SIGNIFICANT ACCOUNTING POLICIES
A. Use of Estimates – The preparation of the consolidated financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amount of assets and liabilities, recognition of distribution income and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
B. Leased Property – The Company includes assets subject to lease arrangements within Leased property, net of accumulated depreciation, in the Consolidated Balance Sheets. Lease payments received are reflected in Lease revenue on the Consolidated Statements of Income, net of amortization of any off-market adjustments. Costs in connection with the creation and execution of a lease are capitalized and amortized over the lease term. See Note 4 for further discussion.
C. Cash and Cash Equivalents – The Company maintains cash balances at financial institutions in amounts that regularly exceed FDIC insured limits. The Company’s cash equivalents are comprised of short-term, liquid money market instruments.
D. Long-Lived Assets – Property and equipment are stated at cost less accumulated depreciation. Depreciation is computed using the straight-line method over the estimated useful life of the asset. Expenditures for repairs and maintenance are charged to operations as incurred, and improvements, which extend the useful lives of assets, are capitalized and depreciated over the remaining estimated useful life of the asset.
The Company initially records long-lived assets at their purchase price plus any direct acquisition costs, unless the transaction is accounted for as a business combination. If the transaction is accounted for as a business combination, the Company allocates the purchase price to the acquired tangible and intangible assets and liabilities based on their estimated fair values. See Note 5 for further information.
E. Intangibles and Goodwill – The Company may acquire long-lived assets that are subject to an existing lease contract with the seller or other lessee party and the Company may assume outstanding debt of the seller as part of the consideration paid. If, at the time of acquisition, the existing lease or debt contract is not at current market terms, the Company will record an asset or liability at the time of acquisition representing the amount by which the fair value of the lease or debt contract differs from its contractual value. Such amount is then amortized over the remaining contract term as an adjustment to the related lease revenue or interest expense.
The Company periodically reviews its long-lived assets, primarily real estate and goodwill, for impairment whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of such assets may not be recoverable. The Company’s review involves comparing current and future operating performance of the assets, the most significant of which is undiscounted operating cash flows, to the carrying value of the assets. Based on this analysis, a provision for possible loss is recognized, if any.
In connection with the MoGas transaction, the Company recorded approximately $1.7 million in goodwill. Goodwill represents the excess of the purchase price paid over the estimated fair value of the net assets acquired. Refer Note 5 for further details of the acquisition. The company will review goodwill for impairment at least annually or whenever events or circumstances indicate the carrying value of an asset may not be recoverable. If the carrying amount of goodwill exceeds its implied fair value, an impairment loss would be recognized for the amount of the excess.
No impairment write-downs were recognized during the years ended December 31, 2014, December 31, 2013 or November 30, 2012, or for the one-month transition period ended December 31, 2012
F. Investment Securities – The Company’s investments in securities are classified as either trading or other equity securities:
Trading securities – The Company’s publicly traded equity securities were classified as trading securities and were historically reported at fair value. The Company liquidated its trading securities in order to acquire real asset investments. As of March 31, 2013, all trading securities had been sold.
Other equity securities – The Company’s other equity securities represent interests in private companies which the Company has elected to report at fair value under the fair value option.
Realized and unrealized gains and losses on trading securities and other equity securities – Changes in the fair values of the Company’s securities during the period reported and the gains or losses realized upon sale of securities during the period are reflected as other income or expense within the accompanying Consolidated Statements of Income.
G. Security Transactions and Fair Value – Security transactions are accounted for on the date the securities are purchased or sold (trade date). Realized gains and losses are reported on an identified cost basis.
For equity securities that are freely tradable and listed on a securities exchange or over-the-counter market, the Company values those securities at their last sale price on that exchange or over-the-counter market on the valuation date. If the security is listed on more than one exchange, the Company will use the price from the exchange that it considers to be the principal, which may not necessarily represent the last sale price. If there has been no sale on such exchange or over-the-counter market on such day, the security will be valued at the mean between the last bid price and last ask price on such day.
