Terms Beginning With 'f'

Force Majeure

  • January 09, 2021
  • Team Kalkine

What is Force Majeure?

“Force Majeure” is originated from a French word which implies “Superior Force” and is usually employed in English in its original type.

In the business context, Force Majeure is described as an unavoidable situation, which has risen due to any uncontrollable event, not led by any of the parties resulting in non-execution of a regular business, as per the agreement terms.

A Force Majeure provision in an agreement, permitting a party bounded in the agreement, to suspend or end the accomplishment of its commitments when certain conditions beyond its control have arisen, making the execution impracticable. The provision states that the agreement is automatically suspended on a temporary basis. Typical enforcement of the Force Majeure provision in a contract may take place in the events like any natural calamity, an act of government action, or any other inevitable situation, prohibiting any of the parties for the execution of the terms of the contract.

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Why is Force Majeure Important?

An organisation can incorporate a Force Majeure clause into a contract or an agreement to make parties free from any liability, if any of or both of them, fail to fulfil the terms and conditions of the signed contract or agreement.

Consequences of calling Force Majeure:

In most of the cases after claiming Force Majeure, it has been observed that the contract gets suspended or terminated. However, it mainly depends on the terms of the agreement. Sometimes, a party can also face compensation or negotiation.

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Suspension:

This is the most common consequence observed after the enforcement of a Force Majeure provision. On application, the rights and obligations of both parties get "Suspended" until the event lasts. This provides an extra relaxed time to the affected party to cope up until the effect of an unfavourable situation lasts, and has an impact, on the performance of the affected party.

Termination:

Depending on the terms of the contract, automatic termination of the deal after a stipulated span of time, may take place as a consequence of claiming Force Majeure provision. The parties must comply with the terms of termination.

Compensation:

In more extraordinary cases, the agreement will permit the affected party to guarantee a budgetary pay from the non-affected party for costs related with the Force Majeure provision. The claimed price by the claimant is not easy to recover due to the prevailing economic condition.

Negotiation:

The final and the most challenging alternative for the parties to opt is to negotiate and amend the terms of the contract.

Conditions where Force Majeure is not applicable:

Force Majeure isn't expected to pardon carelessness or other misbehaviour of a party, as where non-execution of the contract is brought by the common results of external reasons, or where the agreement has become monetarily or economically non-viable. To claim the provision of Force Majeure, the party must prove that it has taken all necessary measures to mitigate the condition. These measures can be commercial or financial.

Understanding Force Majeure through an example:

Let's try to understand the provision of Force Majeure through a realistic example. Suppose a shoemaking firm wants to export the goods to a customer who lives in XYZ country, and due to some terrorist attack there, all the transportation network is shut. So, the firm will not be able to deliver the goods in the stipulated timeframe, as was stated in the contract. The terrorist attack was an unforeseeable event. The shoe manufacturing firm didn’t expect it, and there is nothing it can do about it, i.e., it’s beyond the control of the firm. In this case, the firm is not liable for the late delivery of goods. If the importer in XYZ country claims for the late delivery, the shoe manufacturing firm can claim a Force Majeure provision and negotiate the time limit.

What if there is no Force Majeure clause in the contract?

If the contract lacks a Force Majeure clause, the affected party may have to face a lot of challenges like:

Breach of Contract:

Each party is expected to get benefitted from the binding contract, but if, due to any reason caused by Force Majeure event, any of the parties doesn't receive the benefit, is entitled to recover compensation for their loss in damage.

Termination of Contract:

Breach of Contract will lead to the termination of contract. Neither of the parties will be required to perform the contractual obligations. The affected party may sue other parties for a damage claim and monetary compensation.

The Frustration of Contract:

The frustration of contract is a condition when either or both the parties are unable to perform as per the binding contract terms. A supervening event occurred in-between and changed the circumstances to make the contract non-executable.

