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Analysis of Property, Plant and Equipment

Difficulty: Advanced


Property, Plant and Equipment Accounting Policy

Additions to property, plant and equipment are recorded at cost, including all material, labor and certain indirect costs associated with the construction of cable transmission and distribution facilities. While Charter's capitalization is based on specific activities, once capitalized, costs are tracked on a composite basis by fixed asset category at the cable system level and not on a specific asset basis. For assets that are sold or retired, the estimated historical cost and related accumulated depreciation is removed. Costs associated with the initial placement of the customer drop to the dwelling and the initial placement of outlets within a dwelling along with the costs associated with the initial deployment of customer premise equipment necessary to provide video, Internet or voice services are capitalized. Costs capitalized include materials, direct labor and certain indirect costs. Indirect costs are associated with the activities of Charter's personnel who assist in installation activities and consist of compensation and other costs associated with these support functions. Indirect costs primarily include employee benefits and payroll taxes, vehicle and occupancy costs, and the costs of sales and dispatch personnel associated with capitalizable activities. The costs of disconnecting service and removing customer premise equipment from a dwelling and the costs to reconnect a customer drop or to redeploy previously installed customer premise equipment are charged to operating expense as incurred. Costs for repairs and maintenance are charged to operating expense as incurred, while plant and equipment replacement, including replacement of certain components, betterments, including replacement of cable drops and outlets, are capitalized.

Depreciation is recorded using the straight-line composite method over management's estimate of the useful lives of the related assets as follows:

Cable distribution systems 8-20 years
Customer premise equipment and installations 3-8 years
Vehicles and equipment 4-9 years
Buildings and improvements 15-40 years
Furniture, fixtures and equipment 7-10 years

Source: Charter Communications Inc., Annual Report


Property, Plant and Equipment Disclosure

Charter Communications Inc., Statement of Financial Position, Property, Plant and Equipment

USD $ in millions

Microsoft Excel LibreOffice Calc
Dec 31, 2017 Dec 31, 2016 Dec 31, 2015 Dec 31, 2014 Dec 31, 2013
Cable distribution systems hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
Customer premise equipment and installations hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
Vehicles and equipment hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
Buildings and improvements hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
Furniture, fixtures and equipment hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
Property, plant and equipment, gross hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
Accumulated depreciation hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
Property, plant and equipment, net of accumulated depreciation hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden

Source: Based on data from Charter Communications Inc. Annual Reports

Item Description The company
Vehicles and equipment Carrying amount as of the balance sheet date of long-lived, depreciable asset used in production process to produce goods and services. Charter Communications Inc.'s vehicles and equipment increased from 2015 to 2016 and from 2016 to 2017.
Buildings and improvements Carrying amount as of the balance sheet date of long-lived, depreciable assets that include building structures held for productive use including any addition, improvement, or renovation to the structure, such as interior masonry, interior flooring, electrical, and plumbing. Charter Communications Inc.'s buildings and improvements increased from 2015 to 2016 and from 2016 to 2017.
Furniture, fixtures and equipment Carrying amount at the balance sheet date for long-lived, depreciable asset commonly used in offices and stores. Examples include desks, chairs, and store fixtures. Charter Communications Inc.'s furniture, fixtures and equipment increased from 2015 to 2016 and from 2016 to 2017.
Property, plant and equipment, gross Carrying amount at the balance sheet date for long-lived physical assets used in the normal conduct of business and not intended for resale. This can include land, physical structures, machinery, vehicles, furniture, computer equipment, construction in progress, and similar items. Amount does not include depreciation. Charter Communications Inc.'s property, plant and equipment, gross increased from 2015 to 2016 and from 2016 to 2017.
Property, plant and equipment, net of accumulated depreciation Tangible assets that are held by an entity for use in the production or supply of goods and services, for rental to others, or for administrative purposes and that are expected to provide economic benefit for more than one year; net of accumulated depreciation. Examples include land, buildings, and production equipment. Charter Communications Inc.'s property, plant and equipment, net of accumulated depreciation increased from 2015 to 2016 and from 2016 to 2017.

