Annual report pursuant to Section 13 and 15(d)

Summary of Significant Accounting Policies (Policies)

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Summary of Significant Accounting Policies (Policies)
12 Months Ended
Sep. 30, 2016
Organization, Consolidation and Presentation of Financial Statements [Abstract]  
Principles of Consolidation
Principles of Consolidation – The consolidated financial statements include the accounts of the Company and its wholly owned subsidiaries and subsidiaries in which it has a controlling interest. The Company reports noncontrolling interests in consolidated entities as a component of equity separate from the Company’s equity. The equity method of accounting is used for investments over which the Company has a significant influence but not a controlling financial interest. All material intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated in consolidation.
Use of Estimates
Use of Estimates – The preparation of consolidated financial statements in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements and the reported amounts of revenue and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
Revenue Recognition
Revenue Recognition – We review product and service sales contracts with multiple deliverables to determine if separate units of accounting are present. Where separate units of accounting exist, revenue allocated to delivered items is the lower of the relative selling price of the delivered items in the sales arrangement or the portion of the selling price that is not contingent upon performance of the service.

We recognize revenue when persuasive evidence of an arrangement exists; the product has been delivered and title has transferred, or services have been rendered; and the seller’s price to the buyer is fixed or determinable and collectability is reasonably assured. For us, this policy generally results in revenue recognition at the following points:
 
1.
For our equipment business, transactions where legal title passes to the customer upon shipment, we recognize revenue upon shipment for those products where the customer’s defined specifications have been met with at least two similarly configured systems and processes for a comparably situated customer. Our selling prices may include both equipment and services, i.e., installation and start-up services performed by our service technicians. The equipment and services are multiple deliverables. Certain equipment that has a positive track record of successful installation and customer acceptance are considered to be routine systems. Our recognition of revenue upon delivery of such equipment that has been routinely installed and accepted is equal to the total selling price minus the relative selling price of the undelivered services.

Where the installation and acceptance of more than two similarly configured items of equipment have not become routine, recognition of revenue upon delivery of equipment is limited to the lesser of (i) the total selling price minus the relative selling price of the undelivered services or (ii) the non-contingent amount. Since we defer only those costs directly related to installation, or other unit of accounting not yet delivered, and the portion of the contract price is often considerably greater than the relative selling price of those items, our policy at times will result in deferral of profit that is disproportionate in relation to the deferred revenue. When this is the case, the gross margin recognized in one period will be lower and the gross margin reported in a subsequent period will improve.

2.
For products where the customer’s defined specifications have not been met with at least two similarly configured systems and processes, the revenue and directly related costs are deferred at the time of shipment and later recognized at the time of customer acceptance or when this criterion has been met. We have, on occasion, experienced longer than expected delays in receiving cash from certain customers pending final installation or system acceptance. If some of our customers refuse to pay the final payment, or otherwise delay final acceptance or installation, the deferred revenue would not be recognized, adversely affecting our future cash flows and operating results.

3.
Sales of certain equipment, spare parts and consumables are recognized upon shipment, as there are no post shipment obligations other than standard warranties.

4.
Service revenue is recognized upon performance of the services requested by the customer. Revenue related to service contracts is recognized ratably over the period of the contract or in accordance with the terms of the contract, which generally coincides with the performance of the services requested by the customer.

Deferred Profit
Deferred Profit – Revenue deferred pursuant to our revenue policy, net of the related deferred costs, if any, is recorded as deferred profit in current liabilities.
Cash Equivalents
Cash Equivalents – We consider all highly liquid investments with a maturity of three months or less when purchased to be cash equivalents. Our cash and cash equivalents consist of amounts invested in U.S. money market funds and various U.S. and foreign bank operating and time deposit accounts.
Restricted Cash
Restricted Cash – Restricted cash of $0.9 million and $0.6 million as of September 30, 2016 and 2015, respectively, includes collateral for bank guarantees required by certain customers from whom deposits have been received in advance of shipment. Restricted cash as of September 30, 2016 and 2015 includes $0.2 million relating to the Company's proportional responsibility, assumed in connection with the BTU acquisition, for clean-up costs at a Superfund site.

