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2011 Annual Report

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Management's Discussion and Analysis
of Results of Operations and Financial Condition


Our Consolidated Financial Statements include the accounts of RPM International Inc. and its majority-owned subsidiaries, except for certain subsidiaries that were deconsolidated on May 31, 2010 (please refer to Note A(2) to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further information). Preparation of our financial statements requires the use of estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of our assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the reporting period. We continually evaluate these estimates, including those related to our allowances for doubtful accounts; inventories; allowances for recoverable taxes; useful lives of property, plant and equipment; goodwill and other intangible assets; environmental, warranties and other contingent liabilities; income tax valuation allowances; pension plans; and the fair value of financial instruments. We base our estimates on historical experience, our most recent facts, and other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. These estimates form the basis for making judgments about the carrying values of our assets and liabilities. Actual results, which are shaped by actual market conditions, may differ materially from our estimates.

We have identified below the accounting policies and estimates that are the most critical to our financial statements.

Revenue Recognition

Revenues are recognized when realized or realizable, and when earned. In general, this is when title and risk of loss pass to the customer. Further, revenues are realizable when we have persuasive evidence of a sales arrangement, the product has been shipped or the services have been provided to the customer, the sales price is fixed or determinable and collectibility is reasonably assured. We reduce our revenues for estimated customer returns and allowances, certain rebates, sales incentives and promotions in the same period the related sales are recorded.

We also record revenues generated under long-term construction contracts, mainly in connection with the installation of specialized roofing and flooring systems, and related services. In general, we account for long-term construction contracts under the percentage-of-completion method, and therefore record contract revenues and related costs as our contracts progress. This method recognizes the economic results of contract performance on a timelier basis than does the completed-contract method; however, application of this method requires reasonably dependable estimates of progress toward completion, as well as other dependable estimates. When reasonably dependable estimates cannot be made, or if other factors make estimates doubtful, the completed-contract method is applied. Under the completed-contract method, billings and costs are accumulated on the balance sheet as the contract progresses, but no revenue is recognized until the contract is complete or substantially complete.

Translation of Foreign Currency Financial Statements and Foreign Currency Transactions

Our reporting currency is the U.S. dollar. However, the functional currency for each of our foreign subsidiaries is its local currency. We translate the amounts included in our Consolidated Statements of Income from our foreign subsidiaries into U.S. dollars at weighted-average exchange rates, which we believe are representative of the actual exchange rates on the dates of the transactions. Our foreign subsidiariesí assets and liabilities are translated into U.S. dollars from local currency at the actual exchange rates as of the end of each reporting date, and we record the resulting foreign exchange translation adjustments in our Consolidated Balance Sheets as a component of accumulated other comprehensive income (loss). If the U.S. dollar strengthens, we reflect the resulting losses as a component of accumulated other comprehensive income (loss). Conversely, if the U.S. dollar weakens, foreign exchange translation gains result, which favorably impact accumulated other comprehensive income. Translation adjustments will be included in net earnings in the event of a sale or liquidation of any of our underlying foreign investments, or in the event that we distribute the accumulated earnings of consolidated foreign subsidiaries. If we determine that the functional currency of any of our foreign subsidiaries should be the U.S. dollar, our financial statements will be affected. Should this occur, we will adjust our reporting to appropriately account for any such changes.

As appropriate, we use permanently invested intercompany loans as a source of capital to reduce exposure to foreign currency fluctuations at our foreign subsidiaries. These loans, on a consolidated basis, are treated as being analogous to equity for accounting purposes. Therefore, foreign exchange gains or losses on these intercompany loans are recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss). If we determine that the functional currency of any of our subsidiaries should be the U.S. dollar, we will no longer record foreign exchange gains or losses on such intercompany loans.


