Volume 5, No. 9

 

Reviewing Restructurings: What The Disclosures Show:  The rash of restructurings in Corporate America in the last decade has been a tonic for the stock market - and the bane of analysts trying to determine a given company's earning power. Late in 1994, the Emerging Issues Task Force of the Financial Accounting Standards Board reached a consensus on how the liabilities relating to such actions should be treated. Surprisingly, no guidance in this area had ever existed before. The treatment demanded by "Issue No. 94-3" provided new disclosures for analysts to use in assessing the effects of restructuring liabilities upon current earnings. A study of the disclosures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average companies shows that their total 1995 earnings would have been 4% lower if firms weren't able to pass expenses through these liabilities. While it may not sound like much, that boost relates to only nine firms in the whole group of thirty. Individually, the effects were much greater. Complicating matters: some companies did not offer sufficient disclosure to make such estimates.

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