Burlington Northern Santa Fe 10-K 2013
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
[x]ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2012
[ ]TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
FOR THE TRANSITION PERIOD FROM ___________TO ___________
COMMISSION FILE NUMBER: 1-11535
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
REGISTRANT MEETS THE CONDITIONS SET FORTH IN GENERAL INSTRUCTION (I)(1)(a) AND (b) OF FORM 10-K AND IS THEREFORE FILING THIS FORM WITH THE REDUCED DISCLOSURE FORMAT.
Table of Contents
Item 1. Business
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation was incorporated in the State of Delaware on December 16, 1994. On February 12, 2010, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., a Delaware corporation (Berkshire), acquired 100% of the outstanding shares of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation common stock that it did not already own. The acquisition was completed through the merger (the Merger) of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation with and into R Acquisition Company, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company and an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire (Merger Sub), with Merger Sub continuing as the surviving entity. In connection with the Merger, Merger Sub changed its name to “Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC” and remains an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire. Further information about the Merger is incorporated by reference from Note 1 and Note 5 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
References herein to “BNSF,” “Registrant” or “Company,” with respect to matters occurring prior to completion of the Merger, are references to Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation. References herein to “BNSF,” “Registrant” or “Company,” with respect to matters occurring after completion of the Merger, are references to Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC.
BNSF is a holding company that conducts no operating activities and owns no significant assets other than through its interests in its subsidiaries. Through its subsidiaries, BNSF is engaged primarily in the freight rail transportation business. At December 31, 2012, BNSF and its subsidiaries had more than 41,000 employees. The rail operations of BNSF Railway Company (BNSF Railway), the Company's principal operating subsidiary, comprise one of the largest railroad systems in North America.
BNSF’s internet address is www.bnsf.com. Through this internet Web site (under the “About BNSF/Financial Information” link), BNSF makes available, free of charge, its Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K, as well as all amendments to these reports, as soon as reasonably practicable after these reports are electronically filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC). BNSF makes available on its Web site other previously filed SEC reports, registration statements and exhibits via a link to the SEC’s Web site at www.sec.gov. The Code of Conduct for officers and salaried employees is also made available on the Company’s Web site.
Further discussion of the Company’s business, including equipment and business sectors, is incorporated by reference from Item 2, “Properties.”
Item 1A. Risk Factors
The information set forth in Item 1A should be read in conjunction with the rest of the information in this report, including Item 7, Management's Narrative Analysis of Results of Operations, and Item 8, Financial Statements and Supplementary Data.
Changes in government policy could negatively impact demand for the Company’s services, impair its ability to price its services or increase its costs or liability exposure.
Changes in United States and foreign government policies could change the economic environment and affect demand for the Company’s services. For example, changes in clean air laws or regulation of carbon dioxide emissions could reduce the demand for coal and revenues from the coal transportation services provided by BNSF Railway. Also, changes in environmental laws could reduce the demand for drilling products and products produced by drilling. United States and foreign government agriculture tariffs or subsidies could affect the demand for grain. Developments and changes in laws and regulations as well as increased economic regulation of the rail industry through legislative action and revised rules and standards applied by the U.S. Surface Transportation Board in various areas, including rates, services and access to facilities could adversely impact the Company’s ability to determine prices for rail services and significantly affect the revenues, costs and profitability of the Company’s business. Additionally, because of the significant costs to maintain its rail network, a reduction in profitability could hinder the Company’s ability to maintain, improve or expand its rail network, facilities and equipment. Federal or state spending on infrastructure improvements or incentives that favor other modes of transportation could also adversely affect the Company’s revenues.
The Company’s success depends on its ability to continue to comply with the significant federal, state and local governmental regulations to which it is subject.
The Company is subject to a significant amount of governmental laws and regulation with respect to its rates and practices, taxes, railroad operations and a variety of health, safety, labor, environmental and other matters. Failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations could have a material adverse effect on the Company. Governments may change the legislative and/or regulatory framework within which the Company operates without providing the Company with any recourse for any adverse effects that the change may have on its business. Federal legislation enacted in 2008 mandates the implementation of positive train control technology by December 31, 2015, on certain mainline track where intercity and commuter passenger railroads operate and where toxic-by-inhalation (TIH) hazardous materials are transported. This type of technology is new and deploying it across BNSF Railway’s system and other railroads may pose significant operating and implementation risks and requires significant capital expenditures.
As part of its railroad operations, the Company frequently transports chemicals and other hazardous materials, which could expose it to the risk of significant claims, losses and penalties.
BNSF Railway is required to transport these commodities to the extent of its common carrier obligation. An accidental release of TIH or hazardous commodities could result in a significant loss of life and extensive property damage as well as environmental remediation obligations and penalties. The associated costs could have an adverse effect on the Company’s operating results, financial condition or liquidity as the Company is not insured above a certain threshold. Further, the rates BNSF Railway receives for transporting these commodities do not adequately compensate it should there be some type of accident. In addition, insurance premiums charged for some or all of the coverage currently maintained by the Company could increase dramatically or certain coverage may not be available to the Company in the future if there is a catastrophic event related to rail transportation of these commodities.
The Company faces intense competition from rail carriers and other transportation providers, and its failure to compete effectively could adversely affect its results of operations, financial condition or liquidity.
The Company operates in a highly competitive business environment. Depending on the specific market, the Company faces intermodal, intramodal, product and geographic competition. This competition from other railroads and motor carriers, as well as barges, ships and pipelines in certain markets, may be reflected in pricing, market share, level of services, reliability and other factors. For example, the Company believes that high service truck lines, due to their ability to deliver non-bulk products on an expedited basis, may have an adverse effect on the Company’s ability to compete for deliveries of non-bulk, time-sensitive freight. While the Company must build or acquire and maintain its rail system, trucks and barges are able to use public rights-of-way maintained by public entities. Any material increase in the capacity and quality of these alternative methods or the passage of legislation granting greater latitude to motor carriers with respect to size and weight restrictions could have an adverse effect on the Company’s results of operations, financial condition or liquidity. In addition, a failure to provide the level of service required by the Company’s customers could result in loss of business to competitors. Changes in the ports used by ocean carriers or the use of all-water routes from the Pacific Rim to the East Coast or other changes in the supply chain could also have an adverse effect on the Company’s volumes and revenues. Further, low natural gas prices could impact future coal demand.