We test our goodwill balances at least annually, or more frequently as impairment indicators arise, using a fair-value approach at the reporting unit level. Our reporting units have been identified at the component level, which is the operating segment level or one level below our operating segments. We perform a two-step impairment test. In the first step, we compare the fair value of each of our reporting units to its carrying value. We have elected to perform our annual required impairment tests, which involve the use of estimates related to the fair market values of the reporting units with which goodwill is associated, during our fourth fiscal quarter. Calculating the fair market values of reporting units requires our use of estimates and assumptions.

We use significant judgment in determining the most appropriate method to establish the fair values of each of our reporting units. We estimate the fair values of each of our reporting units by employing various valuation techniques, depending on the availability and reliability of comparable market value indicators, and employ methods and assumptions that include the application of third-party market value indicators and the computation of discounted future cash flows for each of our reporting unitís annual projected earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (ďEBITDAĒ). For each of our reporting units, we calculate a break-even multiple based on its carrying value as of the testing date. We then compare each reporting unitís break-even EBITDA market multiple to guideline EBITDA market multiples applicable to our industry and peer group, the data for which we develop internally and through third-party sources. The result of this analysis provides us with insight and sensitivity as to which reporting units, if any, may have a higher risk for a potential impairment.

We then supplement this analysis with an evaluation of discounted future cash flows for each reporting unitís projected EBITDA. Under this approach, we calculate the fair value of each reporting unit based on the present value of estimated future cash flows. If the fair value of the reporting unit exceeds the carrying value of the net assets of the reporting unit, goodwill is not impaired. An indication that goodwill may be impaired results when the carrying value of the net assets of a reporting unit exceeds the fair value of the reporting unit. At that point, the second step of the impairment test is performed, which requires a fair value estimate of each tangible and intangible asset in order to determine the implied fair value of the reporting unitís goodwill. If the carrying value of a reporting unitís goodwill exceeds its implied fair value, then we record an impairment loss equal to the difference.

In applying the discounted cash flow methodology, we rely on a number of factors, including future business plans, actual and forecasted operating results, and market data. The significant assumptions employed under this method include discount rates; revenue growth rates, including assumed terminal growth rates; and operating margins used to project future cash flows for each reporting unit. The discount rates utilized reflect market-based estimates of capital costs and discount rates adjusted for managementís assessment of a market participantís view with respect to other risks associated with the projected cash flows of the individual reporting units. Our estimates are based upon assumptions we believe to be reasonable, but which by nature are uncertain and unpredictable. We believe we incorporate ample sensitivity ranges into our analysis of goodwill impairment testing for each reporting unit, such that actual experience would need to be materially out of the range of expected assumptions in order for an impairment to remain undetected.

Our annual goodwill impairment analysis for fiscal 2011 did not result in any impairment loss. The excess of fair value over carrying value for reporting units as of March 1, 2011, ranged from approximately $0.7 million to $910.2 million. In order to evaluate the sensitivity of the fair value calculations of our goodwill impairment test, we applied a hypothetical 5% decrease to the fair values of each reporting unit. This hypothetical 5% decrease would result in excess fair value over carrying value ranging from approximately $0.6 million to $854.7 million for our reporting units. Further, we compare the sum of the fair values of our reporting units resulting from our discounted cash flow calculations to our market capitalization as of our valuation date. We use this comparison to further assess the reasonableness of the assumptions employed in our valuation calculations. As of the valuation date, the sum of the fair values we calculated for our reporting units was approximately 2.9% above our market capitalization.

Should the future earnings and cash flows at our reporting units decline and/or discount rates increase, future impairment charges to goodwill and other intangible assets may be required.

Other Long-Lived Assets

We assess identifiable, non-goodwill intangibles and other long-lived assets for impairment whenever events or changes in facts and circumstances indicate the possibility that the carrying values of these assets may not be recoverable over their estimated remaining useful lives. Factors considered important in our assessment, which might trigger an impairment evaluation, include the following:

  • significant under-performance relative to historical or projected future operating results;
  • significant changes in the manner of our use of the acquired assets;
  • significant changes in the strategy for our overall business; and
  • significant negative industry or economic trends.

