Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Summary of Significant Accounting Principles and Practices

Summary of Significant Accounting Principles and Practices
12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2015
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Summary of Significant Accounting Principles and Practices
Description of the Business
Astronics Corporation (“Astronics” or the “Company”) is a leading supplier of products to the global aerospace, defense, and semiconductor industries. Our products include advanced, high-performance electrical power generation, distribution and motion systems, lighting and safety systems, avionics products, systems certification, aircraft structures and automated test systems.
We have operations in the United States (“U.S.”), Canada and France. We design and build our products through our wholly owned subsidiaries Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems Corp. (“AES”); Astronics AeroSat Corporation (“AeroSat”); Ballard Technology, Inc. (“Ballard”); Astronics DME LLC (“DME”); Luminescent Systems, Inc. (“LSI”); Luminescent Systems Canada, Inc. (“LSI Canada”); Max-Viz, Inc. (“Max-Viz”); Peco, Inc. (“Peco”); PGA Electronic s.a. (“PGA”); Astronics Test Systems, Inc. and Armstrong Aerospace, Inc. (“Armstrong”).
On July 18, 2013, Astronics acquired all of the outstanding capital stock of Peco. Peco designs and manufactures highly engineered commercial aerospace interior components and systems for the aerospace industry. On October 1, 2013, Astronics acquired certain assets and liabilities from AeroSat Corporation and related entities, a supplier of aircraft antenna systems. On December 5, 2013, Astronics acquired 100% of the stock of PGA. PGA designs and manufactures seat motion and lighting systems primarily for business and first class aircraft seats and is Europe’s leading provider of in-flight entertainment/ communication systems as well as cabin management systems for private aircraft. Peco, AeroSat and PGA are all included in our Aerospace segment.
On February 28, 2014, Astronics acquired, through a wholly owned subsidiary Astronics Test Systems, Inc. (“ATS”), certain assets and liabilities of EADS North America’s Test and Services division, located in Irvine, California. ATS is a leading provider of highly engineered automatic test systems, subsystems and instruments for semiconductor and consumer electronics products to both the commercial and defense industries. ATS is included in our Test Systems segment.
On January 14, 2015, the Company acquired 100% of the equity of Armstrong for approximately $52.3 million in cash. Armstrong, located in Itasca, Illinois, is a leading provider of engineering, design and certification solutions for commercial aircraft, specializing in connectivity, in-flight entertainment, and electrical power systems. Armstrong is included in our Aerospace segment.
At December 31, 2015, the Company has two reportable segments, Aerospace and Test Systems. The Aerospace segment designs and manufactures products for the global aerospace industry. The Test Systems segment designs, manufactures and maintains communications and weapons test systems and training and simulation devices for military applications.
Principles of Consolidation
The consolidated financial statements include the accounts of the Company and its wholly owned subsidiaries. All intercompany transactions and balances have been eliminated.
Acquisitions are accounted for under the acquisition method and, accordingly, the operating results for the acquired companies are included in the consolidated statements of operations from the respective dates of acquisition.
For additional information on the acquired businesses, see Note 19.
Revenue Recognition
The vast majority of our sales agreements are for standard products and services, with revenue recognized on the accrual basis at the time of shipment of goods, transfer of title and customer acceptance, where required. There are no significant contracts allowing for right of return. To a limited extent, as a result of the acquisition of ATS, certain of our contracts involve multiple elements (such as equipment and service). The Company recognizes revenue for delivered elements when they have stand-alone value to the customer, they have been accepted by the customer, and for which there are only customary refund or return rights. Arrangement consideration is allocated to the deliverables by use of the relative selling price method. The selling price used for each deliverable is based on vendor-specific objective evidence (“VSOE”) if available, third party-evidence (“TPE”) if VSOE is not available, or estimated selling price if neither VSOE nor TPE is available. Estimated selling price is determined in a manner consistent with that used to establish the price to sell the deliverable on a standalone basis.
For prepaid service contracts, sales revenue is recognized on a straight-line basis over the term of the contract, unless historical evidence indicates the costs are incurred on other than a straight-line basis.
Revenue of approximately $17.2 million, $2.7 million and $4.4 million for the years ended December 31, 2015, 2014 and 2013, respectively, was recognized from long-term, fixed-price contracts using the percentage-of-completion method of accounting.
Cost of Products Sold, Engineering and Development and Selling, General and Administrative Expenses
Cost of products sold includes the costs to manufacture products such as direct materials and labor and manufacturing overhead as well as all engineering and developmental costs. The Company is engaged in a variety of engineering and design activities as well as basic research and development activities directed to the substantial improvement or new application of the Company’s existing technologies. These costs are expensed when incurred and included in cost of products sold. Research and development, design and related engineering amounted to $90.1 million in 2015, $76.7 million in 2014 and $52.8 million in 2013. Selling, general and administrative (“SG&A”) expenses include costs primarily related to our sales, marketing and administrative departments.
Shipping and Handling
Shipping and handling costs are expensed as incurred and are included in costs of products sold.
Stock Distribution
On September 10, 2015, the Company announced a three-for-twenty distribution of Class B Stock to holders of both Common and Class B Stock. Stockholders received three shares of Class B Stock for every twenty shares of Common and Class B Stock held on the record date of October 8, 2015. Fractional shares were paid in cash. All share quantities, share prices and per share data reported throughout this report have been adjusted to reflect the impact of this distribution.
Equity-Based Compensation
The Company accounts for its stock options following Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) Topic 718, Compensation – Stock Compensation (“ASC Topic 718”). This Topic requires all equity-based payments to employees, including grants of employee stock options, to be recognized in the statement of earnings based on the grant date fair value of the award. For awards with graded vesting, the Company uses a straight-line method of attributing the value of stock-based compensation expense, subject to minimum levels of expense, based on vesting.
Under ASC Topic 718, stock compensation expense recognized during the period is based on the value of the portion of share-based payment awards that is ultimately expected to vest during the period. Vesting requirements vary for directors, officers and key employees. In general, options granted to outside directors vest six months from the date of grant and options granted to officers and key employees vest with graded vesting over a five-year period, 20% each year, from the date of grant.
The tax benefits from share based payment arrangements were approximately $3.0 million in 2015, $5.3 million in 2014 and $1.2 million in 2013.
Cash and Cash Equivalents
All highly liquid instruments with a maturity of three months or less at the time of purchase are considered cash equivalents.
Accounts Receivable and Allowance for Doubtful Accounts
Accounts receivable are composed of trade and contract receivables recorded at either the invoiced amount or costs in excess of billings, are expected to be collected within one year, and do not bear interest. The Company will record a valuation allowance to account for potentially uncollectible accounts receivable. The allowance is determined based on our knowledge of the business, specific customers, review of the receivables’ aging and a specific identification of accounts where collection is at risk. Account balances are charged against the allowance after all means of collections have been exhausted and recovery is considered remote. The Company typically does not require collateral.
Inventories are stated at the lower of cost or market, cost being determined in accordance with the first-in, first-out method. The Company records valuation reserves to provide for excess, slow moving or obsolete inventory. In determining the appropriate reserve, the Company considers the age of inventory on hand, the overall inventory levels in relation to forecasted demands as well as reserving for specifically identified inventory that the Company believes is no longer salable.
Property, Plant and Equipment
Depreciation of property, plant and equipment is computed using the straight-line method for financial reporting purposes and using accelerated methods for income tax purposes. Estimated useful lives of the assets are as follows: buildings, 25-40 years; machinery and equipment, 4-10 years. Leased buildings and associated leasehold improvements are amortized over the shorter of the terms of the lease or the estimated useful lives of the assets, with the amortization of such assets included within depreciation expense.
The cost of properties sold or otherwise disposed of and the accumulated depreciation thereon are eliminated from the accounts and the resulting gain or loss, as well as maintenance and repair expenses, is reflected in income. Replacements and improvements are capitalized.
Depreciation expense was approximately $13.3 million, $10.6 million and $5.7 million in 2015, 2014 and 2013, respectively.
Buildings acquired under capital leases amounted to $12.3 million ($14.8 million, net of $2.5 million of accumulated amortization) and $12.7 million ($16.0 million, net of $3.3 million accumulated amortization) at December 31, 2015 and 2014, respectively. Future minimum lease payments associated with these capital leases are expected to be $2.6 million in 2016, $2.6 million in 2017, $2.6 million in 2018, $2.0 million in 2019 and $2.1 million in 2020.
Long-Lived Assets
Long-lived assets to be held and used are initially recorded at cost. The carrying value of these assets is evaluated for recoverability whenever adverse effects or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount may not be recoverable. Impairments are recognized if future undiscounted cash flows from operations are not expected to be sufficient to recover long-lived assets. The carrying amounts are then reduced to fair value, which is typically determined by using a discounted cash flow model.
The Company tests goodwill at the reporting unit level on an annual basis or more frequently if an event occurs or circumstances change that would more likely than not reduce the fair value of a reporting unit below its carrying amount. The Company has eleven reporting units, however as of November 1, 2015 (the annual testing date), only eight reporting units have goodwill and were subject to the goodwill impairment test.
We may elect to perform a qualitative assessment that considers economic, industry and company-specific factors for all or selected reporting units. If, after completing the assessment, it is determined that it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying value, we proceed to a quantitative test. We may also elect to perform a quantitative test instead of a qualitative test for any or all of our reporting units.
Quantitative testing requires a comparison of the fair value of each reporting unit to its carrying value. We use the discounted cash flow method to estimate the fair value of our reporting units. The discounted cash flow method incorporates various assumptions, the most significant being projected revenue growth rates, operating margins and cash flows, the terminal growth rate and the weighted average cost of capital. If the carrying value of the reporting unit exceeds its fair value, goodwill is considered impaired and any loss must be measured. To determine the amount of the impairment loss, the implied fair value of goodwill is determined by assigning a fair value to all of the reporting unit’s assets and liabilities, including any unrecognized intangible assets, as if the reporting unit had been acquired in a business combination at fair value. If the carrying amount of the reporting unit goodwill exceeds the implied fair value of that goodwill, an impairment loss would be recognized in an amount equal to that excess.
There were no impairment charges in 2015, 2014 or 2013.

Intangible Assets
Acquired intangibles are generally valued based upon future economic benefits such as earnings and cash flows. Acquired identifiable intangible assets are recorded at fair value and are amortized over their estimated useful lives. Acquired intangible assets with an indefinite life are not amortized, but are reviewed for impairment at least annually or more frequently whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amounts of those assets are below their estimated fair values.
Impairment is tested under ASC Topic 350, Intangibles - Goodwill and Other, as amended by Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) 2012-2, by first performing a qualitative analysis in a manner similar to the testing methodology of goodwill discussed previously. The qualitative factors applied under this new provision indicated no impairment to the Company’s indefinite lived intangible assets in 2015, 2014 or 2013.
Financial Instruments
The Company’s financial instruments consist primarily of cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable, accounts payable, notes payable and long-term debt. The Company performs periodic credit evaluations of its customers’ financial condition and generally does not require collateral. The Company does not hold or issue financial instruments for trading purposes. Due to their short-term nature, the carrying values of cash and equivalents, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and notes payable approximate fair value. The carrying value of the Company’s variable rate long-term debt instruments also approximates fair value due to the variable rate feature of these instruments.
The accounting for changes in the fair value of derivatives depends on the intended use and resulting designation. The Company’s use of derivative instruments was limited to cash flow hedges for interest rate risk associated with long-term debt. All such instruments were terminated in 2014. Interest rate swaps were used to adjust the proportion of total debt that is subject to variable and fixed interest rates. The interest rate swaps were designated as hedges of the amount of future cash flows related to interest payments on variable-rate debt that, in combination with the interest payments on the debt, converted a portion of the variable-rate debt to fixed-rate debt. The Company recorded all derivatives on the balance sheet at fair value. The related gains or losses, to the extent the derivatives were effective as a hedge, were deferred in shareholders’ equity as a component of Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income (Loss) (“AOCI”) and reclassified into earnings at the time interest expense was recognized on the associated long-term debt. Any ineffectiveness was recorded in the Consolidated Statements of Operations.
Use of Estimates
The preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“U.S. GAAP”) requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, the disclosure of contingent liabilities and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting periods in the financial statements and accompanying notes. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
Foreign Currency Translation
The Company accounts for its foreign currency translation in accordance with ASC Topic 830, Foreign Currency Translation. The aggregate transaction gain included in operations was $1.0 million in 2015, and insignificant for 2014 and 2013.
The Company has not paid any cash dividends in the three-year period ended December 31, 2015.