What is the Dark Web?  The dark web is one such portion of the World Wide Web which is not accessible by regular search engines. The dark web is considered a hotbed for criminal activities, and it is much more than that. Various websites exist on an encrypted network inside the dark web. Standard web browsers and programs cannot find these websites. Once inside the dark web, different sites and pages can be accessed like one does on the web. Scientists believe that the internet we see is only 4% of the entire ocean of the web, meaning the 96% consists of the "Deep and Dark Web".  The user interface used in the dark web is usually internet-based, but it utilises special software which is not part of the standard ones. There are dozens of web browsers to surf the internet, but they all work in the same way. These standard browsers use ports and protocols to request, transfer and view data on the Internet. The website you access may look familiar, but as you enter, it may be illegal or something familiar but otherwise not monitored by anyone else. Therefore, the deep web and the dark web are famous for being anonymous. Also read: Cyber Espionage Campaign: Strings that tie China, Australia and the US How to access dark web browser? In order to access a few areas which are restricted, the user may need a password and a process to follow. A special software called TOR (The Onion Router) or the Freenet has these non-standard connections. These browsers are unlike standard internet browsers and have a process to access. They allow the users to browse around the dark web and are focused on keeping the user identity anonymous. If hacked or accessed, the regular web browser can easily provide user information such as who the user is and whereabouts. Though the dark web is providing 100% anonymity, federal agencies have been successful in tracking down criminal activities on the dark web. It is often said that the person you are talking to on the dark web could either be an FBI agent or a criminal. Image: Kalkine   What happens inside the world of the dark web?  The dark web is famous for allowing sinister activities, but many users go on the dark web to access information which otherwise may not be accessible on standard internet. Such as users from extremely oppressive governments who cut access to the world for their citizens. Unfortunately, such confidential environments also provide open platforms to criminals, terrorists and other such individuals involved in illegal activities.   Hence, experts advise users to not access the dark web even out of curiosity as it is a lawless environment. There have been many incidents where innocent, curious users were trapped and forced to get involved in criminal activities or their digital devices hacked and compromised without their knowledge.  A study conducted by a University of Surrey researcher Dr Michael McGuires in 2019, Into the Web of Profit, shows that the dark web has become worse in recent times. Since 2016 of all the listings on the dark web suggested, 60% could harm companies. Everything illegal and criminal can be found on the dark web, it also has other legitimate options such as chess clubs or book clubs, but because of the anonymity, the user will not know whom he/she is interacting with. Inside the dark web, anonymity and lawless nature make the crimes which exist otherwise in our society hard to trace.  The payment procedure inside the dark web is also different from the World Wide Web. Most often, Bitcoin and Monero cryptocurrency are used for the transactions.    RELATED READ: Knock Knock! Cybercriminal at Your Doorstep   What’s the difference between the deep web and dark web? The dark web is part of the entire deep web and is hidden from regular browsing access. Most people confuse the deep web and the dark web as one entity. It is not. The deep web content includes anything hidden and restricted behind the security wall such as content which otherwise requires paywall or sign-in or blocked by the author. Content which cannot be easily accessible on regular internet such as medical records, membership websites, paid content are available on the deep web; hence it is also called Invisible Web.  No one really knows the total size of the internet, but the experts believe that the standard World Wide Web consists of only 4% internet, the deep web consists of 90% and dark web consists of 6% of the entire internet.  ALSO READ: Technology has changed the way we work amid the COVID-19 crisis: A look at in-demand technologies Image: Kalkine     Also read: It happens again, NZX being bullied by Cyber-attackers- Down for the fourth day   What kind of risk companies face due to the dark web?  The Into the Web of Profit report listed below threats various organisations around the world are facing, especially the ones who have weak or insufficient cybersecurity measures.   Malware attacks Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks Botnets Trojan, keyloggers, exploits  Espionage  Credentials access  Phishing  Refunds Customer data Operational data Financial data Intellectual property/ trade secrets    Also read: Cybersecurity and the Requirement of a Resilient Environment in Australia  Are there advantages and disadvantages to the dark web?  The dark web provides complete anonymity, the users get complete privacy to perform any activity, be it illegal or legal. Many countries in the world still have authoritarian regimes offering no civil rights to their people. To such oppressed lot, the dark web provides an opportunity to access news, information, data and also express their views. The dark web is also a perfect place for law agencies to map criminal activities while being undercover. It is also easy to commit gruesome crimes through the dark web as it is complicated and lawless. Criminals can easily use the dark web to compromise someone's privacy, steal data or private information or even hire someone to commit murder.  Do internet users need to be concerned about the dark web?  The simple answer is no unless the user is using the dark web. Study says that most young people visit the dark web out of curiosity. They do not want to indulge in any criminal activity but want to see how the hidden and secret world of the dark web operates. And that is where the possibility of the electronic device IP address getting hacked by other criminals to perform their criminal activities lies.  The earliest use of darknet dates back to the year 2000. Freenet was created at the University of Edinburgh based on a student research paper. Ian Clark wrote the paper in 1999 on the possibility of such an encrypted internet base. Freenet was created to oppose censorship and provide a platform for free speech. The most powerful dark web is TOR, and it was created by the United States government to have a secure encrypted communication in case of emergency and complete disaster. Even today, many law agencies are secretly active inside the world of the dark web to gain access in the criminal world and stay one step ahead.

