Undisclosed intangible assets

BIOXPARC ‘Undisclosed intangible assets’ (NFI=Non Financial Indicator)

‘Undisclosed intangible assets’, are often more valuable than the disclosed intangibles. The category includes ‘internally generated goodwill’, and it accounts for the difference between the fair market value of a business and the value of its identifiable tangible and intangible assets.

Although not an intangible asset in a strict sense — that is, a controlled ‘resource’ expected to provide future economic benefits— this residual goodwill value is treated as an intangible asset in a business combination on the acquiring company’s balance sheet. Current accounting practice does not allow for internally generated intangible assets to be disclosed on a balance sheet. Under current IFRS only the value of acquired intangible assets can be recognised.

In accounting terms, an asset is defined as a resource that is controlled by the entity in question and which is expected to provide future economic benefits to it. The International Accounting Standards Board’s definition of an intangible asset requires it to be non-monetary, without physical substance and ‘identifiable’.

In order to be ‘identifiable’ it must either be separable (capable of being separated from the entity and sold, transferred or licensed) or it must arise from contractual or legal rights (irrespective of whether those rights are themselves ‘separable’). Therefore, until now, intangible assets that may be recognised on a balance sheet under IFRS are only a fraction of what are often considered to be ‘intangible assets’ in a broader sense.