 amends FASB ASC Topic 220, Presentation of Comprehensive Income, to defer only those changes in Update 2011-05 that relate to the presentation of reclassification adjustments. ASU No. 2011-12 is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2011 and for interim periods within those fiscal years. The adoption of this amendment did not have a material impact on the Company's consolidated financial statements.
In February 2013, the FASB issued ASU No. 2013-02 "Reporting of Amounts Reclassified Out of Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income". ASU No. 2013-02 amends FASB ASC Topic 220, Presentation of Comprehensive Income, to improve the reporting of reclassifications out of accumulated other comprehensive income. ASU No. 2013-02 is effective prospectively for reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2012. Management has adopted this amendment and this did not have a material impact on the Company's consolidated financial statements.
In December 2011, the FASB issued ASU No. 2011-11 "Disclosure about Offsetting Assets and Liabilities". ASU No. 2011-11 amends FASB ASC Topic 210, Balance Sheet, to improve the comparability, consistency and transparency of financial reporting and to increase the prominence of items reported in other comprehensive income. ASU No. 2011-11 is effective for fiscal years beginning after January 1, 2013 and for interim periods within those fiscal years. In January 2013, the FASB issued ASU No. 2013-01 "Clarifying the Scope of Disclosures about Offsetting Assets and Liabilities". ASU No. 2013-01 amends FASB ASC Topic 210, Balance Sheet, to address implementation issues about the scope of ASU No. 2011-11. The amendment, which clarifies the scope of Update 2011-11, applies to derivatives accounted for in accordance with FASB ASC Topic 815, Derivatives and Hedging, including bifurcated embedded derivatives, repurchase agreements and reverse repurchase agreements, and securities borrowing and securities lending transactions that are either offset in accordance with Section 210-20-45 or Section 815-10-45 or are subject to an enforceable master netting arrangement or similar agreement. ASU No. 2013-01 is effective for fiscal years beginning on or after January 1, 2013, and interim periods within those annual periods. The adoption of these amendments did not have a material impact on the Company's consolidated financial statements.