Additionally, we test all indefinite-lived intangible assets for impairment at least annually during our fiscal fourth quarter. Measuring a potential impairment of non-goodwill intangibles and other long-lived assets requires the use of various estimates and assumptions, including the determination of which cash flows are directly related to the assets being evaluated, the respective useful lives over which those cash flows will occur and potential residual values, if any. If we determine that the carrying values of these assets may not be recoverable based upon the existence of one or more of the above-described indicators or other factors, any impairment amounts would be measured based on the projected net cash flows expected from these assets, including any net cash flows related to eventual disposition activities. The determination of any impairment losses would be based on the best information available, including internal estimates of discounted cash flows; quoted market prices, when available; and independent appraisals, as appropriate, to determine fair values. Cash flow estimates would be based on our historical experience and our internal business plans, with appropriate discount rates applied. Our fiscal 2011 annual impairment tests of each of our indefinite-lived intangible assets did not result in any impairment loss.

Income Taxes

Our provision for income taxes is calculated using the liability method, which requires the recognition of deferred income taxes. Deferred income taxes reflect the net tax effect of temporary differences between the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities for financial reporting purposes and the amounts used for income tax purposes and certain changes in valuation allowances. We provide valuation allowances against deferred tax assets if, based on available evidence, it is more likely than not that some portion or all of the deferred tax assets will not be realized.

In determining the adequacy of valuation allowances, we consider cumulative and anticipated amounts of domestic and international earnings or losses, anticipated amounts of foreign source income, as well as the anticipated taxable income resulting from the reversal of future taxable temporary differences. We intend to maintain any recorded valuation allowances until sufficient positive evidence (for example, cumulative positive foreign earnings or additional foreign source income) exists to support a reversal of the tax valuation allowances.

Further, at each interim reporting period, we estimate an effective income tax rate that is expected to be applicable for the full year. Significant judgment is involved regarding the application of global income tax laws and regulations and when projecting the jurisdictional mix of income. Additionally, interpretation of tax laws, court decisions or other guidance provided by taxing authorities influences our estimate of the effective income tax rates. As a result, our actual effective income tax rates and related income tax liabilities may differ materially from our estimated effective tax rates and related income tax liabilities. Any resulting differences are recorded in the period they become known.


We are party to claims and lawsuits arising in the normal course of business. Although we cannot precisely predict the amount of any liability that may ultimately arise with respect to any of these matters, we record provisions when we consider the liability probable and reasonably estimable. Our provisions are based on historical experience and legal advice, reviewed quarterly and adjusted according to developments. Estimating probable losses requires the analysis of multiple forecasted factors that often depend on judgments about potential actions by third parties, such as regulators, courts, and state and federal legislatures. Changes in the amounts of our loss provisions, which can be material, affect our Consolidated Statements of Income. Due to the inherent uncertainties in the process undertaken to estimate potential losses, we are unable to estimate an additional range of loss in excess of our accruals. While it is reasonably possible that such excess liabilities, if they were to occur, could be material to operating results in any given quarter or year of their recognition, we do not believe that it is reasonably possible that such excess liabilities would have a material adverse effect on our long-term results of operations, liquidity or consolidated financial position.

Our environmental-related accruals are similarly established and/or adjusted as more information becomes available upon which costs can be reasonably estimated. Actual costs may vary from these estimates because of the inherent uncertainties involved, including the identification of new sites and the development of new information about contamination. Certain sites are still being investigated; therefore, we have been unable to fully evaluate the ultimate costs for those sites. As a result, accruals have not been estimated for certain of these sites and costs may ultimately exceed existing estimated accruals for other sites. We have received indemnities for potential environmental issues from purchasers of certain of our properties and businesses and from sellers of some of the properties or businesses we have acquired. We also have purchased insurance to cover potential environmental liabilities at certain sites. If the indemnifying or insuring party fails to, or becomes unable to, fulfill its obligations under those agreements or policies, we may incur environmental costs in addition to any amounts accrued, which may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations or cash flows.