The Company is subject to various claims and lawsuits, and increases in the amount or severity of these claims and lawsuits could adversely affect the Company’s operating results, financial condition and liquidity.
As part of its railroad operations, the Company is exposed to various claims and litigation related to commercial disputes, personal injury, property damage, environmental liability and other matters. Personal injury claims by BNSF Railway employees are subject to the Federal Employers’ Liability Act (FELA), rather than state workers’ compensation laws. The Company believes that the FELA system, which includes unscheduled awards and a reliance on the jury system, can contribute to increased expenses. Other proceedings include claims by third parties for punitive as well as compensatory damages, and a few proceedings have been certified or purport to be class actions. Developments in legislative and judicial standards, material changes to litigation trends, or a catastrophic rail accident or series of accidents involving any or all of property damage, personal injury, and environmental liability could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s operating results, financial condition and liquidity.
The Company is subject to stringent environmental laws and regulations, which may impose significant costs on its business operations.
The Company’s operations are subject to extensive federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations concerning, among other things, emissions to the air; discharges to waters; the generation, handling, storage, transportation and disposal of waste and hazardous materials; and the cleanup of hazardous material or petroleum releases. Changes to or limits on carbon dioxide emissions could result in significant capital expenditures to comply with these regulations with respect to BNSF Railway’s diesel locomotives, equipment, vehicles and machinery and its yards and intermodal facilities and the cranes and trucks serving those facilities. Emission regulations could also adversely affect fuel efficiency and increase operating costs. Further, local concerns on emissions and other forms of pollution could inhibit the Company’s ability to build facilities in strategic locations to facilitate growth and efficient operations. In addition, many land holdings are and have been used for industrial or transportation-related purposes or leased to commercial or industrial companies whose activities may have resulted in discharges onto the property. Environmental liability can extend to previously owned or operated properties, leased properties and properties owned by third parties, as well as to properties currently owned and used by the Company’s subsidiaries. Environmental liabilities have arisen and may continue to arise from claims asserted by adjacent landowners or other third parties in toxic tort litigation. The Company’s subsidiaries have been and may continue to be subject to allegations or findings to the effect that they have violated, or are strictly liable under, these laws or regulations. The Company’s operating results, financial condition or liquidity could be adversely affected as a result of any of the foregoing, and it may be required to incur significant expenses to investigate and remediate environmental contamination.
Downturns in the economy could adversely affect demand for the Company’s services.
Significant, extended negative changes in domestic and global economic conditions that impact the producers and consumers of the commodities transported by the Company may have an adverse effect on the Company’s operating results, financial condition or liquidity. Declines in or muted manufacturing activity, economic growth and international trade all could result in reduced revenues in one or more business units.
Negative changes in general economic conditions could lead to disruptions in the credit markets, increase credit risks and could adversely affect the Company’s financial condition or liquidity.
Challenging economic conditions may not only affect revenues due to reduced demand for many goods and commodities, but could result in payment delays, increased credit risk and possible bankruptcies of customers. The Company's business is capital-intensive and the Company typically finances a portion of the building and maintenance of infrastructure as well as locomotives and other rail equipment. Economic slowdowns and related credit market disruptions may adversely affect the Company’s cost structure, its timely access to capital to meet financing needs and costs of its financings. The Company could also face increased counterparty risk to its cash investments. Adverse economic conditions could also affect the Company’s costs for insurance or its ability to acquire and maintain adequate insurance coverage for risks associated with the railroad business if insurance companies experience credit downgrades or bankruptcies. Declines in the securities and credit markets could also affect the Company’s pension fund and railroad retirement tax rates, which in turn could increase funding requirements.
Fuel supply availability, fuel prices and dependency on certain key railroad equipment and material suppliers may adversely affect the Company’s results of operations, financial condition or liquidity.
Fuel supply availability could be impacted as a result of limitations in refining capacity, disruptions to the supply chain, rising global demand and international political and economic factors. A significant reduction in fuel availability could impact the Company’s ability to provide transportation services at current levels, increase fuel costs and impact the economy. Each of these factors could have an adverse effect on the Company’s operating results, financial condition or liquidity. If the price of fuel increases substantially, the Company expects to be able to offset a significant portion of these higher fuel costs through its fuel surcharge program. However, to the extent that the Company is unable to maintain, expand and ultimately collect under its existing fuel surcharge program, increases in fuel prices could have an adverse effect on the Company’s operating results, financial condition or liquidity. Due to the capital intensive nature and sophistication of certain railroad equipment and material, prospective new suppliers are subject to high barriers of entry. If railroad equipment and material suppliers discontinue operations, the Company could experience significant cost increases, as well as limited supply of railroad equipment and material necessary for the Company's operations.
Severe weather and natural disasters could disrupt normal business operations, which would result in increased costs and liabilities and decreases in revenues.
The Company’s success is dependent on its ability to operate its railroad system efficiently. Severe weather and natural disasters, such as tornados, flooding and earthquakes, could cause significant business interruptions and result in increased costs and liabilities and decreased revenues. In addition, damages to or loss of use of significant aspects of the Company’s infrastructure due to natural or man-made disruptions could have an adverse effect on the Company’s operating results, financial condition or liquidity for an extended period of time until repairs or replacements could be made. Additionally, during natural disasters, the Company’s workforce may be unavailable, which could result in further delays. Extreme swings in weather could also negatively affect the performance of locomotives and rolling stock.
The Company’s operational dependencies may adversely affect results of operations, financial condition or liquidity.
Due to the integrated nature of the United States’ freight transportation infrastructure, the Company’s operations may be negatively affected by service disruptions of other entities such as ports, passenger trains and other railroads which interchange with the Company. A significant prolonged service disruption of one or more of these entities could have an adverse effect on the Company’s results of operations, financial condition or liquidity.
Acts of terrorism or war, as well as the threat of terrorism or war, may cause significant disruptions in the Company’s business operations.
