Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
|12 Months Ended
Dec. 31, 2018
|Accounting Policies [Abstract]
|Summary of Significant Accounting Policies
Basis of presentation and consolidation
The accompanying consolidated financial statements include those of Aqua Metals, Inc. and its subsidiaries, after elimination of all intercompany accounts and transactions. We have prepared the accompanying consolidated financial statements in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (“GAAP”) and pursuant to the rules and regulations of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”).
Use of estimates
The preparation of the consolidated financial statements requires management of the Company to make a number of estimates and assumptions relating to the reported amount of assets and liabilities and the disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the consolidated financial statements, and the reported amounts of expenses during the period. Significant items subject to such estimates and assumptions include the carrying amount and valuation of long-lived assets, the valuation of conversion features of convertible debt, valuation allowances for deferred tax assets, the determination of fair value of estimated asset retirement obligations, the determination of stock option expense and the determination of the fair value of stock warrants issued. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
Cash and cash equivalents
The Company considers all highly liquid instruments with original or remaining maturities of ninety days or less at the date of purchase to be cash equivalents. The Company maintains its cash balances in large financial institutions. Periodically, such balances may be in excess of federally insured limits.
Restricted cash was comprised of funds held in escrow at Green Bank for the purpose of paying for the construction of the lead recycling plant building in McCarran, Nevada. As of December 31, 2017, the building was complete and the funds had been dispersed.
In November 2016, the Financial Accounting Standards Board, FASB issued Accounting Standards Update ("ASU") No. 2016-18. The amendments in ASU 2016-18 require an entity to reconcile and explain the period-over-period change in total cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash within its statements of cash flows rather than reconciling and explaining the period-over-period change in total cash and cash equivalents (excluding restricted cash). The Company adopted this new ASU beginning January 1, 2018 using the required full retrospective approach. The adoption of this standard resulted in an increase in net cash used in investing activities of $1.1 million and $10.5 million in the consolidated statements of cash flows for the year ended December 31, 2017 and December 31, 2016, respectively. As there is no restricted cash at December 31, 2018 or 2017, there is no effect on the year ended December 31, 2018.
The Company sells its products to large well-established companies and extends credit without requiring collateral, based on an ongoing evaluation of the customer’s business prospects and financial condition. In the event that payment of a customer’s account receivable is doubtful, the Company would reserve the receivable under an allowance for doubtful accounts. As of December 31, 2018, and 2017, the Company believes that all receivables have been or will be collected and, therefore, has not created any reserve for doubtful accounts.
Inventory is stated as the lower of cost or net realizable value. Cost is recorded on a first-in, first-out basis using the weighted average method. Net realizable value is determined as the estimated selling price in the ordinary course of business, less reasonably predictable costs of completion, disposal, and transportation. The Company records a write-down, if necessary, to reduce the carrying value of inventory to its net realizable value. The effect of these write-downs is to establish a new cost basis in the related inventory, which is not subsequently written up.
Property and equipment
Property and equipment are stated at cost net of accumulated depreciation. Depreciation on property and equipment is calculated on the straight-line basis over the estimated useful lives of the assets. Leasehold improvements are depreciated over the shorter of the life of the asset or the remaining term of the lease.
Intangible and other long-lived assets
Intangible assets consist of a patent application contributed to the Company by five founding stockholders, patent applications for technology developed by the Company, trademark applications and a patent portfolio acquired during 2017. The useful life of this intellectual property has been determined to be ten years and the assets are being amortized straight-line over this period. The Company periodically evaluates its intangible and other long-lived assets for indications that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. In reviewing for impairment, the Company compares the carrying value of such assets to the estimated undiscounted future cash flows expected from the use of the assets and their eventual disposition. When the estimated undiscounted future cash flows are less than their carrying amount, an impairment loss is recognized equal to the difference between the assets’ fair value and their carrying value. In addition to the recoverability assessment, the Company routinely reviews the remaining estimated lives of its long-lived assets. Any reduction in the useful life assumption will result in increased depreciation and amortization expense in the period when such determination is made, as well as in subsequent periods. The Company evaluates the need to record impairment during each reporting period. As further described in Note 6, the Company recorded an impairment of $2.4 million in the second quarter of 2017 on its patent portfolio. As of December 31, 2018, the Company determined that the estimated life of the Intellectual Property properly reflected the current remaining economic life of the asset.
Asset retirement obligations
The Company records the fair value of estimated asset retirement obligations associated with tangible long-lived assets in the period incurred. Retirement obligations associated with long-lived assets are those for which there is an obligation for closures and/or site remediation at the end of the assets’ useful lives. These obligations are initially estimated based on discounted cash flow estimates and are accreted to full value over time through charges to operating expense. In addition, asset retirement costs are capitalized as part of the related asset’s carrying value and are depreciated on a straight-line basis over the assets’ respective useful lives.
The Company records revenue in accordance with Accounting Standards Codification ("ASC") 606, Revenue from Contracts with Customers. ASC 606 provides a single comprehensive model for the recognition of revenue arising from contracts with customers and supersedes most current revenue recognition guidance, including industry-specific guidance. It requires an entity to recognize revenue when the entity transfers promised goods or services to customers in an amount that reflects the consideration to which the entity expects to be entitled in exchange for those goods or services. ASC 606 creates a five-step model that requires entities to exercise judgment when considering the terms of contract(s), which includes (1) identifying the contract(s) with the customer, (2) identifying the separate performance obligations in the contract, (3) determining the transaction price, (4) allocating the transaction price to the separate performance obligations, and (5) recognizing revenue as each performance obligation is satisfied. ASC 606 requires additional disclosure about the nature, amount, timing and uncertainty of revenue and cash flows arising from customer contracts, including qualitative and quantitative information about contracts with customers, significant judgments and changes in judgments and assets recognized from costs incurred to obtain or fulfill a contract.
Revenue is generally recognized with the delivery of the Company’s products, primarily hard lead, lead compounds and plastics, to customers. Sales, value add, and other taxes, if any, that are collected concurrent with revenue-producing activities are excluded from revenue as they are subsequently remitted to governmental authorities. Incidental items that are immaterial in the context of the contract are recognized as expense. Freight and shipping costs related to the transfer of the Company’s products to customers are included in revenue and cost of product sales. Payment on invoices is generally due within 30 days of the invoice.
Arrangements with Multiple Performance Obligations
Contracts with customers may include multiple performance obligations. A performance obligation is a promise in a contract to transfer a distinct good or service to the customer and is the unit of account in ASC 606. A contract’s transaction price is allocated to each distinct performance obligation and recognized as revenue when, or as, the performance obligation is satisfied. The Company expects that many of our contracts will have a single performance obligation as the promise to transfer the individual goods or services will not be separately identifiable from other promises in the contracts and therefore, not distinct. For contracts with multiple performance obligations, revenue will be allocated to each performance obligation based on the Company’s best estimate of the standalone selling price of each distinct good or service in the contract. The primary method used to estimate standalone selling prices is based on prices charged separately to customers or expected cost-plus margin. At present, the Company does not have any arrangements with multiple performance obligations.
The Company estimates variable consideration for arrangements where the transaction price is not fully determinable until the completion of yield testing. The Company estimates variable consideration at the most likely amount to which it expects to be entitled and includes estimated amounts in revenue to the extent it is probable that a significant reversal of revenue recognized will not occur when the uncertainty associated with the variable consideration is resolved. Adjustments to revenue is recognized in the period when the uncertainty is resolved. To date, any adjustments to estimates have not been material.
Practical Expedients and Exemptions
The Company does not disclose the value of unsatisfied performance obligations for (i) contracts with an original expected length of one year or less and (ii) contracts for which we recognize revenue at the amount to which we have the right to invoice for services performed.
Research and development
Research and development expenditures are expensed as incurred.
The Company accounts for income taxes in accordance with the liability method of accounting for income taxes. Under the liability method, deferred assets and liabilities are recognized based upon anticipated future tax consequences attributable to differences between financial statement carrying amounts of assets and liabilities and their respective tax bases. The provision for income taxes is comprised of the current tax liability and the changes in deferred tax assets and liabilities. The Company establishes a valuation allowance to the extent that it is more likely than not that deferred tax assets will not be recoverable against future taxable income.
The Company recognizes the effect of uncertain income tax positions only if those positions are more likely than not of being sustained. Recognized income tax positions are measured at the largest amount that is greater than 50% likely of being realized. Changes in recognition or measurement are reflected in the period in which the change in judgment occurs.
Fair value measurements
The carrying amounts of cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable, inventory, prepaid expenses and other current assets, accounts payable, accrued expenses, and deferred rent approximate fair value due to the short-term nature of these instruments. The carrying value of short and long-term debt, and lease liabilities also approximates fair value since these instruments bear market rates of interest or are calculated using market rates of interest. None of these instruments are held for trading purposes.
Fair value is defined as an exit price, representing the amount that would be received upon the sale of an asset or payment to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants. Fair value is a market-based measurement that is determined based on assumptions that market participants would use in pricing an asset or liability. A three-tier far value hierarchy is used to prioritize the inputs in measuring fair value as follows:
Level 1. Quoted prices in active markets for identical assets or liabilities.
Level 2. Quoted prices for similar assets and liabilities in active markets, quoted prices for identical or similar assets or liabilities in markets that are not active, or other inputs that are observable, either directly or indirectly.
Level 3. Significant unobservable inputs that cannot be corroborated by market data.
The asset or liability’s fair value measurement within the fair value hierarchy is based upon the lowest level of any input that is significant to the fair value measurement.
There are no assets or liabilities that are measured at fair value on a recurring basis at December 31, 2018 or 2017.
The Company recognizes compensation expense for stock-based compensation in accordance with ASC 718 “Compensation – Stock Compensation.” For employee stock-based awards, the Company calculates the fair value of the award on the date of grant using the Black-Scholes-Merton method for stock options; the expense is recognized over the service period for awards to vest.
The estimation of stock-based awards that will ultimately vest requires judgment and to the extent actual results or updated estimates differ from the original estimates, such amounts are recorded as a cumulative adjustment in the period estimates are revised.
Net loss per share
Basic net loss per share is computed by dividing net loss by the weighted average number of vested shares outstanding during the period. Diluted net loss per share is computed by giving effect to all potential dilutive common securities, including convertible notes, options and warrants. Potential dilutive common shares include the dilutive effect of the common stock underlying in-the-money stock options and is calculated based on the average share price for each period using the treasury stock method. Under the treasury stock method, the exercise price of an option and the average amount of compensation cost, if any, for future services that the Company has not yet recognized when the option is exercised, are assumed to be used to repurchase shares in the current period.
For all periods presented in this report, convertible notes, stock options, and warrants were not included in the computation of diluted net loss per share because such inclusion would have had an antidilutive effect.
Segment and Geographic Information
Operating segments are defined as components of an enterprise engaging in business activities for which discrete financial information is available and regularly reviewed by the chief operating decision maker in deciding how to allocate resources and in assessing performance. The Company views its operations and manages its business in one operating segment, and the Company operates in only one geographic segment.
Concentration of Credit Risk
Revenues from the following customers each represented at least 10% of total revenue for the periods listed below. Johnson Controls Battery Group, Inc. also represented a significant portion of our accounts receivable as of December 31, 2018 and 2017.
Substantially all of the chemicals used in our refining process are provided by one supplier and supply of used lead acid batteries has, during 2018 and 2017, been provided by two vendors as indicated below.
Recent accounting pronouncements
In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-2 - Leases (ASC 842), which sets out the principles for the recognition, measurement, presentation and disclosure of leases for both parties to a contract (i.e. lessees and lessors). The new standard requires lessees to apply a dual approach, classifying leases as either finance or operating leases based on the principle of whether or not the lease is effectively a financed purchase by the lessee. This classification will determine whether lease expense is recognized based on an effective interest method or on a straight-line basis over the term of the lease, respectively. A lessee is also required to record a right-of-use asset and a lease liability for all leases with a term of greater than 12 months regardless of their classification. Leases with a term of 12 months or less will be accounted for similar to existing guidance for operating leases today. ASC 842 supersedes the previous leases standard, ASC 840 Leases. The standard is effective on January 1, 2019, with early adoption permitted. The new standard requires a modified retrospective transition approach for all leases existing at, or entered into after, the date of initial application, with an option to use certain transition relief. In July 2018, the FASB issued ASU No. 2018-11, Leases (Topic 842): Targeted Improvements, which amends ASC Topic 842 to provide another transition method, allowing a cumulative effect adjustment to the opening balance of retained earnings during the period of adoption. The Company has two longer term office leases and a few small equipment leases. At January 1, 2019, the Company will record a lease liability equal to the present value of future lease payments not yet paid on each of these leases and an asset for its right to use the underlying assets, net of any previously recorded impairment. The effect of the adoption of this standard is an increase in lease liabilities of $1.6 million offset by an increase in assets of the same amount.
There were no other recent accounting pronouncements or changes in accounting pronouncements during the year ended December 31, 2018 that are of significance or potential significance to the Company.