Legal proceedings covering a range of matters are pending in various jurisdictions against Philips and its current and former group companies. Due to the uncertainty inherent in legal proceedings, it is difficult to predict the final outcome.
Philips, including a certain number of its current and former group companies, is involved in legal proceedings relating to such matters as competition issues, commercial transactions, product liability, participations and environmental pollution. Since the ultimate outcome of asserted claims and proceedings, or the impact of any claims that may be asserted in the future, cannot be predicted with certainty, Philips’ financial position and results of operations could be affected materially by adverse outcomes.
Please refer to note (26) Contingent assets and liabilities, for additional disclosure relating to specific legal proceedings.
Philips is exposed to governmental investigations and legal proceedings with regard to possible anti-competitive market practices.
Philips is facing increased scrutiny by national and European authorities of possible anti-competitive market practices. For example, Philips is one of the companies that were inspected by officials of the European Commission in December 2013. The European Commission is looking into potential restrictions on online sales of consumer electronic products and small domestic appliances. Philips is fully cooperating with the European Commission. Philips’ financial position and results could be materially affected by an adverse final outcome of governmental investigations and litigation, as well as any potential related claims.
Philips’ global presence exposes the company to regional and local regulatory rules, changes to which may affect the realization of business opportunities and investments in the countries in which Philips operates.
Philips has established subsidiaries in over 80 countries. These subsidiaries are exposed to changes in governmental regulations and unfavorable political developments, which may affect the realization of business opportunities or impair Philips’ local investments. Philips’ increased focus on the healthcare sector increases its exposure to highly regulated markets, where obtaining clearances or approvals for new products is of great importance, and where there is a dependency on the available funding for healthcare systems. In addition, changes in reimbursement policies may affect spending on healthcare.
Philips is exposed to non-compliance with General Business Principles.
Philips’ attempts to realize its growth ambitions could expose it to the risk of non-compliance with the Philips General Business Principles, such as anti-bribery provisions. This risk is heightened in growth geographies as the legal and regulatory environment is less developed in growth geographies compared to mature geographies. Examples include commission payments to third parties, remuneration payments to agents, distributors, consultants and the like, and the acceptance of gifts, which may be considered in some markets to be normal local business practice. (See also note (26) Contingent assets and liabilities.)
Defective internal controls would adversely affect our financial reporting and management process.
The reliability of reporting is important in ensuring that management decisions for steering the businesses and managing both top-line and bottom-line growth are based on top-quality data. Flaws in internal control systems could adversely affect the financial position and results and hamper expected growth.
The correctness of disclosures provides investors and other market professionals with significant information for a better understanding of Philips’ businesses. Imperfections or lack of clarity in the disclosures could create market uncertainty regarding the reliability of the data presented and could have a negative impact on the Philips share price.
The reliability of revenue and expenditure data is key for steering the business and for managing top-line and bottom-line growth. The long lifecycle of healthcare sales, from order acceptance to accepted installation, together with the complexity of the accounting rules for when revenue can be recognized in the accounts, presents a challenge in terms of ensuring there is consistency of application of the accounting rules throughout Philips Healthcare’s global business.
Philips is exposed to non-compliance with data privacy and product safety laws.
Philips’ brand image and reputation would be adversely impacted by non-compliance with various data protection and product security laws. In light of Philips digital strategy, data privacy laws are increasingly important. Also, Philips Healthcare is subject to various (patient) data protection and safety laws. In Philips Healthcare, privacy and product safety and security issues may arise, especially with respect to remote access or monitoring of patient data or loss of data on our customers’ systems.
Philips operates in a highly regulated product safety and quality environment. Philips’ products are subject to regulation by various government agencies, including the FDA (US) and comparable foreign agencies. Obtaining their approval is costly and time consuming, but a prerequisite for market introduction. A delay or inability to obtain the necessary regulatory approvals for new products could have a material adverse effect on business. The risk exists that product safety incidents or user concerns could trigger FDA business reviews which, if failed, could lead to business interruption which in turn could adversely affect Philips’ financial condition and operating results. E.g. the voluntary, temporary suspension of new production at our Healthcare facility in Cleveland, Ohio targets to further strengthen manufacturing process controls after certain issues in this area were identified during an ongoing FDA inspection.