Significant Accounting Policies

Basis of preparation

The consolidated annual accounts (the 'annual accounts') have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards ('IFRS') as endorsed by the European Union.

The consolidated annual accounts are prepared under the historical cost convention except for: equity investments valued at fair value, investments in associates, interest-bearing securities, short-term deposits, applicable funding items and all derivative instruments that are valued at fair value. For all financial instruments valued at fair value settlement date accounting is applied by FMO.

Adoption of new and revised Standards

Improvements to IFRSs, issued May 2010

The International Accounting Standards Board ('IASB') and the International Financial Reporting Interpretations Committee ('IFRIC') issued amendments to a number of IFRSs in May 2010, with an effective date in 2011. The following amendment has a material impact on FMO's accounting policies.

IAS 1 Presentation of Financial Statements
For each component of equity, an entity is obliged to present, either in the statement of changes in equity or in the notes, an analysis of other comprehensive income ('OCI') by item. FMO has chosen to include a disaggregation of OCI in the statement of shareholders' equity.

Amendments with no material impact

There were a number of amendments to the following IFRSs with an effective date in 2011, that did not have a material impact on the accounting policies, financial position or performance of FMO:

  • Improvements to IFRSs (issued May 2010):
    • IFRS 1 First-time Adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards
    • IFRS 3 Business Combinations
    • IAS 34 Interim Financial Reporting
    • IFRIC 13 Customer Loyalty Programmes
  • IFRS 1 First-time Adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards (issued December 2010)
  • IFRS 7 Financial Instruments: Disclosures (issued October 2010)
  • IAS 24 Related parties (issued November 2009)

Estimates and assumptions

In preparing the annual accounts, in conformity with IFRS, management is required to make estimates and assumptions affecting reported income, expenses, assets, liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities. Use of available information and application of judgment is inherent to the formation of estimates. Although these estimates are based on management's best knowledge of current events and actions, actual results could differ from such estimates and the differences may be material to the annual accounts. The most relevant estimates and assumptions relate to the determination of the fair value of financial instruments based on generally accepted modeled valuation techniques and the determination of the counterparty-specific and group-specific value adjustments. Estimates and assumptions are also used for the pension liabilities, determination of tax, depreciation of tangible fixed assets and others.

Group accounting and consolidation

The company accounts of FMO and the company accounts of the subsidiaries Nuevo Banco Comercial Holding B.V., FMO Antillen N.V. and Blauser S.A. are consolidated in these annual accounts.

  • The activities of Nuevo Banco Comercial Holding B.V. and FMO Antillen N.V. consist of providing equity capital to companies in developing countries. Both are 100% owned by FMO.
  • During 2011, FMO's stake in Blauser S.A. increased from 63.125% to 70.5%. FMO acquired Blauser S.A. in 2010 as a settlement in kind. Blauser S.A. is an Ecuadorian fruit processor and exporter.

Segment reporting

The operating segments are reported in a manner consistent with internal reporting to FMO's chief operating decision maker. The chief operating decision maker who is responsible for allocating resources and assessing performance of the operating segments, has been identified as the Management Board.

FMO focuses on four business sectors:

  1. Financial institutions
  2. Energy (sutainable)
  3. Housing
  4. Agribusiness, food and water

The latter sector started in 2011. These business sectors are included in the segment reporting and further divided into Financial institutions, Energy, Housing, Agribusiness, food and water, Diverse sectors and Treasury. The segment Financial institutions also includes investments in private equity funds that provide financing to various sectors. The segment Diverse sectors operates in other sectors (e.g. telecom, infrastructure and raw materials) by partnering with commercial banks and development finance institutions.

Fiscal unity

The company formed a fiscal unity for corporate income tax purposes with its fully-owned subsidiary Nuevo Banco Comercial Holding B.V. as from January 1, 1999. As a consequence, FMO is severally liable for all income tax liabilities for Nuevo Banco Commercial Holding B.V.

