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August 2016

Can a Company have two functional currencies?

By Dolphy D’Souza Chartered Accountant
Reading Time 4 mins
Can a Company have two functional currencies for its two autonomous divisions? Travel & Logistics Ltd (TL or the Company) an Indian registered company has two independent business divisions, namely, hotel division which runs hotels in India and shipping division which runs global shipping operations. TL assessed the functional currency of the hotel division as rupee (INR) and shipping division as US $. It may be noted that substantial income and expense of the shipping division is in US $. If the shipping division was housed in a separate company, its functional currency would be US $.

In which currency, TL will prepare its Ind AS financial statements? Will it be (a) INR (b) US $ or (c) INR for hotel division and US $ for shipping division?

A similar issue was discussed by the Ind AS Transition Facilitation Group (ITFG). The view of the ITFG and the Author’s view are expressed below.

View of ITFG
As per paragraph 8 of Ind AS 21, The Effects of Changes in Foreign Exchange Rates, functional currency is the currency of the primary economic environment in which the entity operates.

Further, paragraph 17 of Ind AS 21 states that: “In preparing financial statements, each entity – whether a stand-alone entity, an entity with foreign operations (such as a parent) or a foreign operation (such as a subsidiary or branch)—determines its functional currency in accordance with paragraphs 9–14 of Ind AS 21.”

Paragraphs 9-14 of Ind AS 21, elaborate the factors that need to be considered by an entity while determining its functional currency.

In view of the above, it is concluded that functional currency needs to be identified at the entity level, considering the economic environment in which the entity operates, and not at the level of a business or a division. Accordingly, if after applying paragraphs 9-14 of Ind AS 21, the Company concludes that its functional currency is USD at the entity level, then it shall prepare its financial statements as per USD.

Though not stated, the obvious extension of this interpretation is that if the Company concludes that its functional currency is INR at the entity level, then it shall prepare its financial statements as per INR.

Authors view
Under Ind AS 21, foreign operations are defined as “Foreign operation is an entity that is a subsidiary, associate, joint arrangement or branch of a reporting entity, the activities of which are based or conducted in a country or currency other than those of the reporting entity.”

It is interesting to note that the activities of the branch may be conducted in a different country or in the same country but in a different currency. Ind AS 21 uses the term ‘branch’ to describe an operation within a legal entity that may have a different functional currency from the entity itself. It does not describe a branch, in the classical sense, such as a Company in Mumbai has a branch in Chennai.

An entity may have an operation, eg a division that operates in a different currency environment from the rest of the entity. Though this may not be a branch in a classical sense, it would be a branch for the purposes of Ind AS 21, provided the operation of that division represents a sufficiently autonomous business unit.

Therefore in the given fact pattern, the entity will apply functional currency US $ for shipping division and INR for hotel division. This interpretation would not be challenged if the shipping division was registered as a separate company in India or as a separate branch abroad. Therefore it does not make any logical sense to challenge this view just because it is housed in one entity and is called a ‘division’ rather than a ‘branch’. Besides given the way the term branch is used in the Ind AS 21 context, the shipping division and hotel division should be evaluated separately for the purposes of determining the functional currency.

To state the entity’s Ind AS financial statements in the presentation currency, the results and financial position of its operations having different functional currencies will be included using the translation method set out in paragraph 38-43 of Ind AS 21. The entity shall translate: (a) assets and liabilities at the closing rate; (b) income and expenses at period average exchange rates; and all resulting exchange differences shall be recognised in other comprehensive income.

In view of the discussion and arguments provided above, the ITFG may reconsider its view on the above matter. In any case, the ITFG views are only recommendatory and are not binding.

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