Loss Contingencies
Loss contingencies may from time to time arise from situations such as claims and other legal actions. Loss contingencies are recorded as liabilities when it is probable that a liability has been incurred and the amount of the loss is reasonably estimable. Disclosure is required when there is a reasonable possibility that the ultimate loss will exceed the recorded provision. Contingent liabilities are often resolved over long time periods. In recording liabilities for probable losses, management is required to make estimates and judgments regarding the amount or range of the probable loss. Management continually assesses the adequacy of estimated loss contingencies and, if necessary, adjusts the amounts recorded as better information becomes known.
The Company accounts for its acquisitions under ASC Topic 805, Business Combinations and Reorganizations (“ASC Topic 805”). ASC Topic 805 provides guidance on how the acquirer recognizes and measures the consideration transferred, identifiable assets acquired, liabilities assumed, non-controlling interests, and goodwill acquired in a business combination. ASC Topic 805 also expands required disclosures surrounding the nature and financial effects of business combinations. See Note 19 regarding the acquisitions in 2015, 2014 and 2013.
Newly Adopted and Recent Accounting Pronouncements
In May 2014, the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") issued ASU No. 2014-9, Revenue from Contracts with Customers. This new standard is effective for reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2017, pursuant to the issuance of ASU 2015-14, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606): Deferral of Effective Date issued in August 2015. The comprehensive new standard will supersede existing revenue recognition guidance and require revenue to be recognized when promised goods or services are transferred to customers in amounts that reflect the consideration to which the company expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods or services. Adoption of the new rules could affect the timing of revenue recognition for certain transactions. The guidance permits two implementation approaches, one requiring retrospective application of the new standard with restatement of prior years and one requiring prospective application of the new standard with disclosure of results under old standards. Early adoption is not permitted. The Company is currently evaluating the impacts of adoption and the implementation approach to be used.
In April 2015, the FASB issued ASU No. 2015-03, Interest - Imputation of Interest (Subtopic 835-30): Simplifying the Presentation of Debt Issuance Costs. This ASU requires that debt issuance costs related to a recognized debt liability be presented in the balance sheet as a direct deduction from the carrying amount of that debt liability, consistent with debt discounts. ASU 2015-03 does not affect the recognition and measurement guidance for debt issuance costs. The provisions of this ASU are effective for financial statements issued for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2015, and interim periods within those fiscal years. Early adoption is permitted, and retrospective application is required. ASU 2015-15, Interest - Imputation of Interest (Subtopic 835-30): Presentation and Subsequent Measurement of Debt Issuance Costs Associated with Line-of-Credit Arrangements, issued in August 2015, provides additional guidance specific to debt issuance costs arising from line-of-credit arrangements. This ASU provides an option to either apply the provisions of ASU No. 2015-03 to line-of-credit arrangements or to defer and instead present debt issuance costs as an asset and subsequently amortize the deferred debt issuance costs ratably over the term of the line-of-credit arrangement. The additional guidance does not alter any other effective date provisions set forth in ASU No. 2015-03. The adoption of this standard did not have a material impact on the Company’s financial statements, as the Company’s debt issuance costs are associated with its revolving credit facility, and therefore such costs will continue to be classified within other non-current assets and amortized ratably over the term of the facility.
In September 2015, the FASB issued ASU No. 2015-16, Business Combinations (Topic 805): Simplifying the Accounting for Measurement-Period Adjustments. This ASU eliminates the requirement to retrospectively account for changes to provisional amounts initially recorded in a business acquisition opening balance sheet. The provisions of this ASU are effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2015, and interim periods within those fiscal years. Early adoption is permitted as of the effective date for financial statements that have not yet been made available for issuance. The adoption of this standard is not expected to have a material impact on our financial statements.
In November 2015, the FASB issued ASU No. 2015-17, Income Taxes (Topic 740): Balance Sheet Classification of Deferred Taxes. This ASU amends existing guidance to require presentation of deferred tax assets and liabilities as non-current within the balance sheet. The provisions of the ASU are effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2016 and interim periods within those fiscal years. Early adoption is permitted, and may be applied either prospectively or retrospectively. The Company adopted this amendment as of December 31, 2015, applied on a prospective basis. Therefore, prior period amounts have not been recasted.