Quarterly report pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d)


3 Months Ended
Mar. 31, 2020
Organization, Consolidation and Presentation of Financial Statements [Abstract]  
Basis of Presentation and Significant Accounting Policies [Text Block]
Business, Consolidation and Presentation
The accompanying unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements have been prepared in accordance with SEC rules and regulations and, in the opinion of management, include all adjustments (consisting of normal recurring adjustments) necessary to present fairly the financial position, results of operations, comprehensive income (loss), cash flows and changes in equity for the periods presented. The preparation of financial statements in conformity with GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the amounts reported in the financial statements and accompanying notes. Management bases its estimates on various assumptions and historical experience, which are believed to be reasonable; however, due to the inherent nature of estimates, actual results may differ significantly due to changed conditions or assumptions. The results of operations for the three months ended March 31, 2020 are not necessarily indicative of results to be expected for the year ending December 31, 2020 or any other future period. Due to the acquisition of AK Steel, certain balances have become material and are no longer being condensed in our Statements of Unaudited Condensed Consolidated Financial Position, such as balances for Right-of-use asset, operating lease and Operating lease liability, non-current. As a result, certain prior period amounts have been reclassified to conform with the current year presentation. These unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements should be read in conjunction with the financial statements and notes included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019.
Acquisition of AK Steel
On March 13, 2020, we consummated the Merger, pursuant to which, upon the terms and subject to the conditions set forth in the Merger Agreement, Merger Sub was merged with and into AK Steel, with AK Steel surviving the Merger as a wholly owned subsidiary of Cliffs. Refer to NOTE 3 - ACQUISITION OF AK STEEL for further information.
AK Steel is a leading North American producer of flat-rolled carbon, stainless and electrical steel products, primarily for the automotive, infrastructure and manufacturing markets. The acquisition of AK Steel has transformed us into a vertically integrated producer of value-added iron ore and steel products.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made various operational changes to adjust to the demand for our products. Although steel and iron ore are considered “essential” by the states in which we operate, certain of our facilities, including Dearborn Works, all Precision Partners facilities and approximately 65% of AK Tube production, have been temporarily idled until market conditions improve. We have also temporarily shut down construction activities at the HBI production plant. On April 13, 2020, we announced the temporarily idling of two of our iron ore mining operations, Northshore in Minnesota and Tilden in Michigan, and we expect them to restart in July 2020 and August 2020, respectively. Mansfield Works is idled for an unknown, extended period of time, and AK Coal has been indefinitely idled and held for sale. We are also moving forward with the permanent idle of the Dearborn Works hot strip mill, anneal and temper operations. Finally, the Hibbing mine, of which we are a minority participant, has been idled by the joint venture.
Basis of Consolidation
The unaudited condensed consolidated financial statements consolidate our accounts and the accounts of our wholly owned subsidiaries, all subsidiaries in which we have a controlling interest and two variable interest entities for which we are the primary beneficiary. All intercompany transactions and balances are eliminated upon consolidation.
Reportable Segments
The acquisition of AK Steel has transformed us into a vertically integrated producer of value-added iron ore and steel products and we are organized according to our differentiated products in two reportable segments - the new Steel and Manufacturing segment and the Mining and Pelletizing segment. Our new Steel and Manufacturing segment includes the assets acquired through the acquisition of AK Steel and our previously reported Metallics segment, and our Mining and Pelletizing segment includes our three active operating mines and our indefinitely idled mine.
Significant Accounting Policies
A detailed description of our significant accounting policies can be found in the audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2019 included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the SEC. Due to the completion of our acquisition of AK Steel, there have been several changes in our significant accounting policies from those disclosed therein. The significant accounting policies requiring updates have been included within the disclosures below.
Revenue Recognition
Steel and Manufacturing
