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, 2019
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
Summary of Significant Accounting Principles and Practices SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICES
Description of the Business
Astronics Corporation (“Astronics” or the “Company”) is a leading provider of advanced technologies to the global aerospace, defense and electronics industries. Our products and services include advanced, high-performance electrical power generation, distribution and motion systems, lighting and safety systems, avionics products, systems and certification, aircraft structures and automated test systems.
We have principal operations in the United States (“U.S.”), Canada, France and the United Kingdom (“UK”), as well as engineering offices in the Ukraine and India. We design and build our products through our wholly owned subsidiaries Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems Corp. (“AES”); Astronics AeroSat Corporation (“AeroSat”); Armstrong Aerospace, Inc. (“Armstrong”); Astronics Test Systems, Inc. (“ATS”); Ballard Technology, Inc. (“Ballard”); Astronics Custom Control Concepts Inc. (“CCC”); Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification Corp. and subsidiaries (“CSC”); Diagnosys Inc. and its affiliates (“Diagnosys”); Astronics DME LLC (“DME”); Freedom Communication Technologies, Inc. (“Freedom”); Luminescent Systems, Inc. (“LSI”); Luminescent Systems Canada, Inc. (“LSI Canada”); Max-Viz, Inc. (“Max-Viz”); Peco, Inc. (“Peco”); and PGA Electronic s.a. (“PGA”).
The Company has two reportable segments, Aerospace and Test Systems. The Aerospace segment designs and manufactures products for the global aerospace and defense industry. Our Test Systems segment designs, develops, manufactures and maintains automated test systems that support the aerospace and defense, communications and mass transit test systems as well as training and simulation devices for both commercial and military applications.
On February 13, 2019, the Company completed a divestiture of its semiconductor test business within the Test Systems segment. The business was not core to the future of the Test Systems segment. The total proceeds received for the sale amounted to $103.8 million, plus certain contingent earn-outs as described in Note 22. The Company recorded a pre-tax gain on the sale of approximately $80.1 million in the first quarter of 2019. The Company recorded income tax expense relating to the gain of $19.7 million.
On July 1, 2019, the Company acquired all of the issued and outstanding capital stock of Freedom Communication Technologies, Inc. Freedom, located in Kilgore, Texas, is a leader in wireless communication testing, primarily for the civil land mobile radio market. Freedom is included in our Test Systems segment. The total consideration for the transaction was $21.8 million, net of $0.6 million in cash acquired.
On July 12, 2019, the Company sold intellectual property and certain assets associated with its Airfield Lighting product line for $1.0 million in cash. The Airfield Lighting product line, part of the Aerospace segment, was not core to the business and represented less than 1% of revenue. The Company recorded a pre-tax loss on the sale of approximately $1.3 million.
On October 4, 2019, the Company acquired the stock of the primary operating subsidiaries as well as certain other assets from mass transit and defense market test solution provider, Diagnosys Test Systems Limited, for $7.0 million in cash, plus contingent purchase consideration (“earn-out”) estimated at a fair value of $2.5 million. Diagnosys is included in our Test Systems segment. Diagnosys is a developer and manufacturer of comprehensive automated test equipment providing test, support, and repair of high value electronics, electro-mechanical, pneumatic and printed circuit boards focused on the global mass transit and defense markets. The terms of the acquisition allow for a potential earn-out of up to an additional $13.0 million over the next three years based on achievement of new order levels of over $72.0 million during that period. The acquired business has operations in Westford, Massachusetts as well as Ferndown, England, and an engineering center of excellence in Bangalore, India.
For more information regarding these acquisitions and divestitures see Note 21 and Note 22.
In the fourth quarter of 2019, in an effort to reduce the significant operating losses at our AeroSat business, we initiated a restructuring plan to reduce costs and minimize losses of our AeroSat antenna business. The plan narrows the initiatives for the AeroSat business to focus primarily on near-term opportunities pertaining to business jet connectivity. The plan has a downsized manufacturing operation remaining in New Hampshire, with significantly reduced personnel and operating expenses.
For more information regarding the restructuring plan see Note 23.
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 21.