Property, Plant and Equipment Ratios (Summary)

Charter Communications Inc., Property, Plant and Equipment Ratios

Microsoft Excel LibreOffice Calc
Dec 31, 2017 Dec 31, 2016 Dec 31, 2015 Dec 31, 2014 Dec 31, 2013
Average age hidden% hidden% hidden% hidden% hidden%
Estimated total useful life (years) hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
Estimated age, time elapsed since purchase (years) hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
Estimated remaining life (years) hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
Ratio Description The company
Average age As long as straight-line depreciation is used, this is an accurate estimate of asset age as a percentage of depreciable life. The relative age is a useful measure of whether the company's fixed asset base is old or new. Newer assets are likely to be more efficient. Charter Communications Inc.'s average age of depreciable property, plant and equipment improved from 2015 to 2016 but then slightly deteriorated from 2016 to 2017 not reaching 2015 level.
Estimated total useful life Over longer time periods, this ratio is a useful measure of company's depreciation policy and can be used for comparisons with competitors. Charter Communications Inc.'s estimated total useful life of depreciable property, plant and equipment increased from 2015 to 2016 but then declined significantly from 2016 to 2017.
Estimated time elapsed since purchase The approximate age in years of a company's fixed assets. Useful for comparison purposes. Charter Communications Inc.'s estimated time elapsed since purchase of depreciable property, plant and equipment improved from 2015 to 2016 but then slightly deteriorated from 2016 to 2017.
Estimated remaining life Charter Communications Inc.'s estimated remaining life of depreciable property, plant and equipment increased from 2015 to 2016 but then declined significantly from 2016 to 2017.

Average Age

Microsoft Excel LibreOffice Calc
Dec 31, 2017 Dec 31, 2016 Dec 31, 2015 Dec 31, 2014 Dec 31, 2013
Selected Financial Data (USD $ in millions)
Accumulated depreciation hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
Property, plant and equipment, gross hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
Ratio
Average age1 hidden% hidden% hidden% hidden% hidden%

2017 Calculations

1 Average age = 100 × Accumulated depreciation ÷ Property, plant and equipment, gross
= 100 × hidden ÷ hidden = hidden%

Ratio Description The company
Average age As long as straight-line depreciation is used, this is an accurate estimate of asset age as a percentage of depreciable life. The relative age is a useful measure of whether the company's fixed asset base is old or new. Newer assets are likely to be more efficient. Charter Communications Inc.'s average age of depreciable property, plant and equipment improved from 2015 to 2016 but then slightly deteriorated from 2016 to 2017 not reaching 2015 level.

Estimated Total Useful Life

Microsoft Excel LibreOffice Calc
Dec 31, 2017 Dec 31, 2016 Dec 31, 2015 Dec 31, 2014 Dec 31, 2013
Selected Financial Data (USD $ in millions)
Property, plant and equipment, gross hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
Depreciation expense hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
Ratio
Estimated total useful life (years)1 hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden

2017 Calculations

1 Estimated total useful life (years) = Property, plant and equipment, gross ÷ Depreciation expense
= hidden ÷ hidden = hidden

Ratio Description The company
Estimated total useful life Over longer time periods, this ratio is a useful measure of company's depreciation policy and can be used for comparisons with competitors. Charter Communications Inc.'s estimated total useful life of depreciable property, plant and equipment increased from 2015 to 2016 but then declined significantly from 2016 to 2017.

Estimated Age, Time Elapsed Since Purchase

Microsoft Excel LibreOffice Calc
Dec 31, 2017 Dec 31, 2016 Dec 31, 2015 Dec 31, 2014 Dec 31, 2013
Selected Financial Data (USD $ in millions)
Accumulated depreciation hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
Depreciation expense hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
Ratio
Time elapsed since purchase (years)1 hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden

2017 Calculations

1 Time elapsed since purchase (years) = Accumulated depreciation ÷ Depreciation expense
= hidden ÷ hidden = hidden

Ratio Description The company
Estimated time elapsed since purchase The approximate age in years of a company's fixed assets. Useful for comparison purposes. Charter Communications Inc.'s estimated time elapsed since purchase of depreciable property, plant and equipment improved from 2015 to 2016 but then slightly deteriorated from 2016 to 2017.

Estimated Remaining Life

Microsoft Excel LibreOffice Calc
Dec 31, 2017 Dec 31, 2016 Dec 31, 2015 Dec 31, 2014 Dec 31, 2013
Selected Financial Data (USD $ in millions)
Property, plant and equipment, net of accumulated depreciation hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
Depreciation expense hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden
Ratio
Estimated remaining life (years)1 hidden hidden hidden hidden hidden

2017 Calculations

1 Estimated remaining life (years) = Property, plant and equipment, net of accumulated depreciation ÷ Depreciation expense
= hidden ÷ hidden = hidden

Ratio Description The company
Estimated remaining life Charter Communications Inc.'s estimated remaining life of depreciable property, plant and equipment increased from 2015 to 2016 but then declined significantly from 2016 to 2017.