We generate our revenue through product sales, in which shipping terms generally indicate when we have fulfilled our performance obligations and transferred control of products to our customer. Our revenue transactions consist of a single performance obligation to transfer promised goods. We have contracts with a significant portion of our customers. These contracts usually define the mechanism for determining the sales price, which is normally fixed upon transfer of control, but the contracts do not impose a specific quantity on either party. Quantities to be delivered to the customer are determined at a point near the date of delivery through purchase orders or other written instructions we receive from the customer. Spot market sales are made through purchase orders or other written instructions. For sales with shipping terms that transfer control at the destination point, we consider our performance obligation is complete and recognize revenue when the customer receives the goods. For sales with shipping terms that transfer control at the shipping point with us bearing responsibility for freight costs to the destination, we determine that we fulfilled a single performance obligation and recognize revenue when we ship the goods.
Revenue is measured as the amount of consideration we expect to receive in exchange for transferring product. We reduce the amount of revenue recognized for estimated returns and other customer credits, such as discounts and volume rebates, based on the expected value to be realized. Payment terms are consistent with terms standard to the markets we serve. Sales taxes collected from customers are excluded from revenues.
Mining and Pelletizing
We sell a single product, iron ore pellets, in the North American market. Revenue is recognized generally when iron ore is delivered to our customers. Revenue is measured at the point that control transfers and represents the amount of consideration we expect to receive in exchange for transferring goods. We offer standard payment terms to our customers, generally requiring settlement within 30 days.
We enter into supply contracts of varying lengths to provide customers iron ore pellets to use in their blast furnaces. Blast furnaces must run continuously with a constant feed of iron ore in order to be most efficient. As a result, we ship iron ore in large quantities for storage and use by customers at a later date. Customers do not simultaneously receive and consume the benefits of the iron ore. Based on our assessment of the factors that indicate the pattern of satisfaction, we transfer control of the iron ore at a point in time upon shipment or delivery of the product. The customer is able to direct the use of, and obtain substantially all of the benefits from, the product at the time the product is delivered.
Most of our customer supply agreements specify a provisional price, which is used for initial billing and cash collection. Revenue is calculated using the expected revenue rate at the point when control transfers. The final settlement includes market inputs for a specified period of time, which may vary by customer, but typically include one or more of the following: Platts 62% Price, Atlantic Basin pellet premium and Platts international indexed freight rates. Changes in the expected revenue rate from the date control transfers through final settlement of contract terms is recorded in accordance with Topic 815. Refer to NOTE 14 - DERIVATIVE INSTRUMENTS AND HEDGING ACTIVITIES for further information on how our estimated and final revenue rates are determined.
A supply agreement with a customer provides for supplemental revenue or refunds based on the hot-rolled coil steel price in the year the iron ore is consumed in the customer’s blast furnaces. As control transfers prior to consumption, the supplemental revenue is recorded in accordance with Topic 815. Refer to NOTE 14 - DERIVATIVE INSTRUMENTS AND HEDGING ACTIVITIES for further information on supplemental revenue or refunds.
Included within Revenues related to Topic 815 is a derivative loss of $26.8 million and a derivative gain of $5.5 million for the three months ended March 31, 2020 and 2019, respectively.
Allowance for Doubtful Accounts
We establish provisions for expected lifetime losses on accounts receivable at the time a receivable is recorded based on historical experience, customer credit quality and forecasted economic conditions. We regularly review our accounts receivable balances and the allowance for credit loss and establish or adjust the allowance as necessary using
the specific identification method in accordance with CECL. We evaluate the aggregation and risk characteristics of receivable pools and develop loss rates that reflect historical collections, current forecasts of future economic conditions over the time horizon we are exposed to credit risk, and payment terms or conditions that may materially affect future forecasts. We expect credit losses associated with major auto companies to be lower than other customer pools.
Deferred Revenue
The table below summarizes our deferred revenue balances:
(In Millions)
Deferred Revenue (Current)
Deferred Revenue (Long-Term)
Opening balance as of January 1





