Philips is exposed to a variety of treasury risks and other financial risks including liquidity risk, currency risk, interest rate risk, commodity price risk, credit risk, country risk and other insurable risk.
Negative developments impacting the global liquidity markets could affect the ability of Philips to raise or re-finance debt in the capital markets or could lead to significant increases in the cost of such borrowing in the future. If the markets expect a downgrade or downgrades by the rating agencies or if such a downgrade has actually taken place, it could increase the cost of borrowing, reduce our potential investor base and adversely affect our business.
Philips is exposed to fluctuations in exchange rates, especially between the US dollar and the euro. A high percentage of its business volume is conducted in the US but based on exports from Europe, whilst, a considerable amount of US dollar - denominated imports is also sold in Europe. A weakening of the US dollar versus the euro would have an adverse effect on reported earnings of the company. In addition, Philips is exposed to the fluctuation in exchange rates of other currencies such as the Japanese yen and currencies of growth geographies such as China, India and Brazil.
The credit risk of financial and non-financial counterparties with outstanding payment obligations creates exposures for Philips, particularly in relation to accounts receivable with customers and liquid assets and fair values of derivatives and insurance receivables contracts with financial counterparties. A default by counterparties in such transactions can have a material adverse effect on Philips’ financial condition and operating results.
Philips’ supply chain is exposed to fluctuations in energy and raw material prices. Commodities such as oil are subject to volatile markets and significant price increases from time to time. If Philips is not able to compensate for, or pass on, its increased costs to customers, such price increases could have an adverse impact on its financial condition and operating results.
Philips is exposed to interest rate risk, particularly in relation to its long-term debt position; this risk can take the form of either fair value or cash flow risk. Failure to effectively hedge this risk can impact Philips’ financial condition and operating results.
For further analysis, please refer to note (35) Details of treasury / other financial risks.
Philips is exposed to a number of different fiscal uncertainties which could have a significant impact on local tax results.
Philips is exposed to a number of different tax uncertainties which could result in double taxation, penalties and interest payments. These include transfer pricing uncertainties on internal cross-border deliveries of goods and services, tax uncertainties related to acquisitions and divestments, tax uncertainties related to the use of tax credits and permanent establishments, tax uncertainties due to losses carried forward and tax credits carried forward and potential changes in tax law that could result in higher tax expense and payments. Those uncertainties may have a significant impact on local tax, results which in turn could adversely affect Philips’ financial condition and operating results.
The value of the losses carried forward is subject to having sufficient taxable income available within the loss-carried-forward period, but also to having sufficient taxable income within the foreseeable future in the case of losses carried forward with an indefinite carry-forward period. The ultimate realization of the Company’s deferred tax assets, including tax losses and credits carried forward, is dependent upon the generation of future taxable income in the countries where the temporary differences, unused tax losses and unused tax credits were incurred and during the periods in which the deferred tax assets become deductible. Additionally, in certain instances, realization of such deferred tax assets is dependent upon the successful execution of tax planning strategies. Accordingly, there can be no absolute assurance that all (net) tax losses and credits carried forward will be realized.
For further details, please refer to the fiscal risks paragraph in note (5) Income taxes.
Philips has defined-benefit pension plans in a number of countries. The funded status and the cost of maintaining these plans are influenced by movements in financial market and demographic developments, creating volatility in Philips’ financials.
A significant proportion of employees in Europe and North America is covered by defined-benefit pension plans. The accounting for defined-benefit pension plans requires management to make estimates on discount rates, inflation, longevity and expected rates of compensation. Movements (e.g. due to the movements of financial markets) in these assumptions can have a significant impact on the Defined Benefit Obligation and pension cost. A negative performance of the financial markets could have a material impact on cash funding requirements and pension costs and also affect the value of certain financial assets and liabilities of the company.
Philips is exposed to a number of reporting risks.
A risk rating is assigned for each risk identified, based on the likelihood of occurrence and the potential impact of the risk on the financial statements and related disclosures. In determining the probability that a risk will result in a misstatement of a more than inconsequential amount or material nature, the following factors are considered to be critical: complexity of the associated accounting activity or transaction process, history of accounting and reporting errors, likelihood of significant (contingent) liabilities arising from activities, exposure to losses, existence of a related party transaction, volume of activity and homogeneity of the individual transactions processed and changes to the prior period in accounting characteristics compared to the previous period.
Important critical reporting risk areas identified within Philips following the risk assessment are:
- complex accounting for sales-related accruals, warranty provisions, tax assets and liabilities, pension benefits, and business combinations
- complex sales transactions relating to multi-element deliveries (combination of goods and services)
- valuation procedures with respect to assets (including goodwill and inventories)
- significant (contingent) liabilities such as environmental claims and other litigation
- outsourcing of high volume/homogeneous transactional finance and IT operations to third-party service providers
- employee post-retirement benefits (as described separately)