The Company also holds investments in illiquid securities including debt and equity securities of privately-held companies. These investments generally are subject to restrictions on resale, have no established trading market and are valued on a quarterly basis. Because of the inherent uncertainty of valuation, the fair values of such investments, which are determined in accordance with procedures approved by the Company’s Board of Directors, may differ materially from the values that would have been used had a ready market existed for the investments.
The Company determines fair value to be the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. The Company has determined the principal market, or the market in which the Company exits its private portfolio investments with the greatest volume and level of activity, to be the private secondary market. Typically, private companies are bought and sold based on multiples of EBITDA, cash flows, net income, revenues, or in limited cases, book value.
For private company investments, value is often realized through a liquidity event. Therefore, the value of the company as a whole (enterprise value) at the reporting date often provides the best evidence of the value of the investment and is the initial step for valuing the Company’s privately issued securities. For any one company, enterprise value may best be expressed as a range of fair values, from which a single estimate of fair value will be derived. In determining the enterprise value of a portfolio company, an analysis is prepared consisting of traditional valuation methodologies including market and income approaches. The Company considers some or all of the traditional valuation methods based on the individual circumstances of the portfolio company in order to derive its estimate of enterprise value.
The fair value of investments in private portfolio companies is determined based on various factors, including enterprise value, observable market transactions, such as recent offers to purchase a company, recent transactions involving the purchase or sale of the equity securities of the company, or other liquidation events. The determined equity values may be discounted when the Company has a minority position, or is subject to restrictions on resale, has specific concerns about the receptivity of the capital markets to a specific company at a certain time, or other comparable factors exist.
The Company undertakes a multi-step valuation process each quarter in connection with determining the fair value of private investments. We have retained an independent valuation firm to provide third party valuation consulting services based on procedures that the Company has identified and may ask them to perform from time to time on all or a selection of private investments as determined by the Company. The multi-step valuation process is specific to the level of assurance that the Company requests from the independent valuation firm. For positive assurance, the process is as follows:
The independent valuation firm prepares the valuations and the supporting analysis.
The valuation report is reviewed and approved by senior management.
The Audit Committee of the Board of Directors reviews the supporting analysis and accepts the valuations.
H. Financing Notes Receivable – Financing notes receivable are presented at face value plus accrued interest receivable and deferred loan origination costs and net of related direct loan origination fees. As of December 31, 2014 and 2013 , approximately $85 thousand and $0, respectively, of net deferred debt costs and fees are included in the accompanying Consolidated Balance Sheets. The deferred costs and fees are amortized over the life of the loans. For the years ended December 31, 2014, December 31, 2013, November 30, 2012, and the one-month transition period ended December 31, 2012, $1 thousand, $0, $0, and $0, respectively, is included in Financing Revenue within the Consolidated Statements of Income.
The Company reviews its financing notes receivable to determine if the balances are realizable based on factors affecting the collectibility of those balances. Factors may include credit quality, timeliness of required periodic payments, past due status and management discussions with obligors. The Company believes that its financing notes receivable balance is fully collectible as of December 31, 2014. At December 31, 2014 the Company determined that an allowance for financing notes receivable was not necessary. The financing notes receivable are discussed more fully in Note 6.
I. Lease Receivable – Lease receivables are determined according to the terms of the lease agreements entered into by the Company and its lessees, as discussed within Note 4. Lease payments by our tenants, have remained timely and without lapse.
J. Accounts Receivable – Accounts receivable are presented at face value net of an allowance for doubtful accounts. Accounts are considered past due based on the terms of sale with the customers. The Company reviews accounts for collectibility based on an analysis of specific outstanding receivables, current economic conditions and past collection experience. At December 31, 2014 and 2013, the Company determined that an allowance for doubtful accounts was not necessary.
