This case explores the accounting treatment for the “rent concessions” offered by lessors to lessees during the Covid-19 pandemic. The protagonist company is Xiabuxiabu Catering Management (China) Holdings Co., Ltd. (Xiabuxiabu or the Group, HKEx: 520). Xiabuxiabu was one of the hot-pot restaurant chains with the highest relevant market share in mainland China. As the Group had been serving retail customers in its retail branches, the newly promulgated “Covid-19 Related Rent Concessions” had a significant impact on lease accounting for its branches.
During the pandemic, many lessees had obtained rent concessions granted by lessors in numerous forms, such as a rent payment (lease payment) holiday, a reduction in rent payments for certain period of time, a deferral of rent payments, and a change to the lease term etc.
In May 2020, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) issued “Covid-19-Related Rent Concessions” as a “practical expedient” to lessees. This expedient came as an “optional” relief to lessees from the mandatory application of IFRS 16. As such, lessees had the option of not accounting for rent concessions as “lease modifications”. This greatly simplified lease accounting particularly during the pandemic. Xiabuxiabu had chosen to adopt such an expedient since the financial year 2020.
Upon learning the case, students will be able to:
1. Judge whether a rent concession is qualified to be applied with the practical expedient
2. Explain the accounting treatment for different sorts of rent concessions with and without application of the practical expedient
3. Compare financial implications between applying the practical expedient or not
4. Understand the implications of the practical expedient beyond 30 June 2022
5. Understand the implications of the practical expedient to the lessors