Several of our industrial businesses offer extended warranty terms and related programs, and thus have established a corresponding warranty liability. Warranty expense is impacted by variations in local construction practices and installation conditions, including geographic and climate differences.

Additionally, our operations are subject to various federal, state, local and foreign tax laws and regulations that govern, among other things, taxes on worldwide income. The calculation of our income tax expense is based on the best information available and involves our significant judgment. The actual income tax liability for each jurisdiction in any year can ultimately be determined, in some instances, several years after the financial statements have been published.

We maintain accruals for estimated income tax exposures for many different jurisdictions. Tax exposures are settled primarily through the resolution of audits within each tax jurisdiction or the closing of a statute of limitation. Tax exposures can also be affected by changes in applicable tax laws or other factors, which may cause us to believe a revision of past estimates is appropriate. We believe that appropriate liabilities have been recorded for income tax exposures; however, actual results may differ materially from our estimates.

Allowance for Doubtful Accounts Receivable

An allowance for anticipated uncollectible trade receivable amounts is established using a combination of specifically identified accounts to be reserved and a reserve covering trends in collectibility. These estimates are based on an analysis of trends in collectibility, past experience and individual account balances identified as doubtful based on specific facts and conditions. Receivable losses are charged against the allowance when we confirm uncollectibility. Actual collections of trade receivables could differ from our estimates due to changes in future economic or industry conditions or specific customerís financial conditions.


Inventories are stated at the lower of cost or market, cost being determined on a first-in, first-out (FIFO) basis and market being determined on the basis of replacement cost or net realizable value. Inventory costs include raw materials, labor and manufacturing overhead. We review the net realizable value of our inventory in detail on an on-going basis, with consideration given to various factors, which include our estimated reserves for excess, obsolete, slow moving or distressed inventories. If actual market conditions differ from our projections, and our estimates prove to be inaccurate, write-downs of inventory values and adjustments to cost of sales may be required. Historically, our inventory reserves have approximated actual experience.

Marketable Securities

Marketable securities, included in other current and longterm assets, are composed of available-for-sale securities and are reported at fair value. Realized gains and losses on sales of investments are recognized in net income on the specific identification basis. Changes in fair values of securities that are considered temporary are recorded as unrealized gains and losses, net of applicable taxes, in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) within stockholdersí equity. Other-than-temporary declines in market value from original cost are reflected in operating income in the period in which the unrealized losses are deemed other than temporary. In order to determine whether an other-than-temporary decline in market value has occurred, the duration of the decline in value and our ability to hold the investment to recovery are considered in conjunction with an evaluation of the strength of the underlying collateral and the extent to which the investmentís amortized cost or cost, as appropriate, exceeds its related market value.

Pension and Postretirement Plans

We sponsor qualified defined benefit pension plans and various other nonqualified postretirement plans. The qualified defined benefit pension plans are funded with trust assets invested in a diversified portfolio of debt and equity securities and other investments. Among other factors, changes in interest rates, investment returns and the market value of plan assets can (i) affect the level of plan funding, (ii) cause volatility in the net periodic pension cost, and (iii) increase our future contribution requirements. A significant decrease in investment returns or the market value of plan assets or a significant decrease in interest rates could increase our net periodic pension costs and adversely affect our results of operations. A significant increase in our contribution requirements with respect to our qualified defined benefit pension plans could have an adverse impact on our cash flow.

Changes in our key plan assumptions would impact net periodic benefit expense and the projected benefit obligation for our defined benefit and various postretirement benefit plans. Based upon May 31, 2011 information, the following tables reflect the impact of a 1% change in the key assumptions applied to our defined benefit pension plans in the U.S. and internationally: