Basis of Presentation, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and Nature of Operations
|12 Months Ended|
Dec. 31, 2019
|Basis of Presentation, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and Nature of Operations|
|Note 1. Basis of Presentation, Summary of Significant Accounting Policies and Nature of Operations||
The Company was formed on October 6, 2006, when Thorium Power, Ltd., which was incorporated in the state of Nevada on February 2, 1999, merged with Thorium Power, Inc., (“TPI”), which was incorporated in the state of Delaware on January 8, 1992 (subsequently and collectively referred to as “we” or the “Company”). On September 29, 2009, the Company changed its name from Thorium Power, Ltd. to Lightbridge Corporation and began its focus on developing and commercializing metallic nuclear fuels. The Company is a nuclear fuel technology company developing and commercializing next generation nuclear fuel technology.
Reverse Stock Split
Effective October 21, 2019, the Company conducted a one-for-twelve reverse stock split of our issued and outstanding common stock and have retroactively adjusted our common shares outstanding, stock options, warrants amounts outstanding and per share information contained in these consolidated financial statements.
The one-for-twelve reverse stock split automatically converted every twelve shares of the Company’s outstanding common stock prior to the effectiveness of the reverse stock split into one share of common stock. As a result, the number of common shares issued and outstanding at December 31, 2018 decreased from 32,862,090 shares to 2,738,508 shares. Our authorized capital of 100,000,000 shares of common stock with a par value of $0.001, was decreased to 8,333,333 shares of common stock authorized with a par value of $0.001. Accordingly, stockholders’ equity reflects the reverse stock split by reclassifying from common stock to additional paid-in capital in an amount equal to the par value of the decreased shares resulting from the reverse stock split. The par value per share was not adjusted as a result of the one-for-twelve reverse stock split.
No fractional shares were issued in the reverse stock split. Stockholders who would have otherwise held fractional shares received a whole share in respect of such fractional shares. The reverse stock split did not impact any stockholder’s percentage ownership of the Company, subject to the treatment of fractional shares. The reverse stock split was undertaken to increase the market price per share of the Company’s common stock to allow the Company to regain compliance with the Nasdaq continued listing standards relating to minimum closing bid price per share requirements.
Basis of presentation
Going Concern and Liquidity
These consolidated financial statements have been prepared on the assumption that the Company is a going concern, which contemplates the realization of its assets and the settlement of its liabilities in the normal course of operations. At December 31, 2019, the Company had approximately $18.0 million in cash and had a working capital surplus of approximately $18.1 million. The Company’s net cash used in operating activities during the year ended December 31, 2019 was approximately $6.7 million, and current projections indicate that the Company will have continued negative cash flows until the commercialization of its nuclear fuel. Net losses incurred for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 amounted to approximately $(10.6) million, $(15.7) million, respectively. As of December 31, 2019, the Company has an accumulated deficit of approximately $114.1 million, representative of recurring losses since inception. The Company has incurred recurring losses since inception because it is a development stage nuclear fuel development company. The Company expects to continue to incur losses due to future costs and expenses related to the Company’s research and development expenses and general and administrative expenses.
While the Company’s cash at December 31, 2019 exceeds its budgeted expenditures by approximately $4.0 million through the first quarter of 2021, there is only a small margin for miscalculations in meeting the Company’s budget estimates 12 months from the issuance of these financial statements. Accordingly, budget variances in the projection of the Company’s planned operations, plus any additional expenditures that may result from potential additional legal costs and other unexpected fees and outcomes relating to arbitration with its joint venture partner (see Note 11. Subsequent Events), raise substantial doubt about the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.
The amount of cash and cash equivalents on the balance sheet as of the date of this filing is approximately $16.5 million. The Company also may consider other plans to fund operations including: (1) raising additional capital through equity issuances, debt financings; (2) additional funding through new relationships to help fund future research and development costs; and (3) other sources of capital. The Company may issue securities, including common stock, preferred stock, and stock purchase contracts through private placement transactions or registered public offerings, pursuant to its registration statement on Form S-3 filed with the SEC on March 15, 2018 and declared effective on March 23, 2018. There can be no assurance as to the availability or terms upon which financing and capital might be available. The Company’s future liquidity needs, and ability to address those needs, will largely be determined by the success of the development of its nuclear fuel, key nuclear development and regulatory events, and its business decisions in the future. These consolidated financial statements do not include any adjustments related to the carrying values and classifications of assets and liabilities that would be necessary, should the Company be unable to continue as a going concern.
