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BHP Billiton Ltd  (NYSE:BHP) Intangible Assets: \$4,030 Mil (As of Dec. 2016)

Intangible assets are defined as identifiable non-monetary assets that cannot be seen, touched or physically measured. BHP Billiton Ltd's intangible assets for the quarter that ended in Dec. 2016 was \$4,030 Mil.

Historical Data

* All numbers are in millions except for per share data and ratio. All numbers are in their local exchange's currency.

BHP Billiton Ltd Annual Data

 Jun08 Jun09 Jun10 Jun11 Jun12 Jun13 Jun14 Jun15 Jun16 Jun17 Intangible Assets 5,496.00 5,439.00 4,292.00 4,119.00 3,968.00

BHP Billiton Ltd Semi-Annual Data

 Dec07 Jun08 Dec08 Jun09 Dec09 Jun10 Dec10 Jun11 Dec11 Jun12 Dec12 Jun13 Dec13 Jun14 Dec14 Jun15 Dec15 Jun16 Dec16 Jun17 Intangible Assets 4,292.00 4,214.00 4,119.00 4,030.00 3,968.00

Calculation

Intangible assets are defined as identifiable non-monetary assets that cannot be seen, touched or physically measured. Examples of intangible assets include trade secrets, copyrights, patents, trademarks. If a company acquires assets at the prices above the book value, it may carry goodwill on its balance sheet. Goodwill reflects the difference between the price the company paid and the book value of the assets.

Explanation

If a company (company A) received a patent through their own work, though it has value, it does not show up on its balance sheet as an intangible asset. However, if company A sells this patent to company B, it will show up on company B's balance sheet as an intangible asset.

The same applies to brand names, trade secrets etc. For instance, Coca-Cola's brand is extremely valuable, but the brand does not appear on its balance sheet, because the brand was never acquired.

Some intangibles are amortized. Amortization is the depreciation of intangible assets.

Many intangibles are not amortized. They may still be written down when the company decides the asset is impaired.

Whenever you see an increase in goodwill over a number of years, you can assume it's because the company is out buying other businesses above book value. GOOD if buying businesses with durable competitive advantage.

If goodwill stays the same, the company when acquiring other companies is either paying less than book value or not acquiring. Businesses with moats never sell for less than book value.

Intangibles acquired are on balance sheet at fair value.

Internally developed brand names (Coke, Wrigleys, Band-Aid) however are not reflected on the balance sheet.

One of the reasons competitive advantage power can remain hidden for so long.

Be Aware

Companies may change the way intangible assets are amortized, and this will affect their reported earnings.

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