Terrorist attacks and any government response to those types of attacks and war or risk of war may adversely affect the Company’s results of operations, financial condition or liquidity. The Company’s rail lines and facilities could be direct targets or indirect casualties of an act or acts of terror, which could cause significant business interruption and result in increased costs and liabilities and decreased revenues, which could have an adverse effect on operating results and financial condition. Such effects could be magnified if releases of hazardous materials are involved. Any act of terror, retaliatory strike, sustained military campaign or war or risk of war may have an adverse impact on the Company’s operating results and financial condition by causing unpredictable operating or financial conditions, including disruptions of BNSF Railway or connecting rail lines, loss of critical customers or partners, volatility or sustained increase of fuel prices, fuel shortages, general economic decline and instability or weakness of financial markets. In addition, insurance premiums charged for some or all of the coverage currently maintained by the Company could increase dramatically, the coverage available may not adequately compensate it for certain types of incidents and certain coverages may not be available to the Company in the future.
The Company depends on the stability and availability of its information technology systems.
The Company relies on information technology in all aspects of its business. A significant disruption or failure of its information technology systems could result in service interruptions, safety failures, security violations, regulatory compliance failures and the inability to protect corporate information assets against intruders or other operational difficulties. Although the Company has taken steps to mitigate these risks, including Business Continuity Planning, Disaster Recovery Planning and Business Impact Analysis, a significant disruption or cyber intrusion could lead to misappropriation of assets or data corruption and could adversely affect the Company’s results of operations, financial condition or liquidity. Additionally, if the Company is unable to acquire or implement new technology, it may suffer a competitive disadvantage, which could also have an adverse effect on the Company’s results of operations, financial condition or liquidity.
Most of the Company’s employees are represented by unions, and failure to negotiate reasonable collective bargaining agreements may result in strikes, work stoppages or substantially higher ongoing labor costs.
A significant majority of BNSF Railway’s employees are union-represented. BNSF Railway’s union employees work under collective bargaining agreements with various labor organizations. Wages, health and welfare benefits, work rules and other issues have traditionally been addressed through industry-wide negotiations. These negotiations have generally taken place over an extended period of time and have previously not resulted in any extended work stoppages. For ongoing negotiations, the existing agreements have remained in effect and will continue to remain in effect until new agreements are reached or the Railway Labor Act’s procedures (which include mediation, cooling-off periods and the possibility of presidential or congressional intervention) are exhausted. While the negotiations have not yet resulted in any extended work stoppages, if BNSF Railway is unable to negotiate acceptable new agreements, it could result in strikes by the affected workers, loss of business, disruption of operations and increased operating costs as a result of higher wages or benefits paid to union members, any of which could have an adverse effect on the Company’s operating results, financial condition or liquidity.
The unavailability of qualified personnel could adversely affect the Company’s operations.
Changes in demographics, training requirements and the unavailability of qualified personnel, particularly engineers and trainmen, could negatively impact the Company’s ability to meet demand for rail service. Recruiting and retaining qualified personnel, particularly those with expertise in the railroad industry, are vital to operations. Although the Company believes that it has adequate personnel for the current business environment, unpredictable increases in demand for rail services may exacerbate the risk of not having sufficient numbers of trained personnel, which could have a negative impact on operational efficiency and otherwise have an adverse effect on the Company’s operating results, financial condition or liquidity.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
BNSF Railway operates one of the largest railroad networks in North America with approximately 32,500 route miles of track (excluding multiple main tracks, yard tracks and sidings) in 28 states and two Canadian provinces as of December 31, 2012. BNSF Railway owns approximately 23,000 route miles, including easements, and operates on approximately 9,500 route miles of trackage rights that permit BNSF Railway to operate its trains with its crews over other railroads' tracks.
As of December 31, 2012, the total BNSF Railway system, including single and multiple main tracks, yard tracks and sidings, consisted of approximately 50,500 operated miles of track, all of which are owned by or held under easement by BNSF Railway except for approximately 10,500 miles operated under trackage rights.
Property and Facilities
BNSF Railway operates various facilities and equipment to support its transportation system, including its infrastructure and locomotives and freight cars. It also owns or leases other equipment to support rail operations, including containers, chassis and vehicles. Support facilities for rail operations include yards and terminals throughout its rail network, system locomotive shops to perform locomotive servicing and maintenance, a centralized network operations center for train dispatching and network operations monitoring and management in Fort Worth, Texas, regional dispatching centers, computers, telecommunications equipment, signal systems and other support systems. Transfer facilities are maintained for rail-to-rail as well as intermodal transfer of containers, trailers and other freight traffic. These facilities include approximately 30 intermodal hubs located across the system.
As of December 31, 2012, BNSF Railway owned or held under non-cancelable leases exceeding one year approximately 7,000 locomotives and 76,000 freight cars, in addition to maintenance of way and other equipment.
In the ordinary course of business, BNSF incurs significant costs in repairing and maintaining the properties described above. In 2012, BNSF recorded approximately $2 billion in repairs and maintenance expense in the Consolidated Statements of Income.
In serving the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, Western, Southwestern and Southeastern regions and ports of the country, BNSF transports, through one operating transportation services segment, a range of products and commodities derived from manufacturing, agricultural and natural resource industries. Over half of the freight revenues of the Company are covered by contractual agreements of varying durations,while the balance is subject to common carrier, published prices or quotations offered by the Company. BNSF’s financial performance is influenced by, among other things, general and industry economic conditions at the international, national and regional levels. The following map illustrates the Company’s primary routes, including trackage rights, which allow BNSF to access major cities and ports in the western and southern United States as well as Canadian and Mexican traffic. In addition to major cities and ports, BNSF efficiently serves many smaller markets by working closely with approximately 200 shortline partners. BNSF has also entered into marketing agreements with other rail carriers, expanding the marketing reach for each railroad and our collective customers.
The Consumer Products’ freight business provided approximately 33 percent of freight revenues for the 12 months ended December 31, 2012, and consisted of the following business sectors: International Intermodal, Domestic Intermodal (including Truckload/Intermodal Marketing Companies and Expedited Truckload/Less-than-Truckload/Parcel) and Automotive.
