You are a recent accounting graduate and have been employed in the Financial Reporting Unit of Transurban Holdings Ltd (TCL), an ASX listed toll road operator. Some toll road operators have been having problems from investing in toll road concession which have not been as profitable as originally indicated. For example, in 2014 Transurban bought the Sydney Cross City Tunnel after the previous two operators were not able to make money from it (Sydney Morning Herald 27Mart, 2014: Cross City tunnel sold to Transurban for $475m).
The Risk management Committee of the Board of TCL has become increasingly concerned about the volatility in Australian transport in general, and toll roads in particular.
You are required to prepare a report for the CFO considering the potential impacts of TCL’s exposure to industry risk.
a) With reference to TCL, identify and summarise the accounting policies relating to toll road concessions and how these are dictated by regulation.
b) With reference to TCL, identify and explain the flexibility management has available in the determination of asset values underpinning the toll road business.
c) With reference to TCL, explain the potential impacts of any deterioration of the toll road business on the financial reports of TCL (i.e., balance sheet and income statement impacts).
d) If oil prices were to substantially increase and thereby reduce the usage of private motor vehicles (until sufficient alternative-energy vehicles could be manufactured at scale), evaluate the potential economic consequences of the changes in TCL’s financial statements you identified in part (c). This should be answered using the accounting theory related to the use of financial reports (Week 0 material)