Accounts receivable and Allowance for Doubtful Accounts
Accounts Receivable and Allowance for Doubtful Accounts – Accounts receivable are recorded at the gross sales price of products sold to customers on trade credit terms. Accounts receivable are considered past due when payment has not been received from the customer within the normal credit terms extended to that customer. A valuation allowance is established for accounts when collection is no longer probable. Accounts are written off against the allowance when the probability of collection is remote.
Accounts Receivable - Unbilled and Other
Accounts Receivable - Unbilled and Other – Unbilled and other accounts receivable consist mainly of the contingent portion of the sales price that is not collectible until successful installation of the product. These amounts are generally billed upon final customer acceptance.
Concentrations of Credit Risk
Concentrations of Credit Risk – Financial instruments that potentially subject the Company to significant concentrations of credit risk consist principally of cash and trade accounts receivable. The Company’s customers consist of solar cell and semiconductor manufacturers worldwide, as well as the lapping and polishing marketplace. Credit risk is managed by performing ongoing credit evaluations of the customers’ financial condition, by requiring significant deposits where appropriate, and by actively monitoring collections. Letters of credit are required of certain customers depending on the size of the order, type of customer or its creditworthiness, and country of domicile. Reserves for potentially uncollectible receivables are maintained based on an assessment of collectability.
 
The Company maintains its cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash in multiple financial institutions. Balances in the United States (approximately 70% and 62% of total cash balances as of September 30, 2016 and 2015, respectively) are primarily invested in US Treasuries or are in financial institutions insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). The remainder of the Company’s cash is maintained with financial institutions with reputable credit in The Netherlands, France and China.
Inventories
Inventories – We value our inventory at the lower of cost or net realizable value. Costs for approximately 50% and 60% of inventory as of September 30, 2016 and 2015, respectively, are determined on an average cost basis with the remainder determined on a first-in, first-out (FIFO) basis.
Notes and Other Receivables
Notes and Other Receivables – Notes and other Receivable consists of amounts due to the Company for the sale of Kingstone shares and repayment of a loan (see Note 14 "Deconsolidation"). The carrying amount of the notes receivable approximated fair value due to its short-term nature.
Property, Plant and Equipment
Property, Plant and Equipment – Property plant, and equipment are recorded at cost. Maintenance and repairs are charged to expense as incurred. The cost of property retired or sold and the related accumulated depreciation and amortization are removed from the applicable accounts when disposition occurs and any gain or loss is recognized. Depreciation and amortization is computed using the straight-line method.
Goodwill
Goodwill – Goodwill and intangible assets with indefinite lives are not subject to amortization, but are tested for impairment when it is determined that it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit or the indefinite-lived intangible asset is less than its carrying amount, typically at the end of the fiscal year, or more frequently if circumstances dictate.
Intangibles
Intangibles - Intangible assets are capitalized and amortized on a straight-line basis over their useful life if the life is determinable. If the life is not determinable, amortization is not recorded.
Warranty
Warranty – A limited warranty is provided free of charge, generally for periods of 12 to 24 months to all purchasers of the Company’s new products and systems. Accruals are recorded for estimated warranty costs at the time revenue is recognized.
Research, Development and Engineering Expenses
Research, Development and Engineering Expenses – Research, development and engineering expenses consist of the cost of employees, consultants and contractors who design, engineer and develop new products and processes as well as materials, supplies and facilities used in producing prototypes. Payments received for research and development grants prior to the meeting of milestones are recorded as unearned research and development grant liabilities and included in other accrued liabilities on the balance sheet. When certain contract requirements are met, governmental research and development grants are netted against research and development expenses. 
Shipping Expenses
Shipping Expense – Shipping expenses of $2.3 million, $2.5 million and $1.0 million for fiscal 2016, 2015 and 2014 are included in selling, general and administrative expenses.
Foreign Currency Transactions and Translation
Foreign Currency Transactions and Translation – Our operations in Europe, China and other countries are primarily conducted in their functional currencies, the Euro, Renminbi, or the local country currency, respectively.
Income Taxes
Income Taxes – The Company files consolidated federal income tax returns in the United States for all subsidiaries except those in the Netherlands, France, Hong Kong and China, where separate returns are filed. The Company computes deferred income tax assets and liabilities based upon cumulative temporary differences between financial reporting and taxable income, carryforwards available and enacted tax laws. The Company also accrues a liability for uncertain tax positions when it is more likely than not that such tax will be incurred.
 
Deferred tax assets reflect the tax effects of temporary differences between the carrying value of assets and liabilities for financial reporting purposes and the amounts used for income tax purposes. Deferred tax assets are reduced by a valuation allowance when, in the opinion of management and based on the weight of available evidence, it is more likely than not that a portion or all of the deferred tax asset will not be realized. Each quarter, the valuation allowance is re-evaluated.
Stock-Based Compensation
Stock-Based Compensation – The Company measures compensation costs relating to share-based payment transactions based upon the grant-date fair value of the award. Those costs are recognized as expense over the requisite service period, which is generally the vesting period. The benefits or deficiencies of tax deductions in excess of or less than recognized compensation cost are reported as cash flow from financing activities rather than as cash flow from operating activities.
Fair Value of Financial Instruments
Fair Value of Financial Instruments - In accordance with the requirements of the Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures Topic of the Financial Accounting Standards Board ("FASB") Accounting Standards Codification (ASC), the Company groups its financial assets and liabilities measured at fair value on a recurring basis in three levels, based on the markets in which the assets and liabilities are traded and the reliability of the assumptions used to determine fair value. These levels are:

Level 1 - Valuation is based upon quoted market price for identical instruments traded in active markets.

Level 2 - Valuation is based on quoted market prices for similar instruments in active markets, quoted prices for identical or similar instruments in markets that are not active, and model-based valuation techniques for which all significant assumptions are observable in the market.

Level 3 - Valuation is generated from model-based techniques that use significant assumptions not observable in the market. Valuation techniques include use of discounted cash flow models and similar techniques. 

In accordance with the requirements of the Fair Value Measurements and Disclosures Topic of the FASB ASC, it is the Company's policy to use observable inputs whenever reasonably practicable in order to minimize the use of unobservable inputs when developing fair value measurements. When available, the Company uses quoted market prices to measure fair value. If market prices are not available, the fair value measurement is based on models that use primarily market based parameters including interest rate yield curves, option volatilities and currency rates. In certain cases, where market rate assumptions are not available, the Company is required to make judgments about assumptions market participants would use to estimate the fair value of a financial instrument. Changes in the underlying assumptions used, including discount rates and estimates of future cash flows, could significantly affect the results of current or future values.

Cash, Cash Equivalents and Restricted Cash - Included in Cash and Cash Equivalents in the Consolidated Balance Sheets are money market funds invested in treasury bills, notes and other direct obligations of the U.S. Treasury and foreign bank operating and time deposit accounts. The fair value of this cash equivalent is based on Level 1 inputs in the fair value hierarchy. 

Receivables and Payables -The recorded amounts of these financial instruments, including accounts receivable and accounts payable, approximate their fair value because of the short maturities of these instruments. If measured at fair value in the financial statements, these financial instruments would be classified as Level 3 in the fair value hierarchy.

Pensions
Pensions – The Company has retirement plans covering substantially all employees. The principal plans are the multiemployer defined benefit pension plans of the Company’s operations in the Netherlands and France and the multiemployer plan for hourly union employees in Pennsylvania and the Company's defined contribution plan that covers substantially all of the employees in the United States. The multiemployer plans in the United States and France are insignificant.

Impact of Recently Issued Accounting Pronouncements
Impact of Recently Issued Accounting Pronouncements 

In August 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-15, “Statement of Cash Flows (Topic 230): Classification of Certain Cash Receipts and Cash Payments”. These amendments provide cash flow statement classification guidance for: 1. Debt Prepayment or Debt Extinguishment Costs; 2. Settlement of Zero-Coupon Debt Instruments or Other Debt Instruments with Coupon Interest Rates That Are Insignificant in Relation to the Effective Interest Rate of the Borrowing; 3. Contingent Consideration Payments Made after a Business Combination; 4. Proceeds from the Settlement of Insurance Claims; 5. Proceeds from the Settlement of Corporate-Owned Life Insurance Policies, including Bank-Owned Life Insurance Policies; 6. Distributions Received from Equity Method Investees; 7. Beneficial Interests in Securitization Transactions; and 8. Separately Identifiable Cash Flows and Application of the Predominance Principle. The amendments in this ASU are effective for public business entities for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2017, and interim periods within those fiscal years. Early application is permitted, including adoption in an interim period. The Company is currently in the process of evaluating the impact of the adoption on its consolidated financial statements.

In June 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-13, “Financial Instruments - Credit Losses: Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments”. ASU 2016-13 amends the impairment model to utilize an expected loss methodology in place of the currently used incurred loss methodology, which will result in the more timely recognition of losses. The new standard applies to financial assets measured at amortized cost basis, including receivables that result from revenue transactions and held-to-maturity debt securities. The new guidance will be effective for the Company starting in the first quarter of fiscal 2021. Early adoption is permitted starting in the first quarter of fiscal 2020. The Company is in the process of determining the effects the adoption will have on its consolidated financial statements as well as whether to adopt the new guidance early.

In May 2014, the FASB issued Accounting Standards Update No. 2014-09 regarding ASC Topic 606, “Revenue from Contracts with Customers.” ASU 2014-09 provides principles for recognizing revenue to depict the transfer of promised 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. In August 2015, the FASB issued ASU 2015-14 to defer the effective date by one year with early adoption permitted as of the original effective date. ASU 2014-09 will be effective for Amtech’s fiscal year beginning October 1, 2018 unless we elect the earlier date of October 1, 2017. In addition, the FASB issued ASU 2016-08, ASU 2016-10, and ASU 2016-12 in March 2016, April 2016, and May 2016, respectively, to help provide interpretive clarifications on the new guidance in ASC Topic 606. The Company is currently assessing the impact that adopting this new accounting standard will have on its consolidated financial statements.

In March 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-09, Compensation - “Stock Compensation (Topic 718)”. ASU 2016-09 identifies areas for simplification involving several aspects of accounting for share-based payment transactions, including the income tax consequences, classification of awards as either equity or liabilities, an option to recognize gross stock compensation expense with actual forfeitures recognized as they occur, as well as certain classifications on the statement of cash flows. The amendments in this ASU are effective for annual periods beginning after December 15, 2016 and for the interim periods therein. The Company is currently assessing the impact that adopting this new accounting standard will have on its consolidated financial statements.

In March 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-07, “Equity Method and Joint Ventures” affecting all entities that have an investment that becomes qualified for the equity method of accounting as a result of an increase in the level of ownership or degree of influence. ASU 2016-07 is effective for the Company beginning on January 1, 2017, early adoption is permitted. The adoption of this guidance by the Company is not expected to have a material impact on its consolidated financial statements.

In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-02, “Leases (Topic 842)”, which requires companies to generally recognize on the balance sheet operating and financing lease liabilities and corresponding right-of-use-assets. ASU 2016-02 also requires improved disclosures to help users of financial statements better understand the amount, timing and uncertainty of cash flows arising from leases. This ASU is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018 and early application is permitted. The Company is currently in the process of evaluating the impact of this standard on its consolidated financial statements.

In January 2016, the FASB issued ASU No. 2016-01, “Financial Instruments - Overall (Subtopic 825-10), Recognition and Measurement of Financial Assets and Financial Liabilities”, which addresses certain aspects of recognition, measurement, presentation, and disclosure of financial instruments. This ASU is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2017 and early adoption is not permitted. The Company is currently evaluating the impact that the standard will have on its consolidated financial statements.

In November 2015, the FASB issued ASU No. 2015-17, “Balance Sheet Classification of Deferred Taxes”. This ASU requires entities to classify deferred tax liabilities and assets as noncurrent in a classified statement of financial position. This ASU is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2016, and interim periods within those annual periods. Early adoption is permitted for all entities as of the beginning of an interim or annual reporting period. The adoption of this guidance by the Company is not expected to have a material impact on its consolidated financial statements.

In July 2015, the FASB issued ASU No. 2015-16, “Business Combinations (Topic 805): Simplifying the Accounting for Measurement-Period Adjustments”, which simplifies the accounting for measurement-period adjustments to provisional amounts recognized in a business combination. ASU 2015-16 is effective for fiscal years (and interim reporting periods within those years) beginning after December 15, 2016. The provisions of ASU 2015-16 are not expected to have a material effect on the Company's financial condition, results of operations, or cash flows.

In July 2015, the FASB issued ASU No. 2015-11, “Simplifying the Measurement of Inventory”. This ASU simplifies the measurement of inventory by requiring certain inventory to be measured at the lower of cost or net realizable value. The amendments in this ASU are effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2016 and for interim periods therein. The Company does not expect adoption of this ASU to have a material impact on the Company's consolidated financial position and results of operations.