The Industrial Products’ freight business provided approximately 25 percent of freight revenues for the 12 months ended December 31, 2012, and consisted of the following five business areas: Construction Products, Building Products, Petroleum Products, Chemicals and Plastics Products and Food and Beverages.
The transportation of coal contributed approximately 24 percent of freight revenues for the 12 months ended December 31, 2012, with more than 90 percent of all BNSF’s coal tons originating from the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana.
The transportation of Agricultural Products provided approximately 18 percent of freight revenues for the 12 months ended December 31, 2012. These products include wheat, corn, bulk foods, soybeans, oil seeds and meals, feeds, barley, oats and rye, flour and mill products, milo, oils, specialty grains, malt, ethanol and fertilizer.
Government Regulation and Legislation
The Company’s rail operations are subject to the regulatory jurisdiction of the Surface Transportation Board (STB) of the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), the Federal Railroad Administration of the DOT, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as well as other federal and state regulatory agencies and Canadian regulatory agencies for operations in Canada. The STB has jurisdiction over disputes and complaints involving certain rates, routes and services, the sale or abandonment of rail lines, applications for line extensions and construction and consolidation or merger with, or acquisition of control of rail common carriers. The outcome of STB proceedings can affect the profitability of BNSF’s business.
DOT and OSHA have jurisdiction under several federal statutes over a number of safety and health aspects of rail operations, including the transportation of hazardous materials. State agencies regulate some aspects of rail operations with respect to health and safety in areas not otherwise preempted by federal law.
Further discussion is incorporated by reference from Note 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
The business environment in which BNSF Railway operates is highly competitive. Depending on the specific market, deregulated motor carriers and other railroads, as well as river barges, ships and pipelines in certain markets, may exert pressure on price and service levels. The presence of advanced, high service truck lines with expedited delivery, subsidized infrastructure and minimal empty mileage continues to affect the market for non-bulk, time-sensitive freight. The potential expansion of longer combination vehicles could further encroach upon markets traditionally served by railroads. In order to remain competitive, BNSF Railway and other railroads continue to develop and implement operating efficiencies to improve productivity.
As railroads streamline, rationalize and otherwise enhance their franchises, competition among rail carriers intensifies. BNSF Railway’s primary rail competitor in the Western region of the United States is the Union Pacific Railroad Company. Other Class I railroads and numerous regional railroads and motor carriers also operate in parts of the same territories served by BNSF Railway.
Based on weekly reporting by the Association of American Railroads, BNSF Railway’s share of the western United States rail traffic in 2012 was 48 percent.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
Beginning May 14, 2007, some 30 similar class action complaints were filed in six federal district courts around the country by rail shippers against BNSF Railway and other Class I railroads alleging that they have conspired to fix fuel surcharges with respect to unregulated freight transportation services in violation of the antitrust laws. The complaints seek injunctive relief and unspecified treble damages. These cases were consolidated and are currently pending in the federal district court of the District of Columbia for coordinated or consolidated pretrial proceedings. (In re: Rail Freight Fuel Surcharge Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1869). Consolidated amended class action complaints were filed against BNSF Railway and three other Class I railroads in April 2008. On June 21, 2012, the court certified the class sought by the plaintiffs. As a result, with some exceptions, rail customers who paid a fuel surcharge on non-Surface Transportation Board regulated traffic between July 2003 and December 2008, are part of a class that, subject to appeal, can be tried jointly in a single case. BNSF Railway and the other three Class I railroads have appealed the class-certification decision. The Company believes that these claims are without merit and continues to defend against the allegations vigorously. The Company does not believe that the outcome of these proceedings will have a material effect on its financial condition, results of operations or liquidity.
Information concerning certain pending tax-related administrative or adjudicative state proceedings or appeals is incorporated by reference from Note 7 to the Consolidated Financial Statements, and information concerning other claims and litigation is incorporated by reference from Note 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity,
Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
All of the membership interests in Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC are owned by a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. and therefore are not traded on any market.
Item 7. Management’s Narrative Analysis of Results of Operations
Management’s narrative analysis relates to the results of operations of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC and its majority-owned subsidiaries (collectively BNSF, Registrant or Company). The principal operating subsidiary of BNSF is BNSF Railway Company (BNSF Railway) through which BNSF derives substantially all of its revenues. The following narrative analysis should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements and the accompanying notes.
The following narrative analysis of results of operations includes a brief discussion of the factors that materially affected the Company’s operating results in the year ended December 31, 2012, and a comparative analysis of the year ended December 31, 2011.
Results of Operations
The following tables present BNSF’s revenue information by business group:
Freight revenues include both revenue for transportation services and fuel surcharges. BNSF’s fuel surcharge program is intended to recover its incremental fuel costs when fuel prices exceed a threshold fuel price. Fuel surcharges are calculated differently depending on the type of commodity transported. BNSF has two standard fuel surcharge programs - Percent of Revenue and Mileage-Based. In addition, in certain commodities, fuel surcharge is calculated using a fuel price from a time period that can be up to 60 days earlier. In a period of volatile fuel prices or changing customer business mix, changes in fuel expense and fuel surcharge may significantly differ.
The following table presents fuel surcharge and fuel expense information (in millions):
a Total fuel expense includes locomotive and non-locomotive fuel as well as gains and losses from fuel derivatives, which do not impact the fuel surcharge program.
Year Ended December 31, 2012 vs. Year Ended December 31, 2011
Revenues for the year ended December 31, 2012, were $20,835 million, up 7 percent compared with the year ended December 31, 2011. The increase in revenues is due to the following changes in underlying trends in revenues:
In addition to an increase in average revenue per car / unit, the following changes in underlying trends in volumes also impacted the change in revenues:
The following table presents BNSF’s expense information (in millions):
Operating expenses for the year ended December 31, 2012, were $14,823 million, an increase of $585 million, or 4 percent, as compared with the year ended December 31, 2011. A significant portion of this increase is due to the following changes in underlying trends in expenses:
To the extent that statements made by the Company relate to the Company’s future economic performance or business outlook, projections or expectations of financial or operational results, or refer to matters that are not historical facts, such statements are “forward-looking” statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws.