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 expenses amounted to $108.9 million in 2019, $114.3 million in 2018 and $95.0 million in 2017. Selling, general and administrative (“SG&A”) expenses include costs primarily related to our sales, marketing and administrative departments. Interest expense is shown net of interest income. Interest income was insignificant for the years ended December 31, 2019, 2018 and 2017.
Shipping and Handling
Shipping and handling costs are included in costs of products sold.
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 and restricted stock units (“RSU's”), 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. The Company accounts for forfeitures as they occur.
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 and RSU's 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. In general, RSU's granted to officers and key employees cliff vest in three years. Equity-based compensation expense is included in selling, general and administrative expenses.
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 records 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.
We record our inventories at the lower of cost or net realizable value. We determine the cost basis of our inventory on a first-in, first-out or weighted average basis using a standard cost methodology that approximates actual cost. 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 (“PP&E”) 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.
Buildings acquired under capital leases amounted to $3.4 million ($8.2 million, net of $4.8 million of accumulated amortization) at December 31, 2018. The weighted-average interest rate on the building capital lease obligation at December 31, 2018 was 5.3%. See Note 10 for additional lease disclosures as required upon adoption of ASC 842.
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 within operating income. Replacements and improvements are capitalized.
Depreciation expense was approximately $13.7 million, $15.0 million and $14.1 million in 2019, 2018 and 2017, respectively.
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.
See Note 23 for further information regarding the long-lived asset impairment charge in 2019 related to AeroSat. The charge was comprised of PP&E, intangible assets and right-of-use assets.
Assets Held for Sale
Assets held for sale are to be reported at lower of its carrying amount or fair value less cost to sell. Judgment is required in estimating the sales price of assets held for sale and the time required to sell the assets. These estimates are based upon available market data and operating cash flows of the assets held for sale.
As of December 31, 2019, the Company has agreed to sell certain facilities within the Aerospace segment. Accordingly, the property, plant and equipment assets associated with these facilities have been classified as held for sale in the consolidated Balance Sheet at December 31, 2019.
As of December 31, 2018, the Company’s Board of Directors had approved a plan to sell the semiconductor test business within the Test Systems segment. Accordingly, the assets and liabilities associated with these operations have been classified as held for sale in the accompanying consolidated Balance Sheet at December 31, 2018. The carrying value of the disposal group was lower than its fair value, less costs to sell, and accordingly, no impairment loss was required at December 31, 2018.
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’s nine reporting units with goodwill were subject to the goodwill impairment test as of the first day of our fourth quarter.
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 sales 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. Accordingly, goodwill impairment is measured as the amount by which a reporting unit's carrying value exceeds its fair value, not to exceed the carrying value of goodwill.
See Note 7 for further information regarding the goodwill impairment charge in 2019 associated to the AeroSat reporting unit. The 2018 assessment indicated no impairment to the carrying value of goodwill in any of the Company’s reporting units and no impairment charge was recognized. An impairment charge associated with the Armstrong reporting unit was recorded as result of the 2017 assessment.
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. As the undiscounted cash flows of the AeroSat reporting unit were insufficient to recover the carrying value of the long-lived assets, the Company proceeded to determine the fair value of the intangible assets in AeroSat. The Company concluded that the fair value of the intangible assets was de minimis as a result of their nominal projected future cash flows and the Company recorded a full impairment charge of approximately $6.2 million in the December 31, 2019 consolidated statement of operations associated to intangible assets of the AeroSat reporting unit in conjunction with restructuring activities. The qualitative factors applied under this new provision indicated no impairment to the Company’s indefinite lived intangible assets in 2018 or 2017.
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.
From time to time, the Company makes long-term, strategic equity investments in companies to promote business and strategic objectives. These investments as classified within Other Assets in the Consolidated Balance Sheets. For investments requiring equity method accounting, we recognize our share of the investee’s earnings or losses within Other Expense, Net of Other Income in the Consolidated Statement of Operations. Such amounts were immaterial in the year ended December 31, 2019 and not applicable in 2018 or 2017. For investments not requiring equity method accounting, if the investment has no readily determinable fair value, we have elected the practicability exception of ASU 2016-01, under which the investment is measured at cost, less impairment, plus or minus observable price changes from orderly transactions of an identical or similar investment of the same issuer.
