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, 2017
Accounting Policies [Abstract]  
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, electronics and semiconductor industries. Our products and services 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”); Armstrong Aerospace, Inc. (“Armstrong”); Astronics Test Systems, Inc. (“ATS”); Ballard Technology, Inc. (“Ballard”); Astronics Connectivity Systems and Certification Corp. ("CSC"); Astronics Custom Control Concepts Inc. ("CCC"); Astronics DME LLC (“DME”); Luminescent Systems, Inc. (“LSI”); Luminescent Systems Canada, Inc. (“LSI Canada”); Max-Viz, Inc. (“Max-Viz”); Peco, Inc. (“Peco”); and PGA Electronic s.a. (“PGA”).
At December 31, 2017, the Company has two reportable segments, Aerospace and Test Systems. The Aerospace segment designs and manufactures products for the global aerospace industry. Our Test Systems segment designs, develops, manufactures and maintains automated test systems that support the semiconductor, aerospace, communications and weapons test systems as well as training and simulation devices for both commercial and military applications.
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.
On April 3, 2017, Astronics Custom Control Concepts Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company acquired substantially all the assets and certain liabilities of Custom Control Concepts LLC, located in Kent, Washington. CCC is a provider of cabin management and in-flight entertainment systems for a range of aircraft. The total consideration for the transaction was approximately $10.2 million, net of $0.5 million in cash acquired. CCC is included in our Aerospace segment.
On December 1, 2017, Astronics acquired substantially all of the assets of Telefonix Inc. and a related company Product Development Technologies, LLC and its subsidiaries, to become CSC, located in Waukegan and Lake Zurich, Illinois. CSC designs and manufactures advanced in-flight entertainment and connectivity equipment, and provides industry leading design consultancy services for the global aerospace industry. Under the terms of the Agreement, the total consideration for the transaction was approximately $103.8 million, net of $0.2 million in cash acquired. CSC is included in our Aerospace Segment.
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 18.
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 at ATS, certain contracts involve multiple elements (such as equipment and service). Service revenues were not material for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015. 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 $21.0 million, $20.7 million and $17.2 million for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively, was recognized from long-term, fixed-price contracts using the percentage-of-completion method of accounting, measured by multiplying the estimated total contract value by the ratio of actual contract costs incurred to date to the estimated total contract costs. The Company makes significant estimates involving its usage of percentage-of-completion accounting to recognize contract revenues. The Company periodically reviews contracts in process for estimates-to-completion, and revises estimated gross profit accordingly. While the Company believes its estimated gross profit on contracts in process is reasonable, unforeseen events and changes in circumstances can take place in a subsequent accounting period that may cause the Company to revise its estimated gross profit on one or more of its contracts in process. Accordingly, the ultimate gross profit realized upon completion of such contracts can vary significantly from estimated amounts between accounting periods. For contracts with anticipated losses at completion, a charge is taken against income for the amount of the entire loss in the period in which it is estimated.
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 $95.0 million in 2017, $88.9 million in 2016 and $90.3 million in 2015. 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, 2017, 2016 and 2015.
Shipping and Handling
Shipping and handling costs are expensed as incurred and 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, 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.
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.
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.
Precontract Costs
The Company may, from time to time, incur costs in excess of the amounts required for existing contracts. If it is determined the costs are probable of recovery from future orders, the precontract costs incurred are capitalized, excluding start-up costs which are expensed as incurred. Capitalized precontract costs are included in Inventories in the accompanying Consolidated Balance Sheets. Should future orders not materialize or it is determined the costs are no longer probable of recovery, the capitalized costs are written off.  Included in inventories at December 31, 2017 are capitalized precontract costs of $7.0 million.
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 within operating income. Replacements and improvements are capitalized.
Depreciation expense was approximately $14.1 million, $14.3 million and $13.3 million in 2017, 2016 and 2015, respectively.
Buildings acquired under capital leases amounted to $10.3 million ($15.5 million, net of $5.2 million of accumulated amortization) and $10.5 million ($14.3 million, net of $3.8 million accumulated amortization) at December 31, 2017 and 2016, respectively. Future minimum lease payments associated with these capital leases are expected to be $2.7 million in 2018, $2.0 million in 2019, $2.1 million in 2020, $2.2 million in 2021 and $0.9 million in 2022.