K. Derivative Instruments and Hedging Activities - FASB ASC 815, Derivatives and Hedging (“ASC 815”), provides the disclosure requirements for derivatives and hedging activities with the intent to provide users of financial statements with an enhanced understanding of: (a) how and why an entity uses derivative instruments, (b) how the entity accounts for derivative instruments and related hedged items, and (c) how derivative instruments and related hedged items affect an entity's financial position, financial performance, and cash flows. Further, qualitative disclosures are required that explain the Company's objectives and strategies for using derivatives, as well as quantitative disclosures about the fair value of and gains and losses on derivative instruments, and disclosures about credit-risk-related contingent features in derivative instruments. Accordingly, the Company's derivative assets and liabilities are presented on a gross basis.
As required by ASC 815, the Company records all derivatives on the balance sheet at fair value. The accounting for changes in the fair value of derivatives depends on the intended use of the derivative, whether the Company has elected to designate a derivative in a hedging relationship and apply hedge accounting and whether the hedging relationship has satisfied the criteria necessary to apply hedge accounting. Derivatives designated and qualifying as a hedge of the exposure to changes in the fair value of an asset, liability, or firm commitment attributable to a particular risk, such as interest rate risk, are considered fair value hedges. Derivatives designated and qualifying as a hedge of the exposure to variability in expected future cash flows, or other types of forecasted transactions, are considered cash flow hedges. Derivatives may also be designated as hedges of the foreign currency exposure of a net investment in a foreign operation. Hedge accounting generally provides for the matching of the timing of gain or loss recognition on the hedging instrument with the recognition of the changes in the fair value of the hedged asset or liability that are attributable to the hedged risk in a fair value hedge or the earnings effect of the hedged forecasted transactions in a cash flow hedge. The Company may enter into derivative contracts that are intended to economically hedge certain of its risks, even though hedge accounting does not apply or the Company elects not to apply hedge accounting.
FASB ASC 820, Fair Value Measurements and Disclosure ("ASC 820"), defines fair value, establishes a framework for measuring fair value, and expands disclosures about fair value measurements. In accordance with ASC 820, the Company made an accounting policy election to measure the credit risk of its derivative financial instruments that are subject to master netting agreements on a net basis by counterparty portfolio.
L. Fair Value Measurements - Various inputs are used in determining the fair value of the Company’s assets and liabilities. These inputs are summarized in the three broad levels listed below:
Level 1 – quoted prices in active markets for identical investments
Level 2 – other significant observable inputs (including quoted prices for similar investments, market corroborated inputs, etc.)
Level 3 – significant unobservable inputs (including the Company’s own assumptions in determining the fair value of investments)
ASC 820 applies to reported balances that are required or permitted to be measured at fair value under existing accounting pronouncements; accordingly, the standard does not require any new fair value measurements of reported balances. ASC 820 emphasizes that fair value is a market-based measurement, not an entity-specific measurement. Therefore, a fair value measurement should be determined based on the assumptions that market participants would use in pricing the asset or liability. As a basis for considering market participant assumptions in fair value measurements, ASC 820 establishes a fair value hierarchy that distinguishes between market participant assumptions based on market data obtained from sources independent of the reporting entity (observable inputs that are classified within Levels 1 and 2 of the hierarchy) and the reporting entity's own assumptions about market participant assumptions (unobservable inputs classified within Level 3 of the hierarchy).
Level 1 inputs utilize quoted prices (unadjusted) in active markets for identical assets or liabilities that the Company has the ability to access. Level 2 inputs are inputs other than quoted prices included in Level 1 that are observable for the asset or liability, either directly or indirectly. Level 2 inputs may include quoted prices for similar assets and liabilities in active markets, as well as inputs that are observable for the asset or liability (other than quoted prices), such as interest rates, foreign exchange rates, and yield curves that are observable at commonly quoted intervals. Level 3 inputs are unobservable inputs for the asset or liability, which are typically based on an entity's own assumptions, as there is little, if any, related market activity. In instances where the determination of the fair value measurement is based on inputs from different levels of the fair value hierarchy, the level in the fair value hierarchy within which the entire fair value measurement falls is based on the lowest level input that is significant to the fair value measurement in its entirety. The Company's assessment of the significance of a particular input to the fair value measurement in its entirety requires judgment, and considers factors specific to the asset or liability.