Forward-looking statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties, and actual performance or results may differ materially. For a discussion of material risks and uncertainties that the Company faces, see the discussion in Item 1A, “Risk Factors,” of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include, but are not limited to, the following:
The Company cautions against placing undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which reflect its current beliefs and are based on information currently available to it as of the date a forward-looking statement is made. The Company undertakes no obligation to revise forward-looking statements to reflect future events, changes in circumstances, or changes in beliefs. In the event the Company does update any forward-looking statement, no inference should be made that the Company will make additional updates with respect to that statement, related matters, or any other forward-looking statements.
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
Commodity Price Sensitivity
Historically, the Company has used derivative financial instruments to address market risk exposure to fluctuations in interest rates and the risk of volatility in its fuel cost; however, as of December 31, 2012, there are no outstanding derivative instruments.
At December 31, 2012, BNSF maintained fuel inventories for use in normal operations, which were not material to BNSF’s overall financial position and, therefore, represent no significant market exposure. The frequency of BNSF’s fuel inventory turnover also reduces market exposure, should fuel inventories become material to BNSF’s overall financial position. Further information on fuel derivatives is incorporated by reference from Note 6 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Interest Rate Sensitivity
At December 31, 2012, the fair value of BNSF’s debt, excluding capital leases and unamortized gains on interest rate swaps, was $15,291 million.
The following table is an estimate of the impact to the fair value of total debt, excluding capital leases and unamortized gains on interest rate swaps, that could result from hypothetical interest rate changes during the twelve-month period ending December 31, 2013, based on debt levels as of December 31, 2012:
Further information on interest rate hedges is incorporated by reference from Note 6 to the Consolidated Financial Statements. Information on the Company’s debt, which may be sensitive to interest rate fluctuations, is incorporated by reference from Note 13 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
The Consolidated Financial Statements of BNSF and subsidiary companies, together with the report of the Company’s independent registered public accounting firm, are included as part of this filing.
The following documents are filed as a part of this report:
Consolidated Financial Statements
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
To the Board of Managers and Member of
Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC and subsidiaries (the "Company") as of December 31, 2012 and 2011, and the related consolidated statements of income, comprehensive income, changes in equity, and cash flows for each of the years in the periods ended December 31, 2012 and 2011, and for the periods from February 13, 2010 through December 31, 2010 (Successor) and January 1, 2010 through February 12, 2010 (Predecessor). These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company's management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on these financial statements based on our audits.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States). Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement. The Company is not required to have, nor were we engaged to perform, an audit of its internal control over financial reporting. Our audits included consideration of internal control over financial reporting as a basis for designing audit procedures that are appropriate in the circumstances, but not for the purpose of expressing an opinion on the effectiveness of the Company's internal control over financial reporting. Accordingly, we express no such opinion. An audit also includes examining, on a test basis, evidence supporting the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements, assessing the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall financial statement presentation. We believe that our audits provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.
In our opinion, such consolidated financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC and subsidiaries as of December 31, 2012 and 2011, and the results of their operations and their cash flows for each of the years in the periods ended December 31, 2012 and 2011, and for the periods from February 13, 2010 through December 31, 2010 (Successor) and January 1, 2010 through February 12, 2010 (Predecessor) in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.
/s/ DELOITTE & TOUCHE LLP
Fort Worth, Texas
March 1, 2013
Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Income
See accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income
See accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Balance Sheets
See accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
See accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Changes in Equity
Dollars in millions, shares in thousands, except per share data
See accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC and Subsidiaries
Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements
1. The Company
Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC (BNSF or the Company) is a holding company that conducts no operating activities and owns no significant assets other than through its interests in its subsidiaries. BNSF’s principal, wholly-owned subsidiary is BNSF Railway Company (BNSF Railway), which operates one of the largest railroad networks in North America with approximately 32,500 route miles (excluding multiple main tracks, yard tracks and sidings) in 28 states and two Canadian provinces. Through one operating transportation services segment, BNSF Railway transports a wide range of products and commodities including the transportation of Consumer Products, Industrial Products, Coal and Agricultural Products, derived from manufacturing, agricultural and natural resource industries, which constituted 33 percent, 25 percent, 24 percent and 18 percent, respectively, of total freight revenues for the year ended December 31, 2012 (Successor). These Consolidated Financial Statements include BNSF, BNSF Railway and other majority-owned subsidiaries, all of which are separate legal entities.
Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation was incorporated in the State of Delaware on December 16, 1994. As further discussed in Note 5 to the Consolidated Financial Statements, on February 12, 2010, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., a Delaware corporation (Berkshire), acquired 100% of the outstanding shares of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation common stock that it did not already own. The acquisition was completed through the merger (the Merger) of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation with and into R Acquisition Company, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company and an indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire (Merger Sub), with Merger Sub continuing as the surviving entity. In connection with the Merger, Merger Sub changed its name to “Burlington Northern Santa Fe, LLC” and remains an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire.
Berkshire’s cost of acquiring BNSF has been pushed-down to establish a new accounting basis for BNSF beginning as of February 13, 2010. Accordingly, the accompanying consolidated financial statements are presented for two periods, Predecessor and Successor, which relate to the accounting periods preceding and succeeding the completion of the Merger. The Predecessor and Successor periods have been separated by a vertical line on the face of the consolidated financial statements to highlight the fact that the financial information for such periods has been prepared under two different historical-cost basis of accounting. Earnings per share data is not presented because BNSF has no outstanding issued stock or membership interests to the public.
2. Significant Accounting Policies
Principles of Consolidation
The Consolidated Financial Statements include the accounts of BNSF, including its principal subsidiary BNSF Railway. All intercompany accounts and transactions have been eliminated. The Company evaluates its less than majority-owned investments for consolidation pursuant to authoritative accounting guidance related to the consolidation of variable interest entities (VIEs). The Company consolidates a VIE when it possesses both the power to direct the activities of the VIE that most significantly impact its economic performance and when the Company is either obligated to absorb the losses that could potentially be significant to the VIE or the Company holds the right to receive benefits from the VIE that could potentially be significant to the VIE.