Foreign currency translation

FMO uses the euro as the unit for presenting its annual accounts. All amounts are denominated in thousands of euros unless stated otherwise. In accordance with IAS 21, foreign currency transactions are translated to euro at the exchange rate prevailing on the date of the transaction. At the balance sheet date, monetary assets and liabilities and non-monetary assets that are not valued at cost denominated in foreign currencies are reported using the closing exchange rate.

Exchange differences arising on the settlement of transactions at rates different from those at the date of the transaction and unrealized foreign exchange differences on unsettled foreign currency monetary assets and liabilities, are recognized in the profit and loss account under 'results from financial transactions'.

Unrealized exchange differences on non-monetary financial assets (investments in equity instruments) are a component of the change in their entire fair value. For non-monetary financial assets, which are classified as available for sale, unrealized exchange differences are recorded directly in shareholders' equity until the asset is sold.

When preparing the annual accounts, assets and liabilities of foreign subsidiaries and FMO's share in associates are translated at the exchange rates at the balance sheet date, while income and expense items are translated at weighted average rates for the period. Differences resulting from the use of closing and weighted average exchange rates, and from revaluation of a foreign entity's opening net asset value at closing rate, are recognized directly in the translation reserve within shareholders' equity. These translation differences are maintained in the translation reserves until disposal of the subsidiary and/or associate.

Offsetting financial instruments

Financial assets and liabilities are offset and the net amount is reported in the balance sheet when there is a legally enforceable right to offset the recognized amounts and there is an intention to settle on a net basis, or realize the asset and settle the liability simultaneously.

Derivative instruments

Derivative financial instruments are initially recognized at fair value on the date FMO enters into a derivative contract and are subsequently remeasured at its fair value. Changes in the fair value of these derivative instruments are recognized immediately in profit and loss. All derivatives are carried as assets when fair value is positive and as liabilities when fair value is negative.

Part of the derivatives related to the asset portfolio concerns derivatives that are embedded in financial instruments. Such combinations are known as hybrid instruments and arise predominantly from the issuance of mezzanine loans and equity investments. These derivatives are treated as separate derivatives when their economic characteristics and risks are not closely related to those of the host contract. These derivatives are measured at fair value with changes in fair value recognized in profit and loss.

Hedge accounting

FMO uses derivative instruments as part of its asset and liability management to manage exposures to interest rates and foreign currency. FMO applies fair value hedge accounting when transactions meet the specified criteria. When a financial instrument is designated as a hedge, FMO formally documents the relationship between the hedging instrument(s) and hedged item(s). Documentation includes its risk management objectives and its strategy in undertaking the hedge transaction, together with the methods that will be used to assess the effectiveness of the hedging relationship.

A valid hedge relationship exists when a specific relationship can be identified between financial instruments in which the change in value of one instrument, the 'hedge instrument', is correlated highly negatively to the change in value of the other, the 'hedged item'. To qualify for hedge accounting, this correlation must be within 80% to 125%, with any ineffectiveness recognized in the profit and loss account.

FMO discontinues hedge accounting when it is determined that:

  1. A derivative is not, or ceased to be, highly effective as a hedge;
  2. The derivative has expired, or is sold, terminated or exercised; or
  3. The hedged item has matured, is sold or is repaid.

FMO only applies fair value hedge accounting. Changes in the fair value of these derivatives are recorded in the profit and loss account. Any changes in the fair value of the hedged asset or liability that are attributable to the hedged risk are also recorded in the profit and loss account. If a hedge relationship is terminated for reasons other than the de-recognition of the hedged item, the difference between the carrying value of the hedged item at that point and the value at which it would have been carried had the hedge never existed (the 'unamortized fair value adjustment') is treated as follows:

  • In case of interest-bearing instruments, that amount is amortized and included in net profit and loss over the remaining term of the original hedge;
  • In case of non-interest-bearing instruments, that amount is immediately recognized in profit and loss.

If the hedged instrument is de-recognized, e.g. sold or repaid, the unamortized fair value adjustment is recognized immediately in profit and loss.

Interest income

Interest income and expense are recognized in the profit and loss account for all interest-bearing instruments on an accrual basis using the 'effective interest' method based on the initial fair value at inception. Interest income and expense also include amortized discounts, premiums on financial instruments and interest related to derivatives.

