As part of the process of preparing our financial statements, we are required to estimate our provision for income taxes in
each of the jurisdictions in which we operate. This involves estimating our actual current tax exposure, including assessing the risks associated with tax audits, together with assessing temporary differences resulting from the different treatment
of items for tax and accounting purposes. These differences result in deferred tax assets and liabilities. We assess the likelihood that our deferred tax assets will be recovered from future taxable income and record a valuation allowance to reduce
the deferred tax assets to an amount that, in our judgment, is more likely than not to be recovered.
Management judgment is required in determining our provision for income taxes, our deferred tax assets and liabilities, and any valuation
allowance recorded against our deferred tax assets. The valuation allowance is based on our estimates of future taxable income and the period over which we expect the deferred tax assets to be recovered. Our assessment of future taxable income is
based on historical experience and current and anticipated market and economic conditions and trends. In the event that actual results differ from these estimates or we adjust our estimates in the future, we may need to adjust our valuation
allowance, which could materially impact our consolidated financial position and results of operations.
Pension and Post-Employment Benefit Plans
We sponsor various pension and post-employment benefit plans covering our employees in several countries. The estimates of our obligations
and related expense of these plans recorded in our financial statements are based on certain assumptions. The most significant assumptions relate to the discount rate, expected return on plan assets and rate of increase in healthcare costs. Other
assumptions used include employee demographic factors such as compensation rate increases, retirement patterns, employee turnover rates and mortality rates. These assumptions are updated annually by us. The difference between these assumptions and
actual experience results in the recognition of an asset or liability based upon a net actuarial (gain)/loss. If total net actuarial (gain)/loss exceeds a threshold of 10% of the greater of the projected benefit obligation or the market related
value of plan assets, it is subject to amortization and recorded as a component of net periodic pension cost over the average remaining service lives of the employees participating in the benefit plan.
The discount rate reflects the current rate at which the pension
and other post-retirement liabilities could be effectively settled considering the timing of expected payments for plan participants. It is used to discount the estimated future obligations of the plans to the present value of the liability
reflected in our financial statements. In estimating this rate, we consider rates of return on high-quality fixed-income investments included in various published bond indexes, adjusted to eliminate the effect of call provisions and differences in
the timing and amounts of cash outflows related to the bonds.
To determine the expected return on plan assets, we considered the historical returns earned by similarly invested assets, the rates of return expected on plan assets in the future and our investment
strategy and asset mix with respect to the plans funds.
The rate of increase in healthcare costs directly impacts the estimate of our future obligations in connection with our post-employment medical benefits. Our estimate of healthcare cost trends is based on
historical increases in healthcare costs under similarly designed plans, the level of increase in healthcare costs expected in the future and the design features of the underlying plans.
Share-Based Payment Plans
In December 2004, the FASB issued guidance now codified as ASC Topic 718, CompensationStock
Compensation, or ASC 718. ASC 718 requires that new, modified and unvested share-based compensation arrangements with employees, such as stock options and restricted stock units, be measured at fair value and recognized as
compensation expense over the requisite service period.