Equity Method Investment – Enfission, LLC - Joint Venture with Framatome Inc.
In January 2018, Lightbridge and Framatome Inc., a subsidiary of Framatome SAS (formerly part of AREVA SAS), finalized and launched Enfission, LLC (“Enfission”), a 50-50 joint venture company, to develop, license, and sell nuclear fuel assemblies based on Lightbridge-designed metallic fuel technology and other advanced nuclear fuel intellectual property. Framatome SAS and Framatome Inc. (collectively “Framatome”) is a global leader in designing, building, servicing, and fueling reactor fleet and advancing nuclear energy and is majority owned by Électricité de France, the world’s largest owner and operator of nuclear power plants. Lightbridge and Framatome began joint fuel development and regulatory licensing work under previously signed agreements initiated in March 2016. The joint venture, Enfission, is a Delaware-based limited liability company that was formed on January 24, 2018.
Management has determined that its investment in Enfission should be accounted for under the equity method of accounting. Under the equity method of accounting, an investee company’s accounts are not reflected within the Company’s consolidated balance sheets and consolidated statements of operations; however, the Company’s share of the losses of the investee company is reported in the “Equity in loss from joint venture” line item in the consolidated statements of operations, and the Company’s carrying value in an equity method investee company is reported in the “Investment in joint venture” or “Investee losses in excess of investment” line item in the consolidated balance sheets.
The Company allocates income or loss utilizing the hypothetical liquidation book value (“HLBV”) method, based on the change in each JV member’s claim on the net assets of the JV’s operating agreement at period end after adjusting for any distributions or contributions made during such period. The Company uses this method because of the difference between the distribution rights and priorities set forth in the Enfission operating agreement and what is reflected by the underlying percentage ownership interests of the joint venture.
The Company evaluates on a quarterly basis, whether our investment accounted for under the equity method of accounting has an other than temporary impairment (“OTTI”). An OTTI occurs when the estimated fair value of an investment is below the carrying value and the difference is determined not likely to be recoverable. This evaluation requires significant judgment regarding, but not limited to, the severity and duration of the impairment; the ability and intent to hold the security until recovery; financial condition, liquidity, and near-term prospects of the issuer; specific events; and other factors.
Accounting Policies and Pronouncements
Basis of Consolidation
These consolidated financial statements include the accounts of Lightbridge, a Nevada corporation, and our wholly-owned subsidiaries, TPI, a Delaware corporation, and Lightbridge International Holding LLC, a Delaware limited liability company. These wholly-owned subsidiaries are inactive. All significant intercompany transactions and balances have been eliminated in consolidation.
The Company owns a 50% interest in Enfission; accounted for using the equity method of accounting (see Note 3. Investment in Joint Venture (Investee Losses in Excess of Investment)). Enfission is deemed to be a variable interest entity (“VIE”) under the VIE model of consolidation because it does not have sufficient funds to finance its operations. The Company has determined that it is not the primary beneficiary of the VIE since it does not have the power to direct the activities that most significantly impact the VIE’s performance.
In determining whether the Company is the primary beneficiary and whether it has the right to receive benefits or the obligation to absorb losses that could potentially be significant to the VIE, the Company evaluates all its economic interests in the entity, regardless of form. This evaluation considers all relevant factors of the entity’s structure including the entity’s capital structure, contractual rights to earnings (losses) as well as other contractual arrangements that have potential to be economically significant. The Company is not the primary beneficiary since the major decision making for all significant economic activities require the approval of both the Company and Framatome. The significant economic activities identified were financing activities, research and development activities, licensing activities, manufacturing of fuel assembly product activities, and marketing and sales activities. The evaluation of each of these factors in reaching a conclusion about the potential significance of our economic interests and control is a matter that requires the exercise of management judgment.