Use of Estimates
The preparation of financial statements in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America (GAAP) requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities and disclosure of contingent assets and liabilities at the date of the financial statements and the reported amounts of revenues and expenses during the periods presented. These estimates and assumptions are periodically reviewed by management. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
Transportation revenues are recognized based upon the proportion of service provided as of the balance sheet date, with related expenses recognized as incurred. Revenues from ancillary services are recognized when performed. Customer incentives, which are primarily provided for shipping a specified cumulative volume or shipping to/from specific locations, are recorded as a reduction to revenue on a pro-rata basis based on actual or projected future customer shipments. When using projected shipments, the Company relies on historic trends as well as economic and other indicators to estimate the liability for customer incentives.
Accounts Receivable, Net
Accounts receivable, net includes accounts receivable reduced by an allowance for bill adjustments and uncollectible accounts. The allowance for bill adjustments and uncollectible accounts is based on historical experience as well as any known trends or uncertainties related to customer billing and account collectibility. Allowances for uncollectible accounts are charged off when it is determined that the counterparty will be unable to pay based on the contractual terms of the receivables.
Cash and Cash Equivalents
All short-term investments with original maturities of 90 days or less are considered cash equivalents. Cash equivalents are stated at cost, which approximates market value because of the short maturity of these instruments.
Materials and Supplies
Materials and supplies, which consist mainly of rail, ties and other items for construction and maintenance of property and equipment, as well as diesel fuel, are valued at the lower of average cost or market.
Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets and Liabilities
Goodwill is the excess of the cost of an acquired entity over the net of the amounts assigned to assets acquired and liabilities assumed.
Goodwill is tested for impairment annually or more frequently if events or circumstances indicate that the carrying amount may not be recoverable. The impairment test involves a two-step process. The first step is to estimate the fair value of the reporting unit through discounting projected future net cash flows. If the carrying amount of a reporting unit, including goodwill, exceeds the estimated fair value, a second step is performed. Under the second step, the identifiable assets and liabilities, including identifiable intangible assets and liabilities, of the reporting unit are estimated at fair value as of the current testing date. The excess of the estimated fair value of the reporting unit over the estimated fair value of net assets establishes the implied value of goodwill. If the carrying amount of goodwill exceeds the implied value of goodwill, an impairment loss is recognized in an amount equal to that excess.
Other intangible assets and liabilities are amortized based on the estimated pattern in which the economic benefits are expected to be consumed or on a straight-line basis over their estimated economic lives. Other intangible assets and liabilities are reviewed for impairment when events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount may not be recoverable or realized.
See Note 10 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further information related to goodwill and other intangible assets and liabilities.
Property and Equipment, Net
BNSF’s railroad operations are highly capital intensive and its large base of homogeneous, network-type assets turns over on a continuous basis. Each year BNSF develops a capital program for the replacement of assets and for the acquisition or construction of assets that enables BNSF to enhance the efficiency of operations, gain strategic benefit or provide new service offerings to customers. Assets purchased or constructed throughout the year are capitalized if they meet applicable minimum units of property criteria.
Normal repairs and maintenance are charged to operating expense as incurred, while costs incurred that extend the useful life of an asset, improve the safety of BNSF’s operations, or improve operating efficiency are capitalized.
Property and equipment are stated at cost and are depreciated and amortized on a straight-line basis over their estimated useful lives. Upon application of acquisition method accounting at the Merger date, property and equipment were measured at fair value to establish a new historical cost basis. The Company uses the group method of depreciation in which a single depreciation rate is applied to the gross investment in a particular class of property, despite differences in the service life or salvage value of individual property units within the same class. The Company conducts studies of depreciation rates and the required accumulated depreciation balance as required by the Surface Transportation Board (STB), which is generally every three years for equipment property and every six years for track structure and other roadway property. These detailed studies form the basis for our depreciation methods used in accordance with GAAP. There are no differences between assumptions used in determining average service lives between STB reporting and GAAP.
Depreciation studies take into account the following factors:
Changes in the estimated service lives of the assets and their related depreciation rates are implemented prospectively. Currently, BNSF is not aware of any specific factors that would cause significant changes in average useful service lives.
Under group depreciation, the historical cost net of salvage of depreciable property that is retired or replaced in the ordinary course of business is charged to accumulated depreciation and no gain or loss is recognized. This historical cost of certain assets is estimated as it is impracticable to track individual, homogeneous network-type assets. Historical costs are estimated by deflating current costs using the Producer Price Index (PPI). The PPI was selected because it closely correlates with the major costs of the items comprising the asset classes. Because of the number of estimates inherent in the depreciation and retirement processes and because it is impossible to precisely estimate each of these variables until a group of property is completely retired, BNSF continually monitors the estimated service lives of its assets and the accumulated depreciation associated with each asset class to ensure its depreciation rates are appropriate.
For retirements of depreciable asset classes that do not occur in the normal course of business, a gain or loss may be recognized in operating expense if the retirement meets each of the following conditions: (i) is unusual, (ii) is material in amount, and (iii) varies significantly from the retirement profile identified through BNSF’s depreciation studies. During the three fiscal years presented, no such gains or losses were recognized due to the retirement of depreciable assets. Gains or losses from disposals of land and non-rail property are recorded at the time of their occurrence.
When BNSF purchases an asset, all costs necessary to make the asset ready for its intended use are capitalized. BNSF self-constructs portions of its track structure and rebuilds certain classes of rolling stock. Expenditures that significantly increase asset values or extend useful lives are capitalized. In addition to direct labor and material, certain indirect costs such as materials, small tools and project supervision are capitalized. Annually, a study is performed for the purpose of identifying indirect costs that clearly relate to capital projects. From those studies, an overhead application rate is developed. Indirect projects costs are then allocated to capital projects using this overhead application rate.
BNSF incurs certain direct labor, contract service and other costs associated with the development and installation of internal-use computer software. Costs for newly developed software or significant enhancements to existing software are typically capitalized. Research, preliminary project, operations, maintenance and training costs are charged to operating expense when the work is performed.