M. Revenue Recognition – Specific recognition policies for the Company’s revenue items are as follows:
Lease revenue – Base rent related to the Company’s leased property is recognized on a straight-line basis over the term of the lease when collectibility is reasonably assured. Contingent rent is recognized when it is earned. Rental payments received in advance are classified as unearned revenue and included as a liability within the Consolidated Balance Sheets. Unearned revenue is amortized ratably over the lease period as revenue recognition criteria are met. Rental payments received in arrears are accrued and classified as Lease Receivable and included in assets within the Consolidated Balance Sheets.
Sales revenue – Revenues related to natural gas distribution and performance of management services are recognized in accordance with GAAP upon delivery of natural gas and upon the substantial performance of management and supervision services related to the expansion of the natural gas distribution system. Omega, acting as a principal, provides for transportation services and natural gas supply for its customers. In addition, Omega is paid fees for the operation and maintenance of its natural gas distribution system, including any necessary expansion of the distribution system. Omega is responsible for the coordination, supervision and quality of the expansions while actual construction is generally performed by third party contractors. Revenues from expansion efforts are recognized in accordance with GAAP using either a completed contract or percentage of completion method based on the level and volume of estimates utilized, as well as the certainty or uncertainty of our ability to collect those revenues.
Transportation revenue – MoGas generates revenue from natural gas transportation and recognizes that revenue on firm contracted capacity over the contract period regardless of the amount of natural gas that is transported. For interruptible or volumetric based transportation, revenue is recognized when physical deliveries of natural gas are made at the delivery point agreed upon by both by both parties.
Financing revenue – Our financing notes receivable are considered a core product offering and therefore the related income is presented as a component of operating income in the revenue section. For increasing rate loans, base interest income is recorded ratably over the life of the loan, using the effective interest rate. The net amount of deferred loan origination fees and costs are amortized on a straight-line basis over the life of the loan and reported as an adjustment to yield in financing revenue. Participating financing revenues are recorded when specific performance criteria have been met.
N. Cost of Sales – Included in the Company’s cost of sales are the amounts paid for gas and propane, along with related transportation, which are delivered to customers, as well as, the cost of material and labor related to the expansion of the Omega natural gas distribution system.
O. Transportation, maintenance and general and administrative – These expenses are incurred both internally and externally. The internal expenses relate to system control, pipeline operations, maintenance, insurance and taxes. Other internal expenses include payroll cost for employees associated with gas control, field employees, the office manager and the vice presidents of operations and finance. The external costs consist of professional services such as audit and accounting, legal and regulatory and engineering.
P. Asset Acquisition Expenses – Costs incurred in connection with the research of real property acquisitions not expected to be accounted for as business combinations are expensed until it is determined that the acquisition of the real property is probable. Upon such determination, costs incurred in connection with the acquisition of the property are capitalized as described in paragraph (D) above. Deferred costs related to an acquisition that we have determined, based on our judgment, not to pursue are expensed in the period in which such determination is made.
Q. Offering Costs – Offering costs related to the issuance of common stock are charged to additional paid-in capital when the stock is issued.
R. Debt Issuance Costs – Costs incurred for the issuance of new debt are capitalized and amortized over the debt term. See Note 14 for further discussion.
S. Distributions to Stockholders – Distributions to stockholders are determined by the Board of Directors and are recorded on the ex-dividend date.