The Company determined there were indicators of impairment over one of its investments in 2019 as a result of the investee’s deteriorating operating performance and limited access to capital. There were no observable price changes for this investment during 2019. We determined that the fair value of this investment was de minimis at December 31, 2019 and we recorded an impairment charge of $5.0 million recorded within Other Expense, Net of Other Income in the accompanying Consolidated Statement 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 sales 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 loss included in operations was insignificant in 2019 and the gain included in operations was insignificant in 2018 and 2017.
The Company has not paid any cash dividends in the three-year period ended December 31, 2019.
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. In all other instances, legal fees are expensed as incurred. 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 21 regarding the acquisitions in 2019.
Newly Adopted and Recent Accounting Pronouncements
Recent Accounting Pronouncements Adopted
Standard Description Financial Statement Effect or Other Significant Matters
ASU No. 2016-02
Leases (Topic 842)
The standard requires lessees to recognize most leases as assets and liabilities on the balance sheet, but record expenses on the statement of operations in a manner similar to current accounting. For lessors, the guidance modifies the classification criteria and accounting for sales-type and direct financing leases. The standard also requires additional disclosures about leasing arrangements and requires a modified retrospective transition approach for existing leases, whereby the standard will be applied to the earliest year presented. The provisions of the standard are effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018, including interim periods within those fiscal years. Early adoption is permitted.
The Company adopted this guidance as of January 1, 2019 using the cumulative-effect method. The standard requires lessees to recognize a lease liability and a right-of-use (“ROU”) asset on the balance sheet for operating leases. Accounting for finance leases is substantially unchanged. Prior year financial statements were not recast under the new method. We elected the package of transition provisions available for expired or existing contracts, which allowed us to carryforward our historical assessments of (1) whether contracts are or contain leases, (2) lease classification and (3) initial direct costs. As of January 1, 2019, operating lease ROU assets of approximately $18.4 million and lease liabilities of approximately $18.5 million were recognized on our balance sheet for our leased office and manufacturing facilities and equipment leases. There was a reclassification to ROU assets of $3.5 million from net PP&E for assets under existing finance leases at the transition date and a reclassification of existing lease liabilities of $6.5 million on our balance sheet for a leased facilities and equipment. The standard did not materially impact the Company's consolidated statements of operations or retained earnings. Refer to Note 19 for additional information.

Date of adoption: Q1 2019
Recent Accounting Pronouncements Not Yet Adopted
Standard Description Financial Statement Effect or Other Significant Matters
ASU No. 2016-13
Financial Instruments - Credit Losses (Topic 326)
The standard replaces the incurred loss model with the current expected credit loss (CECL) model to estimate credit losses for financial assets measured at amortized cost and certain off-balance sheet credit exposures. The CECL model requires a Company to estimate credit losses expected over the life of the financial assets based on historical experience, current conditions and reasonable and supportable forecasts. The provisions of the standard are effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019 and interim periods within those fiscal years. Early adoption is permitted. The amendment requires a modified retrospective approach by recording a cumulative-effect adjustment to retained earnings as of the beginning of the period of adoption.
This ASU does not have a significant impact on our consolidated financial statements.

Planned date of adoption: Q1 2020
ASU No. 2018-13
Fair Value Measurement (Topic 820)
The standard removes the disclosure requirements for the amount of and reasons for transfers between Level 1 and Level 2 of the fair value hierarchy. The provisions of this ASU are effective for years beginning after December 15, 2019, with early adoption permitted.
This ASU does not have a significant impact on our consolidated financial statements, as it only includes changes to disclosure requirements.
Planned date of adoption: Q1 2020
ASU No. 2018-14
Compensation—Retirement Benefits—Defined Benefit Plans—General (Subtopic 715-20)
The standard includes updates to the disclosure requirements for defined benefit plans including several additions, deletions and modifications to the disclosure requirements. The provisions of this ASU are effective for years beginning after December 15, 2020, with early adoption permitted.
This ASU does not have a significant impact on our consolidated financial statements, as it only includes changes to disclosure requirements.
Planned date of adoption: Q1 2021
We consider the applicability and impact of all ASUs. ASUs not listed above were assessed and determined to be either not applicable, or had or are expected to have minimal impact on our financial statements and related disclosures.