Dead Cat Bounce Dead Cat bounce is a colloquial phrase which is quite popular in the financial markets. The term was coined a long time ago and generally referred to the peculiar behaviour of the price. The phrase denotes a recovery in the asset’s price, often a sharp one after a prolonged downtrend. Sometimes it is also referred to a short but sharp fall, succeeded by an equally sharp recovery. How does a downtrend continue for a long time? Quite often, some securities in the financial markets depict a very long downtrend which may last from a few months to a few years depending on the severity of the fundamental headwinds. These prolonged downtrends are so strong that no support levels can withhold the downtrend and the prices keep on falling. Every support level gets taken out by excessive selling, which pushes the prices even lower. These lower prices force the long holders to liquidate their positions as no visible halt in the downtrend is noticed. This liquidation from existing buyers further fuels the selling, leading to the continuation of the downtrend. As the price keeps on falling, the buyers do not get enough confidence to buy and consequently keep getting overpowered by selling pressure continues the downtrend. So what is the ideology behind “Dead Cat Bounce”? In due course of a downtrend, the security tends to become oversold for the time being. Oversold is a technical term is used for security which seems to have fallen quite a bit in a specified period. In other words, a security that has been continually sold in a specified period tends to reach a level wherein the sellers are no more interested in selling at further lower rates. This is where the buyers’ step in and try to buy these stocks at low prices, leading to an increase in demand over the supply. This fresh buying tends to push the price up hence resulting in a short upside movement or, in technical parlance a “Bounce”. This point is where the downtrend witnesses a temporary upside momentum which is exactly quoted as a “Dead Cat Bounce”. The ideology is “Even a dead cat will bounce if fallen from a great height.” Likewise, a short bounce is quite expected after a prolonged downtrend which does not change the trend as a bounce does not mean the cat has become alive. Image Source ©Kalkine Group Does it signify a reversal from a downtrend? A Dead Cat bounce is an upside momentum, witnessed after a prolonged downward trend, generally near the oversold price region. But it is to be noted that this price bounce is merely a reaction of the downtrend which is often witnessed in the oversold areas. This does not change the entire trend, and more often than not, the trend continues in the primary direction after the bounce fizzles out.  Why is it difficult to trade a Dead Cat Bounce? Most of the time it is difficult to trade a move like a Dead Cat Bounce as the bounce is often very quick and short-lived. The overall trend remains negative, which is in contradictory to the short-term bounce. Also, few investors mistake it for the trend change, which often proves to be a mistake.  It generally becomes difficult to estimate some key support areas from where the bounce may occur as the downtrend is quite strong and lacks demand to support the price. However, there are some momentum indicators like RSI (Relative Strength Index), Stochastics oscillator etc. which may help to gauge oversold zones from where the bounce may occur. What are the reasons for a Dead Cat Bounce? There could be many reasons for a Dead Cat Bounce to occur on the charts as the sudden demand may come due to numerous reasons. Some of the reasons are Oversold Price As discussed, due to a prolonged downtrend and continued selling the price often comes to a level wherein the sellers are no more interested in selling at these lower prices and at the same time buyers often find a value proposition. This leads to a spike in demand, which ultimately results in a Dead Cat Bounce. Strong support area There are some levels of support on the price chart that are quite prominent. In other words, there are some regions of support which are quite strong and may remain relevant for years. These support levels are generally hard to break at the first attempt, which results in a bounce or a complete reversal.  How to profit from a Dead Cat Bounce There are two different strategies when it comes to trading these kinds of sharp and against the trend moves. They are contradictory to each other, but both are based on proven price behaviour. Short Selling the rally As the primary trend of the underlying is still downward, one thought arises to go short on the bounce. This strategy one to participate in the downtrend but with a much better price. If these rallies are met with a resistance level like a falling trendline, horizontal price resistance etc. then these areas are ideal to sell the bounce in a downtrend.  Buying into the rally Another opinion arises, why not to participate in the bounce? This strategy can also be fruitful provided the bounce should be stronger and last for a while, which is not always the case. This essentially calls for a very quick decision making while capitalising on the temporary bounce.  Bottomline A Dead Cat Bounce is a prolonged downtrend followed by a short-term bounce. These bounces generally don’t last long, and once they fade, the trend continues towards the south. However, sometimes a bounce may also act as a reversal, but for the added confirmation a trader should also look at other signals of a reversal like bullish divergence at the bottom or a double bottom chart pattern.