T. Other Income Recognition – Specific policies for the Company’s other income items are as follows:
Securities Transactions and Investment Income Recognition – Securities transactions are accounted for on the date the securities are purchased or sold (trade date). Realized gains and losses are reported on an identified cost basis. Distributions received from our equity investments are generally comprised of ordinary income, capital gains and distributions received from investment securities from the portfolio company. The Company records investment income and return of capital based on estimates made at the time such distributions are received. Such estimates are based on information available from each portfolio company and other industry sources. These estimates may subsequently be revised based on information received from the portfolio companies after their tax reporting periods are concluded, as the actual character of these distributions are not known until after our fiscal year end.
Subsequent to November 30, 2012, the Company reallocated the amount of 2012 income and return of capital it recognized for the period December 1, 2011 to November 30, 2012 based on the 2012 tax reporting information received from the individual portfolio companies. This reclassification amounted to an increase in net distributions and dividend income on securities of $567 thousand or $0.06 per share; a decrease in net realized and unrealized gains on trading and other equity securities of $567 thousand or $0.06 per share for the year ended November 30, 2012. This reclassification had no impact on net income.
Subsequent to December 31, 2013, the Company reallocated the amount of 2013 income and return of capital it recognized for the period January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013 based on the 2013 tax reporting information received from the individual portfolio companies. This reclassification amounted to an increase in net distributions and dividend income on securities of $863 thousand or $0.04 per share; a decrease in net realized and unrealized gains on other equity securities of $863 thousand or $0.04 per share for the year ended December 31, 2013. This reclassification had no impact on net income.
Dividends and distributions from investments – Dividends and distributions from investments are recorded on their ex-dates and are reflected as other income within the accompanying Consolidated Statements of Income. Distributions received from the Company’s investments are generally characterized as ordinary income, capital gains and distributions received from investment securities. The portion characterized as return of capital is paid by our investees from their cash flow from operations. The Company records investment income, capital gains and distributions received from investment securities based on estimates made at the time such distributions are received. Such estimates are based on information available from each company and other industry sources. These estimates may subsequently be revised based on information received from the entities after their tax reporting periods are concluded, as the actual character of these distributions is not known until after the fiscal year end of the Company.
U. Federal and State Income Taxation – In 2013 we qualified, and in March 2014 elected (effective as of January 1, 2013), to be treated as a REIT for federal income tax purposes. Because certain of our assets may not produce REIT-qualifying income or be treated as interests in real property, those assets are held in wholly-owned Taxable REIT Subsidiaries ("TRSs") in order to limit the potential that such assets and income could prevent us from qualifying as a REIT.
For years ended in 2012 and before, the distributions we made to our stockholders from our earnings and profits were treated as qualified dividend income ("QDI") and return of capital. QDI is taxed to our individual shareholders at the maximum rate for long-term capital gains, which through tax year 2012 was 15 percent and beginning in tax year 2013 will be 20 percent. The Company has elected to be taxed as a REIT for 2013 rather than a C corporation and generally will not pay federal income tax on taxable income of the REIT that is distributed to our stockholders. As a REIT, our distributions from earnings and profits will be treated as ordinary income and a return of capital, and generally will not qualify as QDI. To the extent that the REIT had accumulated C corporation earnings and profits from the periods prior to 2013, we distributed such earnings and profits in 2013. A portion of our normal distributions in 2013 have been characterized for federal income tax purposes as a distribution of those earnings and profits from non-REIT years and have been treated as QDI. In addition, to the extent we receive taxable distributions from our TRSs, or the REIT received distributions of C corporation earnings and profits, such portion of our distribution will be treated as QDI.
As a REIT, the Company holds and operates certain of our assets through one or more wholly-owned TRSs. Our use of TRSs enables us to continue to engage in certain businesses while complying with REIT qualification requirements and also allows us to retain income generated by these businesses for reinvestment without the requirement of distributing those earnings. In the future, we may elect to reorganize and transfer certain assets or operations from our TRSs to the Company or other subsidiaries, including qualified REIT subsidiaries.
The Company's trading securities and other equity securities are limited partnerships or limited liability companies which are treated as partnerships for federal and state income tax purposes. As a limited partner, the Company reports its allocable share of taxable income in computing its own taxable income. To the extent held by a TRS, the TRS's tax expense or benefit is included in the Consolidated Statements of Income based on the component of income or gains and losses to which such expense or benefit relates. Deferred income taxes reflect the net tax effects of temporary differences between the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities for financial reporting purposes and the amounts used for income tax purposes. A valuation allowance is recognized if, based on the weight of available evidence, it is more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred income tax asset will not be realized.
If we cease to qualify as a REIT, the Company, as a C corporation, would be obligated to pay federal and state income tax on its taxable income. Currently, the highest regular marginal federal income tax rate for a corporation is 35 percent. The Company may be subject to a 20 percent federal alternative minimum tax on its federal alternative minimum taxable income to the extent that its alternative minimum tax exceeds its regular federal income tax.
V. Recent Accounting Pronouncements – In August 2014, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (“FASB”) issued Accounting Standards Update (“ASU”) No. 2014-15, Disclosure of Uncertainties about an Entity’s Ability to Continue as a Going Concern (“ASU No. 2014-15”) that will require management to evaluate whether there are conditions and events that raise substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern within one year after the financial statements are issued on both an interim and annual basis. Management will be required to provide certain footnote disclosures if it concludes that substantial doubt exists or when its plans alleviate substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern. ASU No. 2014-15 becomes effective for annual periods beginning in 2016 and for interim reporting periods starting in the first quarter of 2017. The Company does not expect the adoption of this amendment to have a material impact on its consolidated financial statements.
In May 2014, the FASB issued ASU No. 2014-09 "Revenue from Contracts with Customers." ASU No. 2014-09 adds to the FASB ASC by detailing new guidance in order to make a more clarified set of principles for recognizing revenue from customer contracts. ASU No. 2014-09 is effective for annual reporting periods beginning after December 15, 2016, including interim periods within that reporting period. Management is still in the process of evaluating this amendment and has not selected a transition method, however, does not expect adoption to have a material impact on the Company's consolidated financial statements.
In April 2014, the FASB issued ASU 2014-08 "Presentation of Financial Statements (Topic 205) and Property, Plant, and Equipment (Topic 360): Reporting Discontinued Operations and Disclosures of Disposals of Components of an Entity." Under this guidance, only disposals representing a strategic shift in operations would be presented as discontinued operations. This guidance requires expanded disclosure that provides information about the assets, liabilities, income and expenses of discontinued operations. Additionally, the guidance requires additional disclosure for a disposal of a significant part of an entity that does not qualify for discontinued operations reporting. This guidance will be effective for reporting periods beginning on or after December 15, 2014 with early adoption permitted for disposals or classifications of assets as held-for-sale that have not been reported in financial statements previously issued or available for issuance. It is expected that fewer disposal transactions will meet the new criteria to be reported as discontinued operations. The Company has elected early adoption of the standard and the effects of applying the revised guidance did not have a material effect on the consolidated financial statements and related disclosures. Refer to the Consolidated Balance Sheets and Note 3 for further information.
In July 2013, the FASB issued ASU No. 2013-11 "Presentation of an Unrecognized Tax Benefit When a Net Operating Loss Carryforward, a Similar Tax Loss, or a Tax Credit Carryforward Exists." ASU No. 2013-11 amends FASB ASC Topic 740 Income taxes, to include explicit guidance on the financial statement presentation of an unrecognized tax benefit when a net operating loss carryforward, a similar tax loss, or a tax credit carryforward exists. ASU No. 2013-11 is effective for fiscal years, and interim periods within those years, beginning after December 15, 2013. Management has adopted this amendment and it did not have a material impact on the Company's consolidated financial statements.