Closing balance as of March 31




One of our iron ore pellet sales agreements required supplemental payments to be paid by a customer during the period from 2009 through 2013. Installment amounts received under this arrangement in excess of sales were classified as deferred revenue in the Statements of Consolidated Financial Position upon receipt of payment and the revenue was recognized over the life of the supply agreement, which had extended until 2022, in equal annual installments. As a result of the termination of the AK Steel iron ore pellet sales agreement, we realized $34.6 million of deferred revenue, which was recognized within Realization of deferred revenue in the Statements of Unaudited Condensed Consolidated Operations, during the three months ended March 31, 2020.
We have certain other sales agreements that require customers to pay in advance. Payments received on these agreements prior to revenue being recognized is recorded as deferred revenue in Other current liabilities.
Steel and Manufacturing    
Inventories are stated at the lower of cost or net realizable value. The Steel and Manufacturing segment determines cost using average cost, excluding depreciation and amortization.
Mining and Pelletizing
Inventories are stated at the lower of cost or market. The Mining and Pelletizing segment determines cost using the LIFO method.
Property, Plant and Equipment
Our properties are stated at the lower of cost less accumulated depreciation or fair value. Depreciation of plant and equipment is computed principally by the straight-line method based on estimated useful lives. Depreciation continues to be recognized when operations are idled temporarily. Depreciation and depletion is recorded over the following estimated useful lives:
Asset Class
Land, land improvements and mineral rights
Land and mineral rights
Units of production
Life of mine
Land improvements
Straight line
20 to 45 years
Straight line
40 to 45 years
Mining and Pelletizing equipment
Straight line/Double declining balance
3 to 20 years
Steel and Manufacturing equipment
Straight line/Double declining balance
3 to 20 years

Refer to NOTE 5 - PROPERTY, PLANT AND EQUIPMENT for further information.
Goodwill represents the excess purchase price paid over the fair value of the net assets during an acquisition. Goodwill is not amortized but is assessed for impairment on an annual basis on October 1st (or more frequently if necessary).  
Other Intangible Assets and Liabilities
Intangible assets and liabilities are subject to periodic amortization on a straight-line basis over their estimated useful lives as follows:
Useful Life
Intangible assets, net
Customer relationships
Straight line
18 years
Developed technology
Straight line
17 years
Trade names and trademarks
Straight line
10 years
Mining permits
Straight line
Life of mine
Intangible liability, net
Above-market supply contract
Straight line
13 years

We monitor conditions that may affect the carrying value of our long-lived tangible and intangible assets when events and circumstances indicate that the carrying value of the asset groups may not be recoverable. In order to determine if assets have been impaired, assets are grouped and tested at the lowest level for which identifiable, independent cash flows are available ("asset group"). An impairment loss exists when the carrying value of the asset group is greater than its fair value. The measurement of the impairment loss to be recognized is based on the difference between the fair value and the carrying value of the asset group. Fair value can be determined using a market approach, income approach or cost approach.
We determine if an arrangement contains a lease at inception. We recognize right-of-use assets and lease liabilities associated with leases based on the present value of the future minimum lease payments over the lease term at the commencement date. Lease terms reflect options to extend or terminate the lease when it is reasonably certain that the option will be exercised. For short-term leases (leases with an initial lease term of 12 months or less), right-of-use assets and lease liabilities are not recognized in the consolidated balance sheet, and lease expense is recognized on a straight-line basis over the lease term. In addition, we have agreements with both lease and non-lease components for which we have elected the practical expedient, for each underlying class of asset, to not separate the components.
Refer to NOTE 8 - LEASES for further information.
Investments in Affiliates
We have investments in several businesses accounted for using the equity method of accounting. We review an investment for impairment when circumstances indicate that a loss in value below its carrying amount is other than temporary. Investees and equity ownership percentages are presented below:
Segment Reported Within
Equity Ownership Percentage
Combined Metals of Chicago, LLC
Steel and Manufacturing
Hibbing Taconite Company
Mining and Pelletizing
Spartan Steel Coating, LLC
Steel and Manufacturing

Recent Accounting Pronouncements
Issued and Adopted
On March 2, 2020, the SEC issued a final rule that amended the disclosure requirements related to certain registered securities under SEC Regulation S-X, Rule 3-10, which required separate financial statements for subsidiary issuers and guarantors of registered debt securities unless certain exceptions are met. The final rule replaces the previous requirement under Rule 3-10 to provide condensed consolidating financial information in the registrant’s financial statements with a requirement to provide alternative financial disclosures (which include summarized financial information of the parent and any issuers and guarantors, as well as other qualitative disclosures) in either the registrant’s Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations or its financial statements, in addition to other simplifications. The final rule is effective for filings on or after January 4, 2021, and early adoption is permitted. We have elected to early adopt this disclosure update for the period ended March 31, 2020. As a result, we have excluded the footnote disclosures required under the previous Rule 3-10, and applied the final rule by including the summarized financial information and qualitative disclosures in Part I - Item 2. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations of this Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and Exhibit 22.1, filed herewith.