Use of Estimates and Assumptions
The preparation of these consolidated financial statements, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America, 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 revenue and expenses during the reporting period. Actual results could differ from those estimates.
These accompanying consolidated financial statements include some amounts that are based on management’s best estimates and judgments. The most significant estimates relate to valuation of stock grants and stock options, impairment evaluation of the equity method investment, the valuation allowance on deferred tax assets, and contingent liabilities. It is reasonably possible that these above-mentioned estimates and others may be adjusted as more current information becomes available, and any adjustment could be significant in future reporting periods. It is also reasonably possible that the actual grant date value of the stock options vested might have been materially different than the estimated value.
Fair Value of Financial Instruments
The Company’s consolidated financial instruments consist principally of cash and cash equivalents, accounts receivable, and accounts payable. The fair value of a financial instrument is the amount that would be received in an asset sale or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between unaffiliated market participants. Assets and liabilities measured at fair value are categorized based on whether the inputs are observable in the market and the degree that the inputs are observable. The categorization of financial instruments within the valuation hierarchy is based on the lowest level of input that is significant to the fair value measurement.
Certain Risks, Uncertainties and Concentrations
The Company is an early stage company and will need additional funding by way of strategic alliances, government grants, further offerings of equity securities, an offering of debt securities, or a financing through a bank in order to support the remaining research and development activities required to further enhance and complete the development of its fuel products to a commercial stage.
The Company participates in a government-regulated industry. Our operating results are affected by a wide variety of factors including decreases in the use or public favor of nuclear power, the ability of our technology to safeguard the production of nuclear power, the ability to receive the required approval from the nuclear regulatory commission for utilities to use our fuel and our ability to safeguard our patents and intellectual property from competitors. Due to these factors, the Company may experience substantial period-to-period fluctuations in our future operating results. Potentially, a loss of a key officer, key management, and other personnel could impair our ability to successfully execute our business strategy, particularly when these individuals have acquired specialized knowledge and skills with respect to nuclear power and our operations.
Our future operations and earnings may depend on the results of the Company’s operations outside the United States, including some of its research and development activities. There can be no assurance that the Company will be able to successfully continue to conduct such operations, and a failure to do so would have a material adverse effect on the Company’s research and development activities, financial position, results of operations, and cash flows. Also, the success of the Company’s operations will be subject to other numerous contingencies, some of which are beyond management’s control. These contingencies include general and regional economic conditions, competition, changes in government regulations and support for nuclear power, changes in accounting and taxation standards, inability to achieve overall long-term goals, future impairment charges, and global or regional catastrophic events. The Company may be subject to various additional political, economic, and other uncertainties.
Cash and Cash Equivalents
The Company may at times invest its excess cash in savings accounts and US Treasury Bills. It classifies all highly liquid investments with stated maturities of three months or less from date of purchase as cash equivalents and all highly liquid investments with stated maturities of greater than three months as marketable securities. The Company holds cash balances in excess of the federally insured limits of $250,000. It deems this credit risk not to be significant as cash is held by two prominent financial institutions in 2019 and 2018. The Company buys and holds short-term US Treasury Bills from Treasury Direct to maturity. US Treasury Bills totaled approximately $9.0 million and $10.0 million at December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively. The remaining $9.0 million and $14.6 million at December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively, are on deposit with one notable financial institution. Total cash and cash equivalents held, as reported on the accompanying consolidated balance sheets, totaled approximately $18.0 million and $24.6 million at December 31, 2019 and 2018, respectively.
Other Receivable from Joint Venture
The Company records its receivable from Enfission, LLC at the invoiced amount. The Company determined that no bad debt reserve needed to be recorded at December 31, 2019 and 2018.