When collection of loans becomes doubtful, value adjustments are recorded for the difference between the carrying values and recoverable amounts. Interest income is thereafter recognized based on the original effective yield that was used to discount the future cash flows for the purpose of measuring the recoverable amount.

Fee and commission income

FMO earns fees from a diverse range of services. The revenue recognition for financial service fees depends on the purpose for which the fees are charged and the basis of accounting for the associated financial instrument. Fees that are part of a financial instrument carried at fair value are recognized in the profit and loss account. Fee income that is part of a financial instrument carried at amortized costs can be divided into three categories:

  1. Fees that are an integral part of the effective interest rate of a financial instrument
    These fees (such as front-end fees) are generally treated as an adjustment to the effective interest rate. When the facility is not used and the commitment period expires, the fee is recognized at the moment of expiration. However, when the financial instrument is to be measured at fair value subsequent to its initial recognition, the fees are recognized in revenue as part of the interest.
  2. Fees earned when services are provided
    Fees charged by FMO for servicing a loan (such as administration fees and agency fees) are recognized as revenue when the services are provided. Portfolio and other management advisory and service fees are recognized in line with the periods and the agreed services of the applicable service contracts.
  3. Fees that are earned on the execution of a significant act
    These fees (such as arrangement fees) are recognized as revenue when the significant act has been completed.

Dividend income

Dividends are recognized in dividend income when a dividend is declared. The dividend receivable is recorded at declaration date, taking the uncertainties of collection into account.

Cash and cash equivalents

Cash and cash equivalents consist of banks (assets and liabilities) and short-term deposits that mature in less than three months. Short-term deposits are designated at fair value. Unrealized gains or losses of these short-term deposits (including foreign exchange results) are reported in the results from financial transactions.

Loans to the private sector

Loans originated by FMO include:

  1. Loans to the private sector in developing countries for the account and risk of FMO;
  2. Loans provided by FMO and, to a certain level, guaranteed by the State.

Loans are recognized as assets when cash is advanced to borrowers. Loans are initially measured at cost, which is the fair value of the consideration paid, net of transaction costs incurred. Subsequently, the loans are valued at amortized cost using the effective interest rate method.

Interest on loans is included in interest income and is recognized on an accrual basis using the effective interest rate method. Fees relating to loan origination and re-financing are deferred and amortized to interest income over the life of the loan using the effective interest rate method.

Value adjustments on loans

At each reporting date FMO assesses the necessity for value adjustments on loans. Value adjustments are recorded if there is objective evidence that FMO will be unable to collect all amounts due according to the original contractual terms or the equivalent value. The value adjustments are evaluated at a counterparty-specific and group-specific level based on the following principles:

  1. Counterparty-specific:
    Individual credit exposures are evaluated based on the borrower's characteristics, overall financial condition, resources and payment record, original contractual term, exit possibilities and, where applicable, the realizable value of the underlying collateral. The estimated recoverable amount is the present value of expected future cash flows, which may result from restructuring or liquidation. Value adjustments for credit losses are established for the difference between the carrying amount and the estimated recoverable amount.
  2. Group-specific:
    All loans that have no counterparty-specific value adjustment are divided in groups of financial assets with similar credit risk characteristics and are collectively assessed for value adjustments. The credit exposures are evaluated based on local political and economic developments, branch of industry (financial or non-financial institution), probabilities of default, country ratings, information deprivation and recovery rates, and taking into consideration the nature of the exposures based on product/country combined risk assessment.

A value adjustment is reported as a reduction of the asset's carrying value on the balance sheet. All loans are reviewed and analyzed at least annually. Any subsequent changes to the amounts and timing of the expected future cash flows compared to prior estimates will result in a change in the value adjustments and will be charged or credited to the profit and loss account. A value adjustment is reversed only when the credit quality has improved to the extent that reasonable assurance of timely collection of principal and interest is in accordance with the original or revised contractual terms.