What is an impairment? Impairment is accounting write off of a company’s asset, which can be an intangible asset as well as a fixed asset. An impairment loss is incurred when the fair value of the asset is lower than the carrying value in the balance sheet.  Alternatively, impairment charges can be incurred when the recoverable value of the asset is lower than the book value. Impairment charges are recorded in the income statement of the company as an expense.  Image Source: © Kalkine Group 2020 A widespread economic crisis is followed by a recession, which usually impacts the value of assets held by a company. Such events force companies to test the value of assets in the balance sheet, and this often leads to an impairment charge.  IFRS accounting standards ensure that a company’s carrying value of assets depicts a value which is not in excess of the recoverable amount.  Why are impairments charged by companies? As per the accounting rules, a business is often measured by its book value of assets. Specifically, the assets of the company carry the capability to generate future cash flows for the firm.  When the ability of an asset to deliver expected future returns is hampered, the value of assets is decreased. Therefore, it becomes an ethical responsibility of the companies to show a fair picture of the assets.  Goodwill generated at the time of business combination is required to be tested for impairments annually. Companies are required to assess any indication that could cause a potential devaluation to the asset.  When a company is holding intangible assets with an indefinite life, they are required to test the assets for impairments annually.  Cash generating units are often valued on the discounted value of future cash flows. Consequently, when market interest rates are rising, it impacts the discount rate used in estimating the recoverable amount.  Assets can be impaired because of other reasons as well. Suppose the plant and machinery of the company were damaged due to earthquake, it would result in a reduction in the value of an asset or even full write-off of the asset.  Image Source: © Kalkine Group 2020 Companies often avail consulting services to improve the performance of the business. Consultants may advise companies to shut down operations at any plant, which could result in the sale of the asset at a consideration lower than carrying value.  Oftentimes, internal reporting of the companies indicate that the performance of the asset may not yield expected benefit. This would force the management to undertake impairment testing for the asset.  Impairment vs amortisation  Amortisation is a systematic decrease in the value of an intangible asset. Amortisation of intangible assets is a process of capitalising the expense incurred on the acquisition of the asset, and then periodically recording the expense on the income statement. Impairment, on the other hand, is an irreversible decrease in the value of the asset, which is shown as an expense in the income statement. It is charged when the recoverable amount from the asset is lower than the carrying value of the asset.  Impairment vs depreciation  Depreciation is a periodic devaluation of fixed assets. It is undertaken by the companies to account for the wear and tear caused to the asset during its useful life. When a firm seeks to sell an existing asset, the buyer of the asset will deduct the depreciation from the cost of the asset before adding any premium or discount to the value for arriving at the purchase price.  Impairment on fixed assets could be related to an unusual fall in the fair value of the asset. For instance, the fair value of the machinery could be impacted significantly when a new and more efficient machine is available in the market. Similarly, an earthquake or fire can also devalue the value of the fixed asset in the balance sheet.  Reversal of impairment loss Under the reversal of impairment loss, the approach used to determine reversal is similar to the approach used in identifying the impairment loss. Reversal of impairment loss cannot be undertaken for goodwill, and it is prohibited. Companies assess whether any impairment loss recognised in the prior periods may no longer exist or have decreased. Impairment losses can only be reversed when the estimates used in determining recoverable amount are changed.  Individual asset  Previously incurred impaired individual asset can be reversed only when the estimates used in calculating the recoverable amount have changed. For instance, the changes in market interest rates could impact the discount rates used in calculating the recoverable amount.  Unless the reversal relates to a revalued asset, the reversal of impairment loss is recognised in the income statement. The revalued asset should not be more than depreciated historical cost without impairment.  Cash generating unit  In a cash-generating unit, the reversal of impairment loss is allocated on a pro-rata basis with the carrying amounts of the assets. The carrying value of an asset must not be increased above the lower of: recoverable amount and  carrying amount should have been determined without any prior impairment loss, net of amortisation and depreciation. 