Patents and Legal Costs
Patents are stated on the accompanying consolidated balance sheets at cost. Patent costs consist primarily of legal fees and application costs for filing and pursuing patent applications. The costs of the patents, once placed in service, will be amortized on a straight-line basis over their estimated useful lives or the remaining legal lives of the patents, whichever is shorter. The amortization periods for our patents can range between 17 and 20 years if placed into service at the beginning of their legal lives. Our patents have not been placed in service for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018.
Legal costs are expensed as incurred except for legal costs to file for patent protection, which are capitalized and reported as patents on the accompanying consolidated balance sheets.
Impairment of long-lived assets
Long-lived assets of the Company are reviewed for impairment whenever events or circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of assets may not be recoverable. The Company recognizes an impairment loss when the sum of expected undiscounted future cash flows is less than the carrying amount of the asset. The amount of impairment is measured as the difference between the asset’s estimated fair value and its book value. The Company did not consider it necessary to record any impairment charges for the years ended December 31, 2019 and 2018.
Research, Development and Related Expenses
These costs are charged to operations in the period incurred and are shown on a separate line on the accompanying consolidated statements of operations.
Government grants received in the future that are paid directly to a government entity performing the research and development work, are credited to the amounts due to that government entity during the period in which the expenditure to which they relate is incurred and are not recorded as grant income.
In 2019, the Company adopted ASU 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842), which requires recognition of most lease arrangements on the balance sheet. The Company recognizes operating lease right of use assets and liabilities at commencement date based on the present value of the future minimum lease payments over the lease term. Leases with an initial term of 12 months or less are not recorded on the consolidated balance sheet in accordance with the short-term lease recognition exemption. The Company applies the practical expedient to non-separate and non-lease components for all leases that qualify. Lease expense is recognized on a straight-line basis over the lease term. The Company has only one lease for office rent and the lease is for a term of 12 months without renewal options.
Beneficial Conversion Feature of Convertible Preferred Stock
The Company accounts for the beneficial conversion feature on its convertible preferred stock in accordance with ASC 470-20, Debt with Conversion and Other Options. The Beneficial Conversion Feature (“BCF”) of convertible preferred stock is normally characterized as the convertible portion or feature that provides a rate of conversion that is below market value or in-the-money when issued. The Company records a BCF related to the issuance of convertible preferred stock when issued. Beneficial conversion features that are contingent upon the occurrence of a future event are recorded when the contingency is resolved.
To determine the effective conversion price, the Company first allocates the proceeds received to the convertible preferred stock and then uses those allocated proceeds to determine the effective conversion price. If the convertible instrument is issued in a basket transaction (i.e. issued along with other freestanding financial instruments), the proceeds should first be allocated to the various instruments in the basket. The intrinsic value of the conversion option should be measured using the effective conversion price for the convertible preferred stock on the proceeds allocated to that instrument. The effective conversion price represents proceeds allocable to the convertible preferred stock divided by the number of shares into which it is convertible. The effective conversion price is then compared to the per share fair value of the underlying common shares on the commitment date. The accounting for a BCF requires that the BCF be recognized by allocating the intrinsic value of the conversion option to additional paid-in capital, resulting in a discount on the convertible preferred stock. This discount should be accreted from the date on which the BCF is first recognized through the earliest conversion date for instruments that do not have a stated redemption date. The intrinsic value of the BCF is recognized as a deemed dividend on convertible preferred stock over a period specified in the guidance. In the case of both the Series A and Series B preferred shares, the holders of the shares had the right to convert beginning at the date of issuance with the result that the accretion of the related BCF was recognized immediately at issuance.
When the Company’s preferred stock has dividends that are paid-in-kind (“PIK”) (i.e. the holder is paid in additional shares or liquidation/dividend rights), and either (1) neither the Company nor the holder has the option for the dividend to be paid in cash, or (2) the PIK amounts do not accrue to the holder if the instrument is converted prior to the PIK amount otherwise being accrued or due, additional BCF is recognized as dividends accrue to the extent that the per share fair value of the underlying common shares at the commitment date exceeds the conversion price.
Common Stock Warrants
The Company accounts for common stock warrants as either equity instruments or derivative liabilities depending on the specific terms of the warrant agreement. Common stock warrants are accounted for as a derivative in accordance with ASC 815, Derivatives and Hedging if the stock warrants contain terms that could potentially require “net cash settlement” and therefore, do not meet the scope exception for treatment as a derivative. Warrant instruments that could potentially require “net cash settlement” in the absence of express language precluding such settlement are initially classified as derivative liabilities at their estimated fair values, regardless of the likelihood that such instruments will ever be settled in cash.
Commitments and Contingencies
The Company follows Subtopic 450-20 of the FASB ASC to report accounting for contingencies. Certain conditions may exist as of the date the consolidated financial statements are issued, which may result in a loss to the Company, but which will only be resolved when one or more future events occur or fail to occur. The Company assesses such contingent liabilities, and such assessment inherently involves an exercise of judgment.
If the assessment of a contingency indicates that it is probable that a material loss has been incurred and the amount of the liability can be estimated, then the estimated liability would be accrued in the Company’s consolidated financial statements. If the assessment indicates that a potentially material loss contingency is not probable but is reasonably possible, or is probable but cannot be estimated, then the nature of the contingent liability, and an estimate of the range of possible losses, if determinable and material, would be disclosed.
Loss contingencies considered remote are generally not disclosed unless they involve guarantees, in which case the guarantees would be disclosed. The Company’s legal costs associated with contingent liabilities are recorded to expense as incurred.
The stock-based compensation expense incurred by Lightbridge for employees and directors in connection with its equity incentive plan is based on the employee model of ASC 718, and the fair value of the options is measured at the grant date. Under ASC 718 employee is defined as, “An individual over whom the grantor of a share-based compensation award exercises or has the right to exercise sufficient control to establish an employer-employee relationship based on common law as illustrated in case law and currently under U.S. Tax Regulations.” Our consultants do not meet the employer-employee relationship as defined by the IRS and therefore were accounted for under ASC 505-50. On July 1, 2018, the Company adopted ASU 2018-07, Compensation – Stock Compensation (Topic 718): Improvements to Nonemployee Share-Based Payment Accounting. Beginning with the adoption of ASU 2018-07 options granted to our consultants are accounted for in the same manner as options issued to employees.
Awards with service-based vesting conditions only – Expense recognized on a straight-line basis over the requisite service period of the award.
Awards with performance-based vesting conditions – Expense is not recognized until it is determined that it is probable the performance-based conditions will be met. When achievement of a performance-based condition is probable, a catch-up of expense will be recorded as if the award had been vesting on a straight-line basis from the award date. The award will continue to be expensed on a straight-line over the requisite service period basis until a higher performance-based condition is met, if applicable.
Awards with market-based vesting conditions – Expense recognized on a straight-line basis over the requisite service period, which is the lesser of the derived service period or the explicit service period if one is present. However, if the market condition is satisfied prior to the end of the requisite service period, the Company will accelerate all remaining expense to be recognized.
Awards with both performance-based and market-based vesting conditions – if an award vesting or exercisability is conditional upon the achievement of either a market condition or performance or service conditions, the requisite service period is generally the shortest of the explicit, implicit, and derived service period.
The Company has elected to use the Black-Scholes pricing model to determine the fair value of stock options on the measurement date of the grant for service-based vesting conditions and the Monte-Carlo valuation method for performance-based or market-based vesting conditions. Shares that are issued to officers on the exercise dates of their stock options may be issued net of the minimum statutory withholding requirements to be paid by us on behalf of our employees. As a result, the actual number of shares issued will be fewer than the actual number of shares exercised under the stock option.
Recently Adopted Accounting Pronouncements
ASU 2018-09, Codification Improvements — This ASU represents changes in various Subtopics to clarify, correct errors, or make minor improvements. The amendments are not expected to have a significant effect on current accounting practice. Subtopics impacted by this ASU that are relevant to the Company include Subtopic 220-10 Income Statement — Reporting Comprehensive Income-Overall, Subtopic 718-740 Compensation — Stock Compensation-Income Taxes, Subtopic 805-740 Business Combinations — Income Taxes, and Subtopic 820-10 Fair Value Measurement-Overall. Many of the amendments within this ASU do not require transition and are effective upon issuance. However, some were not effective until fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018. The amendments within this ASU did not have a material impact on the Company’s consolidated financial statements or related footnote disclosures.
In June 2018, the FASB issued ASU 2018-07, Compensation - Stock Compensation (Topic 718): Improvements to Nonemployee Share-Based Payment Accounting (“ASU 2018-07”). ASU 2018-07 expands the guidance in Topic 718 to include share-based payments for goods and services to non-employees and generally aligns it with the guidance for share-based payments to employees. The amendments are effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018, including interim periods within that fiscal year, which was adopted by the Company on July 1, 2018. The adoption of this ASU did not have a significant impact upon on the Company’s consolidated financial statements or related footnote disclosures.
Leases — In February 2016, the FASB issued ASU 2016-02, Leases (Topic 842). ASU 2016-02 amends existing lease accounting guidance and requires recognition of most lease arrangements on the balance sheet. The adoption of this standard did not result in the Company recognizing a right-of-use asset representing its rights to use the underlying asset for the lease term with an offsetting lease liability. ASU 2016-02 is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2018, with early adoption permitted. The adoption of this standard did not have a material impact on the Company’s financial position, results of operations or cash flows.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements – To Be Adopted
ASU 2018-13, Fair Value Measurement (Topic 820): Disclosure Framework — Changes to the Disclosure Requirements for Fair Value Measurement — This ASU modifies the disclosure requirements on fair value measurements in Topic 820, including the removal, modification to, and addition of certain disclosure requirements. This ASU will be effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019 with early adoption permitted. The majority of the disclosure changes are to be applied on a prospective basis. The Company does not expect this ASU to have a significant impact on the Company’s fair value disclosures and no future impact is expected to the Company’s consolidated financial statements.
Intangibles, Goodwill and Other — In January 2017, the FASB issued ASU 2017-04, Intangibles – Goodwill and Other (Topic 350) – Simplifying the Test for Goodwill Impairment. To simplify the subsequent measurement of goodwill, ASU 2017-04 eliminates Step 2 from the goodwill impairment test. In computing the implied fair value of goodwill under Step 2, an entity had to perform procedures to determine the fair value at the impairment testing date of its assets and liabilities following the procedure that would be required in determining the fair value of assets acquired and liabilities assumed in a business combination. Instead, ASU 2017-04 requires an entity to perform its annual, or interim, goodwill impairment test by comparing the fair value of a reporting unit with its carrying amount. An entity should recognize an impairment charge for the amount by which the carrying amount exceeds the reporting unit’s fair value; however, the loss recognized should not exceed the total amount of goodwill allocated to that reporting unit. ASU 2017-04 also eliminates the requirements for any reporting unit with a zero or negative carrying amount to perform a qualitative assessment and, if it fails that qualitative test, to perform Step 2 of the goodwill impairment test. Therefore, the same impairment assessment applies to all reporting units. An entity is required to disclose the amount of goodwill allocated to each reporting unit with a zero or negative carrying amount of net assets. An entity still has the option to perform the qualitative assessment for a reporting unit to determine if the quantitative impairment test is necessary. ASU 2017-04 is effective for fiscal years beginning after December 15, 2019. The Company will adopt ASU 2017-04 commencing in the first quarter of fiscal 2020. The Company does not believe this standard will have a material impact on its consolidated financial statements or related footnote disclosures.
The Company does not believe that other standards, which have been issued but are not yet effective, will have a significant impact on its consolidated financial statements.
The entire disclosure for the business description and basis of presentation concepts. Business description describes the nature and type of organization including but not limited to organizational structure as may be applicable to holding companies, parent and subsidiary relationships, business divisions, business units, business segments, affiliates and information about significant ownership of the reporting entity. Basis of presentation describes the underlying basis used to prepare the financial statements (for example, US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, Other Comprehensive Basis of Accounting, IFRS).
Reference 1: http://fasb.org/us-gaap/role/ref/legacyRef