Assets held under capital leases are recorded at the lower of the net present value of the minimum lease payments or at the fair value of the leased asset at the inception of the lease. Amortization expense is computed using the straight-line method over the shorter of the estimated useful lives of the asset or the period of the related lease.
Leasehold improvements that meet capitalization criteria are capitalized and amortized on a straight-line basis over the lesser of their estimated useful lives or the remaining lease term.
Long-lived assets are reviewed for impairment when events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of an asset may not be recoverable. If impairment indicators are present and the estimated future undiscounted cash flows are less than the carrying value of the long-lived assets, the carrying value is reduced to the estimated fair value as measured by the discounted cash flows.
Planned Major Maintenance Activities
BNSF utilizes the deferral method of accounting for leased locomotive overhauls, which includes the refurbishment of the engine and related components. Accordingly, BNSF has established an asset for overhauls that have been performed. This asset, which is included in property and equipment, net in the Consolidated Balance Sheets, is amortized to expense using the straight-line method until the next overhaul is performed or the end of the lease, whichever comes first, typically between six and eight years.
Rail Grinding Costs
Upon the Merger discussed in Note 5, BNSF adopted the direct expense method of accounting for rail grinding costs, under which the Company expenses rail grinding costs as incurred.
Liabilities for environmental cleanup costs are initially recorded when BNSF’s liability for environmental cleanup is both probable and reasonably estimable. Subsequent adjustments to initial estimates are recorded as necessary based upon additional information developed in subsequent periods. Estimates for these liabilities are undiscounted.
Personal Injury Claims
Liabilities for personal injury claims are initially recorded when the expected loss is both probable and reasonably estimable. Subsequent adjustments to initial estimates are recorded as necessary based upon additional information developed in subsequent periods. Liabilities recorded for unasserted personal injury claims, including those related to asbestos, are based on information currently available. Other than the fair value adjustments recorded in the application of acquisition method accounting, as discussed in Note 5, estimates of liabilities for personal injury claims are undiscounted.
Deferred tax assets and liabilities are measured using the tax rates that apply to taxable income in the period in which the deferred tax asset or liability is expected to be realized or paid. Changes in the Company’s estimates regarding the statutory tax rate to be applied to the reversal of deferred tax assets and liabilities could materially affect the effective tax rate. Valuation allowances are established to reduce deferred tax assets if it is more likely than not that some or all of the deferred tax asset will not be realized. BNSF has not recorded a valuation allowance, as it believes that the deferred tax assets will be fully realized in the future. Investment tax credits are accounted for using the flow-through method.
The Company recognizes the tax benefit from an uncertain tax position only if it is more likely than not that the tax position will be sustained on examination by the taxing authorities, based on the technical merits of the position. The tax benefits recognized in the financial statements from such a position are measured based on the largest benefit that has a greater than fifty percent likelihood of being realized upon ultimate settlement.
BNSF is included in the U.S. consolidated federal income tax return of Berkshire beginning as of February 13, 2010. BNSF’s tax expense and liabilities have been computed on a stand alone basis, and substantially all of its current federal income taxes payable is remitted each quarter to Berkshire.
The Company recognizes the compensation expense related to the cost of employee services received in exchange for Berkshire (Successor) or BNSF (Predecessor) equity interests over the award’s vesting period based on the award’s fair value at the appropriate measurement date under authoritative accounting guidance.
Employment Benefit Plans
The Company estimates liabilities and expenses for pension and retiree health and welfare plans. Estimated amounts are based on historical information, current information and estimates regarding future events and circumstances. Significant assumptions used in the valuation of pension and/or retiree health and welfare liabilities include the expected return on plan assets, discount rate, rate of increase in compensation levels and the health care cost trend rate.
Fair Value Measurements
As defined under authoritative accounting guidance, fair value is the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability between market participants in the principal market or in the most advantageous market when no principal market exists. Adjustments to transaction prices or quoted market prices may be required in illiquid or disorderly markets in order to estimate fair value. Different valuation techniques may be appropriate under the circumstances to determine the value that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction. Market participants are assumed to be independent, knowledgeable, able and willing to transact an exchange and not under duress. Nonperformance or credit risk is considered in determining the fair value of liabilities. Considerable judgment may be required in interpreting market data used to develop the estimates of fair value. Accordingly, estimates of fair value presented herein are not necessarily indicative of the amounts that could be realized in a current or future market exchange.
The authoritative accounting guidance specifies a three-level hierarchy of valuation inputs which was established to increase consistency, clarity and comparability in fair value measurements and related disclosures.
Reclassifications and Corrections
Certain prior year amounts in the Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows have been reclassified to conform to the current presentation of capital expenditures. The reclassification did not affect previously reported results of operations, cash flows or financial position.
Certain prior year amounts in the Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows have been adjusted to correctly reflect the presentation of changes in accrued but unpaid capital items. The correction did not affect the Company's previously reported results of operations or financial position.
3. Subsequent Event
In January 2013, the Board of Managers (the Board) of the Company authorized an additional $1 billion of debt securities that may be issued pursuant to the debt shelf registration statement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), for a total of $1.75 billion that remains authorized by the Board to be issued through the SEC debt shelf registration process.
4. Accounting Pronouncements
No pronouncements materially affecting the Company's financial statements were issued during 2012.
As discussed in Note 1 to the Consolidated Financial Statements, on February 12, 2010, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation was acquired by Berkshire pursuant to the Agreement and Plan of Merger, dated as of November 2, 2009 (the Merger Agreement). Immediately prior to completion of the Merger, Berkshire and its affiliates and associates owned 76,777,029 shares of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation common stock, representing 22.5% of the total issued and outstanding shares of its common stock. As a result of the Merger, each share of common stock of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation, par value $0.01 per share, other than shares owned by Berkshire, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation or any of their respective subsidiaries, was converted into the right to receive, at the election of the stockholder (subject to the proration and reallocation procedures described in the Merger Agreement), either (i) $100.00 in cash, without interest, or (ii) a portion of a share of Berkshire Class A common stock equal to the exchange ratio, which was calculated by dividing $100.00 by the average of the daily volume–weighted average trading prices per share of Berkshire Class A common stock over the ten trading day period ending on the second full trading day prior to completion of the Merger. Fractional shares of Berkshire Class A common stock were not issued in the Merger. Instead, shares of Berkshire Class B common stock were issued in lieu of fractional shares of Berkshire Class A common stock, and cash was paid in lieu of fractional shares of Berkshire Class B common stock. Approximately 60% of the total merger consideration paid by Berkshire to stockholders of Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corporation was in the form of cash and approximately 40% was in the form of Berkshire common stock.
