SCHN 2017 Annual Report

SCHNITZER STEEL INDUSTRIES, INC. NOTES TO THE CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL STATEMENTS 65 / Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. Form 10-K 2017 Environmental Liabilities The Company estimates future costs for known environmental remediation requirements and accrues for them on an undiscounted basis when it is probable that the Company has incurred a liability and the related costs can be reasonably estimated but the timing of incurring the estimated costs is unknown. The Company considers various factors when estimating its environmental liabilities. Adjustments to the liabilities are recorded to selling, general and administrative expense and made when additional information becomes available that affects the estimated costs to study or remediate any environmental issues or when expenditures are made forwhich liabilitieswere established. Legal costs incurred in connectionwith environmental contingencies are expensed as incurred. When only a wide range of estimated amounts can be reasonably established and no other amount within the range is a better estimate than another, the low end of the range is recorded in the financial statements. In a number of cases, it is possible that the Company may receive reimbursement through insurance or from other potentially responsible parties for a site. In these situations, recoveries of environmental remediation costs from other parties are recognized when the claim for recovery is either realized or realizable. The amounts recorded for environmental liabilities are reviewed periodically as site assessment and remediation progresses at individual sites and adjusted to reflect additional information that becomes available. Due to evolving remediation technology, changing regulations, possible third party contributions, the subjective nature of the assumptions used and other factors, amounts accrued could vary significantly from amounts paid. See “Contingencies – Environmental” in Note 9 – Commitments and Contingencies for further detail. Loss Contingencies The Company is subject to certain legal proceedings and contingencies in addition to those related to environmental liabilities discussed above in this Note, the outcomes of which are subject to significant uncertainty. The Company accrues for estimated losses if it is probable that a liability has been incurred and the amount of the loss can be reasonably estimated. The Company uses judgment and evaluates whether a loss contingency arising from litigation or an unasserted claim should be disclosed or recorded. The outcome of legal proceedings and other contingencies is inherently uncertain and often difficult to estimate. As of August 31, 2017 and 2016, accruals for legal contingencies net of corresponding receivables from insurers were not material. Financial Instruments The Company’s financial instruments include cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable, accounts payable, and debt. The Company uses the market approach to value its financial assets and liabilities, determined using available market information. The net carrying amounts of cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable and accounts payable approximate fair value due to the short-term nature of these instruments. For long-term debt, which is primarily at variable interest rates, fair value is estimated using observable inputs (Level 2) and approximates its carrying value. Fair Value Measurements Fair value is measured using inputs from the three levels of the fair value hierarchy. Classification within the hierarchy is determined based on the lowest level input that is significant to the fair value measurement. The three levels are described as follows: • Level 1 – Unadjusted quoted prices in active markets for identical assets and liabilities. • Level 2 – Inputs other than quoted prices included within Level 1 that are observable for the determination of the fair value of the asset or liability, either directly or indirectly. • Level 3 – Unobservable inputs that are significant to the determination of the fair value of the asset or liability. When developing the fair value measurements, the Company uses quoted market prices whenever available or seeks to maximize the use of observable inputs and minimize the use of unobservable inputs when quoted market prices are not available.