What is a Balance Sheet? A balance sheet is a financial statement of an enterprise. It is one of the three primary financial statements used in analysing a business or modelling forecast for a business. Other two include the income statement and cash flow statement. It shows the financial positions of business in a given period and includes critical information like the value of assets, liabilities, cash and shareholders’ equity. In this way, a balance sheet enables the information seeker to evaluate the net worth of an enterprise. Good read: Evaluating Financial Statements The balance sheet is a source of information for a number of stakeholders, including investors, creditors, bankers. It helps stakeholders to make efficient decisions and provide transparency. Enterprises are primarily judged on the financial position, which is based on the income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement. The balance sheet is also referred to as Statement of Financial Position and is applied, along with other financial information, in deriving financial ratios, financial modelling, stress testing, credit appraisal, credit rating etc. It reflects the position of an enterprise during a given period, which could be quarterly, semi-annual, and annual. Corporations are required to publish financial information regarding the business under different laws across jurisdictions. Why does the balance sheet balance? Balance sheet is balanced because of the double entry bookkeeping system, which necessitates the effect of transaction on two accounts. For instance, an entrepreneur starting a business with $5000 cash will increase cash (Assets) and capital (Shareholder’s Equity). The below equation is the result of double entry bookkeeping system. Assets In the assets section, balance sheet represents the value of a business which can be converted to cash and is owned by the enterprise. Assets represent the ownership of an enterprise. Companies derive assets through transactions, investments, acquisitions, internal developments etc. Assets are generally recorded at a cost which was paid at the time of transaction. But conservative accounting principle necessitates companies to record assets at current costs, and the difference between actual cost and current cost is charged to profit and loss account. The balance sheet does not include internally generated assets like Domino’s Pizza Logo, McDonald’s logo that are valuable for business. However, such intangible assets are recorded in the balance sheet when an enterprise purchases intangible assets or acquire by way of business combinations. Companies are required to report assets less than costs at times like anticipated losses from a receivable are charged to the income statement, and receivable are reduced by same amount in the balance sheet. Depreciation and amortisation is the process charging expenses of long-term assets to the income statement and reducing the same amount from the balance sheet value of long term assets. There are two types of assets: current assets and non-current assets Current Assets: Current assets are those assets that could be realised in cash in one year. These assets include cash, cash equivalents, inventory, trade receivables, financial assets, prepaid assets, financial assets etc. Current assets also indicate the expected amount of cash a business can potentially convert over one year period. It also includes assets held for sale purpose. Current Assets are used to calculate working capital and other financial ratios. Non-current Assets: Non-current assets are those assets that would not be converted into cash easily. These are long term assets of the business and expected to generate long term benefits for the business. Non-current assets include property, plant, machinery, lease assets, intangible assets, financial assets, deferred tax assets, investments, advance, long-term receivables etc. Liabilities Liabilities represent the obligations of an enterprise. It can be the source of assets and also represent a claim on assets of an enterprise. A liability is recorded as a result of past event or transaction, and settlement of liability is expected to result in an outflow of funds, resource or economic benefits. There are three types of current liabilities: current liabilities, non-current liabilities and contingent liabilities. Current liabilities: Current liabilities are short term commitments of an enterprise that are needed to be settled within one year. It reflects the amount of funds that would be required by an enterprise to pay-off its short-term obligations. Current liabilities include trade payables, borrowing, current tax payable, lease liabilities, financial liabilities, provisions, accrued expenses. Information seekers use current liabilities to evaluate the liquidity of an enterprise and various other ratios. Non-current liabilities: Non-current liabilities are also known as long term liabilities of an enterprise because these are due after one year. A company with a loan maturing in ten years’ time will be required to report principal amount under non-current liabilities. Non-current liabilities include long-term borrowings/debt, deferred tax liabilities, lease liabilities, financial liabilities, provisions, capital leases, etc. Contingent liabilities: Contingent liabilities are the obligations of a firm that could become due to the outcome of a future event. Moreover, these are potential obligations of a firm. A common example of contingent liabilities could be litigation against the company, which may force it to pay money upon judgement. Shareholder’s Equity It is the amount of capital the owners or shareholders of an enterprise have provided to the business. Shareholder’s equity also includes the amount of cash generated by the business after repaying all necessary obligations in a given period. Shareholder equity includes equity share capital, preferred share capital, paid-up capital, retained earnings, accumulated losses. Negative shareholder equity would mean that the liabilities of the company exceed assets of the company. A positive shareholder’s equity indicates that the company has surplus assets over liabilities.

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