Between January 1 and February 12, 2010 (Predecessor), the Company incurred approximately $62 million in costs related to the Merger, which were primarily recorded in purchased services in the Consolidated Statements of Income.
The Merger was accounted for using the acquisition method under Accounting Standards Codification (ASC) Topic 805, Business Combinations. Under the acquisition method, the underlying tangible and intangible assets acquired and liabilities assumed were recorded at their respective fair values, with the excess purchase price recorded to goodwill. None of the goodwill recorded in connection with the Merger was deductible for income tax purposes. The acquisition valuation was completed at December 31, 2010, and is summarized in the following tables (in millions):
The fair value of assets acquired included accounts receivable of $808 million, consisting of the gross amount due under contracts of $862 million, less $54 million estimated to be uncollectible.
The fair value of assets acquired also included intangible assets of $2,025 million, with a weighted average amortization life of 10 years. The fair value of liabilities acquired included intangible liabilities of $2,056 million, with a weighted average amortization life of 16 years. See Note 10 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further information related to intangible assets and liabilities.
Liabilities acquired included contingencies related to casualty and environmental liabilities in the amount of $1,178 million. Casualty liabilities were measured at fair value, and environmental liabilities were measured in accordance with ASC Topic 450, Contingencies. See Note 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for further information related to casualty and environmental liabilities.
The following unaudited pro forma financial data summarizes BNSF’s results of operations as if the Merger had occurred as of January 1, 2009 (in millions):
The pro forma amounts represent BNSF’s results of operations with appropriate adjustments, which are expected to have a continuing impact, resulting from the application of acquisition method accounting. The unaudited pro forma financial data is provided for informational purposes only and is not necessarily indicative of what BNSF’s results of operations would have been if the Merger had occurred as of January 1, 2009, or the results of operations for any future periods.
6. Derivative Activities
Fuel costs represented 30 percent, 30 percent, 24 percent, and 25 percent of total operating expenses during the year ended December 31, 2012 (Successor), the year ended December 31, 2011 (Successor), the period February 13 – December 31, 2010 (Successor) and the period January 1 – February 12, 2010 (Predecessor), respectively. The Company may enter into fuel hedge instruments from time to time; however, the Company has not entered into any new derivative contracts subsequent to the Merger and all previously open derivatives expired by June 30, 2012. As of December 31, 2011, BNSF had existing fuel-derivative agreements covering approximately 36 million gallons.
The Company had formally documented the relationship between the hedging instrument and the hedged item, as well as the risk management objective and strategy for the use of the hedging instrument. This documentation included linking the derivatives that were designated as fair value or cash flow hedges to specific assets or liabilities on the balance sheet, commitments or forecasted transactions. The Company assessed at the time a derivative contract was entered into, and at least quarterly thereafter, whether the derivative item was effective in offsetting the changes in fair value or cash flows. Any change in fair value resulting from ineffectiveness, as defined by authoritative accounting guidance related to derivatives and hedging, was recognized in current period earnings. For derivative instruments that were designated and qualified as cash flow hedges, the effective portion of the gain or loss on the derivative instrument was recorded in accumulated other comprehensive loss (AOCL) as a separate component of equity and reclassified into earnings in the period during which the hedge transaction affects earnings. Cash flows related to fuel and interest rate derivatives are classified as operating activities in the Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows.
The maximum amount of loss the Company could have incurred from credit risk based on the gross fair value of derivative instruments in asset positions and the Company's net asset exposure to counterparty credit risk was $24 million as of December 31, 2011. As of December 31, 2011, the amount recorded for derivative transactions, net of any master netting arrangements, was the same amount as derivative positions presented gross of any master netting arrangements.
The table below contains a summary of all derivative positions reported in the Consolidated Financial Statements, presented gross of any master netting arrangements (in millions):
a No portion of the gain or (loss) was excluded from the assessment of hedge effectiveness for the periods then ended.
The Company utilized a market approach using the forward commodity price for the periods hedged to value its fuel-derivative swaps and costless collars. As such, the fair values of these instruments were classified as Level 2 valuations under authoritative accounting guidance related to fair value measurements.
Additional disclosure related to derivative instruments is included in Note 18 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
From time to time, the Company enters into various interest rate derivative transactions for the purpose of managing exposure to fluctuations in interest rates by establishing rates in anticipation of both future debt issuances and the refinancing of leveraged leases, as well as converting a portion of its fixed-rate, long-term debt to floating-rate debt. The Company has previously used and may use interest rate swaps and treasury locks as part of its interest rate risk management strategy.
Fair Value Interest Rate Hedges
The Company entered into interest rate swaps to convert fixed-rate long-term debt to floating-rate debt. These swaps were accounted for as fair value hedges under authoritative accounting guidance related to derivatives and hedging. Upon application of acquisition method accounting due to the Merger, the outstanding swaps were re-designated as fair value hedges. However, the swaps no longer qualified for the short-cut method of recognition; therefore, effectiveness was measured at least quarterly and any resulting ineffectiveness was recognized in current period earnings.
The gain or loss on the fair value hedges as well as the offsetting loss or gain on the hedged items (fixed-rate debt) attributable to the hedged risk were recorded in current earnings. The Company included the gain or loss on the fixed-rate debt in the same line item (interest expense) as the offsetting loss or gain on the related interest rate swaps as follows (in millions):
In July 2010, BNSF unwound four interest rate swaps, due 2018, resulting in a recognized gain of $45 million, which will be amortized as a reduction of interest expense over the remaining term of these notes.
As of December 31, 2012, 2011 and 2010, BNSF had no outstanding interest rate swaps.
7. Income Taxes
Income tax expense was as follows (in millions):
Reconciliation of the U.S. federal statutory income tax rate to the effective tax rate was as follows: