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, 2011
Summary of Significant Accounting Principles and Practices [Abstract]  


Description of the Business

Astronics is a leading supplier of advanced, high-performance lighting systems, electrical power generation and distribution systems, avionics databus solutions, aircraft safety systems for the global aerospace industry as well as test, training and simulation systems primarily for the military. We sell our products to airframe manufacturers (OEM’s) in the commercial transport, business jet and military markets as well as FAA/Airport, OEM suppliers and aircraft operators around the world. The Company provides its products through its wholly owned subsidiaries Luminescent Systems, Inc. (“LSI”), Luminescent Systems Canada, Inc.(“LSI Canada”), DME Corporation (“DME”), Ballard Technology, Inc. (“Ballard”) and Astronics Advanced Electronic Systems Corp. (“AES”). On November 30, 2011, Astronics acquired 100% of the stock of Ballard. Ballard designs and produces avionics databus solutions for defense and commercial aerospace applications. Ballard is part of our Aerospace segment.

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.

Revenue and Expense Recognition

In the Aerospace segment, revenue is recognized on the accrual basis at the time of shipment of goods and transfer of title. There are no significant contracts allowing for right of return.

In the Test Systems segment, revenue is recognized primarily 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. Substantially all long-term contracts are with U.S. government agencies and contractors thereto. 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.

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 sales. Research and development, design and related engineering amounted to $36.1 million in 2011, $28.3 million in 2010 and $27.0 million in 2009. Selling, general and administrative expenses include costs primarily related to our sales and marketing departments 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 August 2, 2011, Astronics Corporation announced a one-for-ten distribution of Class B Stock to holders of both Common and Class B Stock. On or about August 30, 2011, stockholders received one share of Class B Stock for every ten shares of Common and Class B Stock held on the record date of August 16, 2011. 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 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 excess tax benefits from share based payment arrangements were approximately $1.6 million in 2011 and insignificant in 2010 and 2009. These were classified as cash flows from financing activities.

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

In the Aerospace segment, a trade receivable is recorded at the time of shipment of goods and transfer of title. In the Test Systems segment, receivables are recognized from long-term, fixed-price contracts using the percentage-of-completion method of accounting. Test System accounts receivable include billings and costs and estimated earnings in excess of billings on uncompleted contracts. The Company records a valuation allowance to account for potentially uncollectible accounts receivable. The allowance is determined based on Management’s knowledge of the business, specific customers, review of the receivable’s 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 the potential for 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 or to reduce inventory to the lower of cost or market value. 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 on the straight-line method for financial reporting purposes and on 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. Leasehold improvements are amortized over the terms of the lease or the lives of the assets, whichever is shorter.

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, are reflected in income. Replacements and improvements are capitalized.

Depreciation expense was approximately $4.0 million, $3.8 million and $4.1 million in 2011, 2010 and 2009, 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 the estimated shortfall of the discounted cash flows.

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 cost 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 amount of those assets are below its estimated fair value. See Note 4 for further information regarding the impairment charges in 2011 and 2009 relating to intangible assets in our Test Systems reporting unit.


The Company does not amortize goodwill. 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 five reporting units, however only three reporting units have goodwill and are subject to the goodwill impairment test at December 31, 2011. The impairment test consists of comparing the fair value of the reporting unit, determined using an income approach based on discounted cash flow analyses, with its carrying amount including goodwill, and, if the carrying amount of the reporting unit exceeds its fair value, an impairment loss would be recognized for the carrying amount of goodwill in excess of its implied fair value. See Note 5 for further information regarding the goodwill impairment charges in 2011 and 2009, relating to our Test Systems reporting unit.

Financial Instruments

The Company’s financial instruments consist primarily of cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable, accounts payable, notes payable, long-term debt and interest rate swaps. The Company performs periodic credit evaluations of its customers’ financial condition and generally does not require collateral and the Company does not hold or issue financial instruments for trading purposes. Due to their short-term nature the carrying value 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 also approximates fair value due to the variable rate feature of these instruments. The carrying value of the subordinated promissory note approximates its fair value based on management’s estimation that a current interest rate would not differ materially from the stated rate. The Company’s interest rate swaps are recorded at fair value as described under “Fair Value.”


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 a cash flow hedge for interest rate risk associated with long-term debt. Interest rate swaps are used to adjust the proportion of total debt that is subject to variable and fixed interest rates. The interest rate swaps are 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, convert a portion of the variable-rate debt to fixed-rate debt. The Company records all derivatives on the balance sheet at fair value. The related gains or losses, to the extent the derivatives are effective as a hedge, are deferred in shareholders’ equity as a component of Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income (Loss) (AOCI). Any ineffectiveness is recorded in the statement of income.

Use of Estimates

The preparation of financial statements in conformity with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and 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 or loss included in operations was insignificant for 2011, 2010 and 2009.


The Company has not paid any cash dividends in the three-year period ended December 31, 2011. It has no plans to pay cash dividends as it plans to retain all cash from operations as a source of capital to finance growth in the business.

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.

Acquisition and Pro Forma Information

The Company accounts for its acquisitions under ASC Topic 805 “Business Combinations and Reorganizations” (“ASC Topic 805”). ASC Topic 805 provides revised 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. Acquisition costs are expensed as incurred. Acquisition expenses in 2011 and 2010 were insignificant. The Company expensed approximately $0.1 million in 2009. See Note 19 regarding the acquisition of Ballard on November 30, 2011.

Recent Accounting Pronouncements

On January 1, 2011, the Company adopted the new provisions of ASU No. 2010-29, Disclosure of Supplementary Pro Forma information for Business Combinations (Topic 805) (“ASU 2010-29”). ASC Topic 350 required pro forma revenue and earnings disclosure requirements for business combinations. ASU 2010-29 clarifies the requirements for disclosure of supplementary pro forma information for business combinations. The amendments in this update specify that if a public entity presents comparative financial statements, the entity should disclose revenue and earnings of the combined entity as though the business combination(s) that occurred during the current year had occurred as of the beginning of the comparable prior annual reporting period only. The amendments in this Update also expand the supplemental pro forma disclosures under Topic 805 to include a description of the nature and amount of material, nonrecurring pro forma adjustments directly attributable to the business combination included in the reported pro forma revenue and earnings. See Note 19 for the pro forma information for the 2011 acquisition of Ballard.

In June 2011, the FASB issued ASU No. 2011-04, “Fair Value Measurement (Topic 820)—Amendments to Achieve Common Fair Value Measurement and Disclosure Requirements in U.S. GAAP and IFRS.” The amendments provide a consistent definition of fair value and ensure that the fair value measurement and disclosure requirements are similar between U.S. GAAP and International Financial Reporting Standards. The amendments also change certain fair value measurement principles and enhance the disclosure requirements, particularly for Level 3 fair value measurements. The amendments are effective during interim and annual periods beginning after December 15, 2011 and should be applied prospectively. Early adoption is not permitted. We will adopt this standard during the first quarter of 2012. Other than requiring additional disclosures, the adoption of this amendment will not have a material impact on our consolidated financial statements.

In June 2011, the Financial Accounting Standards Board issued ASU No. 2011-05, Comprehensive Income (Topic 220). The amendments in this Update require an entity to report all non-owner changes in stockholders’ equity either in a single continuous statement of comprehensive income or in two separate but consecutive statements. The ASU prohibits the presentation of the components of comprehensive income in the statement of stockholder’s equity. The amendments are effective for annual and interim periods beginning after December 15, 2011 and should be applied retrospectively. In December 2011, the Financial Accounting Standards Board issued ASU No. 2011-12, Comprehensive Income (Topic 220): 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). The amendments in this Update defer the effective date pertaining only to reclassification adjustments out of accumulated other comprehensive income in Accounting Standards Update 2011-05, Comprehensive Income (Topic 220): Presentation of Comprehensive Income, until the Financial Accounting Standards Board is able to reconsider those presentation requirements. Although early adoption is permitted, the Company has elected to adopt these pronouncements in the first quarter of 2012. The impact on the Company’s financial statements is not anticipated to be significant.

In September 2011, the Financial Accounting Standards Board issued ASU No. 2011-08, Intangibles—Goodwill and Other (Topic 350). The amendments in this Update will allow an entity to first assess qualitative factors to determine whether it is necessary to perform the two-step quantitative goodwill impairment test. Under these amendments, an entity would not be required to calculate the fair value of a reporting unit unless the entity determines, based on a qualitative assessment, that it is more likely than not that its fair value is less than its carrying amount. The amendments are effective for annual and interim goodwill impairment tests performed for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2011. The Company elected to adopt this pronouncement in 2012. The impact on the Company’s financial statements is not anticipated to be significant.