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 twelve reporting units, however only nine reporting units have goodwill and 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 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. We adopted ASU No. 2017-04 on January 1, 2017. 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.
As a result of this assessment, the Company recorded an impairment charge of approximately $16.2 million in the December 31, 2017 consolidated statement of operations associated to the Armstrong reporting unit. The impairment loss was incurred in the Aerospace segment and is reported on the Impairment Loss line of the Consolidated Statements of Operations. There were no impairment charges in 2016 or 2015. None of this loss related to goodwill is immediately deductible for tax purposes. The majority of goodwill is expensed over 15 years for tax purposes.
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 2017, 2016 or 2015.
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.
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 insignificant in 2017 and 2016, and $1.0 million in 2015.
The Company has not paid any cash dividends in the three-year period ended December 31, 2017.
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 18 regarding the acquisitions in 2017 and 2015.
Newly Adopted and Recent Accounting Pronouncements
In May 2014, the FASB issued ASU No. 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers ("Topic 606"), that, together with several subsequent updates, outlines a single comprehensive model for entities to use in accounting for revenue arising from contracts with customers and supersedes most current revenue recognition guidance. Topic 606 is based on the principle that an entity should recognize revenue to depict the transfer of goods or services to customers in an amount that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods or services.  Topic 606 also provides for enhanced disclosure requirements surrounding revenue recognition beginning with the reporting period ending March 31, 2018 and we are currently preparing our responsive disclosures. 
Revenue on a significant portion of our contracts is currently recognized at the time of shipment of goods, transfer of title and customer acceptance, as required. Our revenue transactions generally consist of a single performance obligation to transfer promised goods and are not accounted for under industry-specific guidance. We have obtained an understanding of the new standard and currently believe that we will retain much of the same accounting treatment used to recognize revenue under current standards. However, the adoption of this guidance will require us to accelerate the recognition of revenue as compared to current standards, for certain customers, in cases where we produce products unique to those customers; and for which we would have an enforceable right of payment for production completed to date.
We have evaluated the impact of ASU No. 2014-09 on our financial results and will adopt this standard using the modified retrospective method, which requires the recognition of the cumulative effect of the transition as an adjustment to retained earnings for open contracts as of January 1, 2018. Based on the application of the changes described above, we expect to recognize a transition adjustment of no more than $10 million, net of tax effects, which will increase our January 1, 2018 retained earnings. Based on our existing operations, ASU No. 2014-09 is not expected to have a material impact to net earnings for the year ended December 31, 2018.
In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016 - 02, Leases. The new standard is effective for reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2018. Early adoption is permitted. The standard will require lessees to report most leases as assets and liabilities on the balance sheet, while lessor accounting will remain substantially unchanged. The standard requires a modified retrospective transition approach for existing leases, whereby the new rules will be applied to the earliest year presented.  The Company is currently evaluating the impact of ASU 2016-02 on our financial statements.
On January 1, 2017, the Company adopted ASU No. 2016-09, Improvements to Employee Share-Based Payment Accounting. Prospectively, beginning January 1, 2017, excess tax benefits/deficiencies are reflected as income tax benefit/expense in the statement of income, resulting in a $0.5 million tax benefit for the year ended December 31, 2017. The extent of excess tax benefits/deficiencies is subject to variation in the Company’s stock price and timing/extent of employee stock option exercises. Under previous accounting guidance, when a share-based payment award such as a stock option was granted to an employee, the fair value of the award was generally recognized over the vesting period. However, the related deduction from taxes payable was based on the award’s intrinsic value at the time of exercise, which could be either greater (creating an excess tax benefit) or less (creating a tax deficiency) than the compensation cost recognized in the financial statements. Excess tax benefits were recognized in additional paid-in capital (“APIC”) within equity, while deficiencies were first recorded to APIC to the extent previously recognized excess tax benefits existed, after which time deficiencies were recorded to income tax expense. The Company’s adoption of this ASU also resulted in associated excess tax benefits being classified as an operating activity in the same manner as other cash flows related to income taxes in the statement of cash flows prospectively beginning January 1, 2017. Based on the adoption methodology applied, the statement of cash flows classification of prior periods has not changed. As permitted by the ASU, the Company has elected to account for forfeitures as they occur. None of the other provisions in this amended guidance had a significant impact on the Company’s consolidated financial statements.
In August 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-15, Classification of Certain Cash Receipts and Cash Payments, which is intended to reduce diversity in practice in how certain cash receipts and payments are presented and classified in the statement of cash flows. The standard provides guidance in a number of situations including, among others, settlement of zero-coupon bonds, contingent consideration payments made after a business combination, proceeds from the settlement of insurance claims, and distributions received from equity method investees. The ASU also provides guidance for classifying cash receipts and payments that have aspects of more than one class of cash flows. The Company early adopted ASU No. 2016-15 as of January 1, 2017. There were no changes in classification to prior periods presented, and thus no impact was reflected in the Company’s consolidated results of operations and financial condition presented.
In January 2017, the FASB issued ASU No. 2017-01, Clarifying the Definition of a Business, which narrows the existing definition of a business and provides a framework for evaluating whether a transaction should be accounted for as an acquisition (or disposal) of assets or a business. The ASU requires an entity to evaluate if substantially all of the fair value of the gross assets acquired is concentrated in a single identifiable asset or a group of similar identifiable assets; if so, the set of transferred assets and activities (collectively, the set) is not a business. To be considered a business, the set would need to include an input and a substantive process that together significantly contribute to the ability to create outputs. The standard also narrows the definition of outputs. The definition of a business affects areas of accounting such as acquisitions, disposals and goodwill. Under the new guidance, fewer acquired sets are expected to be considered businesses. This ASU is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2017 on a prospective basis with early adoption permitted. The Company would apply this guidance to applicable transactions after the adoption date.
In January 2017, the FASB issued ASU No. 2017-04, Simplifying the Test for Goodwill Impairment. Under the new standard, goodwill impairment would be measured as the amount by which a reporting unit’s carrying value exceeds its fair value, not to exceed the carrying value of goodwill. This ASU eliminates existing guidance that requires an entity to determine goodwill impairment by calculating the implied fair value of goodwill by hypothetically assigning the fair value of a reporting unit to all of its assets and liabilities as if that reporting unit had been acquired in a business combination. This ASU is effective prospectively to annual and interim impairment tests beginning after December 15, 2019, with early adoption permitted. The Company early adopted ASU 2017-04 on January 1, 2017. Accordingly, any goodwill impairment losses from that date forward are measured under the provisions of ASU 2017-04.
In March 2017, the FASB issued ASU No. 2017-07, Improving the Presentation of Net Periodic Pension Cost and Net Periodic Postretirement Benefit Cost. This ASU changes how employers that sponsor defined benefit pension and/or other postretirement benefit plans present the net periodic benefit cost in the income statement. Under the new standard, only the service cost component of net periodic benefit cost would be included in operating expenses. All other net periodic benefit costs components (such as interest cost, prior service cost amortization and actuarial gain/loss amortization) would be reported outside of operating income. This ASU is effective January 1, 2018 on a retrospective basis. The components of the Company’s net periodic defined benefit pension and postretirement benefit costs are presented in Note 10. These include components totaling $1.7 million, $1.7 million and $1.9 million, for the years ended December 31, 2017, 2016, and 2015, respectively, that would no longer be included within operating expenses and instead would be reported outside of income from operations under the new standard.
In May 2017, the FASB issued ASU No. 2017-09, Scope of Modification Accounting, that clarifies when changes to the terms or conditions of a share-based payment award must be accounted for as a modification. The general model for accounting for modifications of share-based payment awards is to record the incremental value arising from the changes as additional compensation cost. Under the new standard, fewer changes to the terms of an award would require accounting under this modification model. This ASU is effective January 1, 2018, with early adoption permitted. Because the Company does not typically make changes to the terms or conditions of its issued share-based payment awards, this ASU is not expected to have a material impact on its consolidated results of operations and financial condition.