A write-off is made when all or part of a claim is deemed uncollectible or forgiven. Write-offs are charged against previously recorded value adjustments. If no value adjustment is recorded, the write-off is included directly in the profit and loss account under the line item 'value adjustments'.

Interest-bearing securities

Interest-bearing securities include bonds and loans and are classified as available for sale investments. The interest-bearing securities are carried at fair value. The determination of fair values of interest-bearing securities is based on quoted market prices or dealer price quotations from active markets. Unrealized revaluations due to movements in market prices and the accompanying foreign exchange results are reported in shareholders' equity, net of applicable income taxes. Value adjustments, foreign exchange results on the amortized cost value and realized results on disposal or redemption are recognized in profit or loss. Interest accrued on interest-bearing securities is included in interest income.

Unrealized losses included in the available for sale reserve are considered to be temporary as the investments are intended to be held for a period of time sufficient to recover their cost.

Equity investments

Equity investments in which FMO has no significant influence are classified as available for sale assets and are measured:

  1. At fair value when a quoted market price in an active market is available or when fair value can be estimated reliably using a valuation technique
    Unrealized gains or losses are reported in the available for sale reserve net of applicable income taxes until such investments are sold, collected or otherwise disposed of, or until such investment is determined to be impaired. Foreign exchange differences are reported as part of the fair value change in shareholders' equity. On disposal of the available for sale investment, the accumulated unrealized gain or loss included in shareholders' equity is transferred to profit and loss.
  2. At cost or lower recoverable amount if the fair value cannot be estimated reliably
    In line with AG80 and AG81 of IAS 39, the fair value of equity investments that do not have a quoted market price in an active market is only reliably measurable if:
    1. The variability in the range of reasonable fair value estimates is not significant for that instrument; or
    2. The probabilities of the various estimates within the range can be reasonably assessed and used in estimating the fair value.


The nature of most of FMO's private equity investments in developing countries causes certain valuation difficulties and uncertainties. Very often there is no liquid market for these investments and there have not been any recent transactions that provide reliable evidence for its current fair value. In addition, discounted cash flow techniques yield a wide range of fair values due to the uncertainty regarding future cash flows based on the high-risk nature of the industry. Therefore, discounted cash flow techniques do not provide a reliable measure of fair value. As a result, the fair value of investments cannot always be measured reliably and these investments are recorded at cost less impairment where required. For the equity investments valued at cost, no foreign exchange differences are recognized.


All equity investments are reviewed and analyzed at least annually. An equity investment is considered impaired if its carrying value exceeds the recoverable amount by an amount considered significant or for a period considered prolonged. If an equity investment is determined to be impaired, the impairment is recognized in the profit and loss account as a value adjustment. The impairment loss includes any unrealized loss previously recognized in shareholders' equity. The impairment losses shall not be reversed through the profit and loss account except upon realization. Accordingly, any subsequent unrealized gains for impaired equity investments are reported through shareholders' equity in the available for sale reserve.

Investments in associates

Equity investments in companies in which FMO has significant influence ('associates') are accounted for under the equity accounting method. Significant influence is normally evidenced when FMO has from 20% to 50% of a company's voting rights unless:

  1. FMO is not involved in the company's operational and/or strategic management by participation in its Management, Supervisory Board or Investment Committee; and
  2. There are no material transactions between FMO and the company; and
  3. FMO makes no essential technical assistance available.

Investments in associates are initially recorded at cost and the carrying amount is increased or decreased after the date of acquisition to recognize FMO's share of the investee's results or other results directly recorded in the equity of associates.

FMO operates in developing countries that do not have particularly advanced accounting standards and practices comparable to those in developed countries. Financial reporting may not always be comparable to the quality under IFRS standards and may not be available in a timely manner. Inherent to this situation, FMO only accounts the associates according to the equity method if underlying financial data is recent, audited and prepared under internationally accepted accounting standards.

If these criteria are not met, FMO records the associates at cost less impairment. In line with the accounting principles for equity investments, the impairment losses are included in profit and loss and cannot be reversed through the profit and loss accounts, except upon realization.

Tangible fixed assets

ICT equipment

Expenditures directly associated with identifiable and unique software products controlled by FMO and likely to generate economic benefits exceeding costs beyond one year, are recognized as tangible fixed assets. These assets include staff costs incurred to make these software products operable in the way management intended for these software products. Costs associated with maintaining software programs are recognized in the profit and loss account as incurred. Expenditure that enhances or extends the performance of software programs beyond their original specifications is recognized as a capital improvement and added to the original cost of the software.

Furniture and leasehold improvements

Furniture and leasehold improvements are stated at historical cost less accumulated depreciation.


Depreciation is calculated using the straight-line method to write down the cost of such assets to their residual values over their estimated useful lives as follows:

ICT equipment

Five years


Five years

Leasehold improvements

Eight years


Twenty years


Tangible fixed assets are reviewed for impairment whenever triggering events indicate that the carrying amount may not be recoverable. Where the carrying amount of an asset is greater than its estimated recoverable amount, it is written down immediately to its recoverable amount. Gains and losses on disposal of property and equipment are determined by reference to their carrying amount and are reported in operating profit. Repairs and renewals are charged to the profit and loss account when the expenditure is incurred.

Debt issued

Debt issued consists of:

  1. Debt securities:
    Non-subordinated debt, which has not been identified as debentures and notes. In this category the following distinction is made:
    • Debt securities qualifying for hedge accounting (valued at amortized cost and adjusted for the fair value of the hedged risk);
    • Debt securities not qualifying for hedge accounting (valued at amortized cost).
  2. Debentures and notes:
    Medium-term notes under FMO's GMTN program and public issues in the Swiss franc (CHF)market, Japanese yen (JPY) Samurai market, Australian dollar (AUD) market and Canadian dollar (CAD) market. Debentures and notes can be divided into:
    • Notes ('structured funding') qualifying for the fair value option under IAS 39 (valued at fair value);
    • Notes qualifying for hedge accounting (valued at amortized cost and adjusted for the fair value of the hedged risk);
    • Notes that do not qualify for hedge accounting (valued at amortized cost).

Debt issued valued at amortized cost

Debt issued is initially measured at cost, which is the fair value of the consideration received, net of transaction costs incurred. Subsequent measurement is amortized cost, using the effective interest rate method to amortize the cost at inception to the redemption value over the life of the debt.

Debt issued eligible for hedge accounting

When hedge accounting is applied to debt instruments, the carrying value of debt issued is adjusted for changes in fair value related to the hedged risk. The fair value changes are recorded in the profit and loss account. Further reference is made to 'derivative instruments' and 'hedge accounting'.

Debt issued eligible for fair value option

It is FMO's policy to hedge currency and interest rate risks with regard to debentures and notes under the GMTN program. Certain transactions do not meet the specified criteria for hedge accounting. For these debentures and notes under the GMTN program the fair value option is applied to reduce a measurement inconsistency ('accounting mismatch'). As FMO's credit rating remained the same during the reporting period, all fair value changes during the reporting period are due to market changes. Combined debt instruments are also eligible for the fair value option. Both derivative and structured funding are valued at fair value.


Provisions are recognized when:

  1. FMO has a present legal or constructive obligation as a result of past events; and
  2. It is probable that an outflow of resources embodying economic benefits will be required to settle the obligation; and
  3. A reliable estimate of the amount of the obligation can be made.

A provision is made for the liability for retirement benefits and severance arrangements. Further reference is made to 'retirement benefits'.


FMO has operational leases. The total payments due under operating leases are charged to the profit and loss account on a straight-line basis over the period of the lease. When an operating lease is terminated before the lease period has expired, any payment required to be made to the lessor by way of penalty is recognized as an expense in the period in which termination takes place.


Financial guarantee contracts are initially measured at fair value and subsequently measured at the higher of:

  • The amount of the obligation under the contract, as determined in accordance with IAS 37 Provisions, Contingent Liabilities and Contingent Assets; and
  • The amount initially recognized less, where appropriate, cumulative amortization recognized in accordance with the revenue recognition policies as set out in 'interest income' and 'fee and commission income'. These fees are recognized as revenue on an accrual basis over the period commitment.


Provisions and obligations resulting from guarantees are included in 'other liabilities'.

Retirement benefits

FMO provides all employees with retirement benefits that are categorized as a defined benefit. A defined benefit plan is a pension plan defining the amount of pension benefit to be provided, as a function of one or more factors such as age, years of service or compensation. Employees are entitled to retirement benefits based on the average salary, on attainment of the retirement age of 65. This is except for employees born before January 1, 1950, who are entitled to (early) retirement benefits based on final pay.

This scheme is funded through payments to an insurance company determined by periodic actuarial calculations. The principal actuarial assumptions are set out in note 19. FMO recognizes a portion of its actuarial gains and losses as income or expense if the net cumulative unrecognized actuarial gains and losses at the end of the previous reporting period exceeded the greater of ('corridor approach'):

  • 10% of present value of the defined benefit obligation at that date; and
  • 10% of the fair value of any plan assets at that date.


The liability in respect of defined benefit pension plans is the present value of the defined benefit obligation at the balance sheet date minus the fair value of plan assets, together with adjustments for unrecognized actuarial gains/losses and past service costs. Independent actuaries perform an annual calculation of the defined benefit obligation using the projected unit credit method. The present value of the defined benefit obligation is determined by the estimated future cash outflows using, in accordance with IAS 19, interest rates of high-quality corporate bonds, which have terms to maturity approximating the terms of the related liability. FMO has a contract with a well established insurer, in which all nominal pension obligations are guaranteed and the downside risk of pension assets is mitigated.

When the fair value of the plan's assets exceeds the present value of the defined benefit obligations, a gain (asset) is recognized if this difference can be fully recovered through refunds or reductions in future contributions. No gain or loss is recognized solely as a result of an actuarial gain or loss, or past service cost, in the current period.

The net periodic pension cost is included in staff costs. Actuarial gains and losses arising from experience adjustments, changes in actuarial assumptions and amendments to pension plans are charged or credited to income over employees' service lives.


Income tax on profits is recognized as an expense based on the applicable tax laws in each jurisdiction in the period in which profits arise. The tax effects of income tax losses, available for carry-forward, are recognized as a deferred tax asset if it is probable that future taxable profit will be available against which those losses can be utilized. Deferred tax liabilities are recognized for temporary differences between the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities in the balance sheet and their amounts as measured for tax purposes, which will result in taxable amounts in future periods using the liability method. Deferred tax assets are recognized for temporary differences, resulting in deductible amounts in future periods, but only when it is probable that sufficient taxable profits will be available against which these differences can be utilized. The main temporary differences arise from the fair value movements on interest-bearing securities and the post-retirement benefits provision.

Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured at the tax rates expected to apply in the period in which the asset will be realized or the liability will be settled. Current and deferred taxes are recognized as income tax benefit or expense except for unrealized gains or losses on available for sale investments, which are recorded net of taxes directly in shareholders' equity.

Shareholders' equity

Contractual reserve

The contractual reserve consists of the cumulative part of the annual net results that FMO is obliged to reserve under the Agreement State-FMO of November 16, 1998. This reserve is not freely distributable.

Development fund

This special purpose reserve contains the allocations of risk capital provided by the State to finance the portfolio of loans and equity investments.

Available for sale reserve (AFS reserve)

The available for sale reserve includes net revaluations of financial instruments classified as available for sale that have not been reported through the profit and loss account.

Translation reserve

The assets, liabilities, income and expenses of foreign subsidiaries and associates are translated using the closing and weighted average exchange rates. Differences resulting from the translation are recognized in the translation reserve.

Other reserves

The other reserves include the cumulative distributable net profits. Dividends are deducted from other reserves in the period in which they are declared.

Undistributed profit

The undistributed profit consists of the part of the annual result that FMO is not obliged to reserve under the Agreement State-FMO of November 16, 1998.

Non-controlling interests

The non-controlling interest relates to the investment in Blauser S.A. held by other investors.