ITOCHU Group is exposed to various risks such as market risks, credit risks and investment risks, due to the nature of a wide range of its businesses. These risks include unpredictable uncertainties and may have significant effects on its future business and financial performance.
ITOCHU Group has enhanced its risk management policy and risk management methodology to monitor and manage these risks, but it is impossible to completely avoid all these risks.
With respect to descriptions about future events, ITOCHU appropriately has determined its assumptions and estimates based on information currently available as of March 31, 2019.
(1) Risks Associated with Macroeconomic Factors and Business Model
ITOCHU Group involves a wide variety of business ranging from supply of raw materials to manufacturing and sale in each of its business areas. It conducts diverse types of commercial transactions such as purchase and sale of products in the domestic market, import/export trade between overseas affiliates as well as development of energy, metal and mineral resources. For the characteristics of the Group’s main areas of business, trade in machinery such as plants, automobiles and construction machineries, trade in mineral resources, energy and chemical products, and investments in development, they are all largely dependent on economic trends in the world, while the domestic economy has a relatively strong influence on the consumer and retail-related segments such as textiles and food. However, economic trends in the world have been more influential even on these consumer and retail-related segments, as economic globalization proceeds.
Furthermore, economic trends, not only overall worldwide economic trends but also specific regional trends, and changes in industrial structures due to rapid technological innovation in recent years could significantly affect the existing business model, financial position and results of operations of ITOCHU Group.
(2) Market Risk
ITOCHU Group is exposed to market risks such as foreign exchange rate risks, interest rate risks, commodity price risks and stock price risks. Therefore, the Group attempts to minimize risks related to market fluctuations such as changes in foreign exchange rates, interest rates, and commodities by establishing risk management policies such as setting and controlling limits and by utilizing a variety of hedge transactions for hedging purposes.
a) Foreign Exchange Rate Risk
ITOCHU Group is exposed to foreign exchange rate risk related to transactions in foreign currencies due to its significant involvement in import/export trading. Therefore, ITOCHU Group works to minimize foreign exchange rate risk through hedge transactions that utilize derivatives, such as foreign exchange forward contacts, however, cannot completely avoid such risk.
Further, ITOCHU’s investments in overseas businesses expose ITOCHU Group to the risk that fluctuations in foreign exchange rates could affect shareholders’ equity through the accounting for foreign currency translation adjustments and the risk that fluctuations in foreign exchange rates could affect the amount of periodic income when converted to yen. These foreign exchange rate risks could significantly affect the financial position and results of operations of ITOCHU Group.
b) Interest Rate Risk
ITOCHU Group is exposed to interest rate risk in both raising and using funds for investing, financing, and operating activities. Among interest insensitive assets, such as investment securities or fixed assets, the part acquired using floating interest loans is considered to be the interest mismatch amount exposed to interest rate risk. ITOCHU seeks to quantify the interest rate risk to control the fluctuation of gains and losses due to interest rate change properly.
To be specific, using the Earnings at Risk (EaR) management method, ITOCHU periodically tracks and monitors the amount of influence on interest payments due to interest rate changes. However, interest rate trends could significantly affect the financial position and results of operations of ITOCHU Group.
c) Commodity Price Risk
ITOCHU Group conducts actual demand transactions that are based on the back-to-back transactions of a variety of commodities. In some cases, the Group is exposed to commodity price fluctuation risk, because it holds long or short positions in consideration of market trends. Therefore, the Group analyzes inventories and purchase and sales contracts, and each Division Company has established middle and back offices for major commodities, which establish a balance limit and loss cut limit for each commodity, as well as conduct monitoring, management, and periodic reviews.
In addition, ITOCHU Group participates in development businesses such as mineral resources and energy and other manufacturing businesses. The production in these businesses is also exposed to the same price fluctuation risk noted above.
To reduce these commodity price risks, the Group uses such hedges as futures and forward contracts. However, ITOCHU Group cannot completely avoid commodity price risk. Therefore, commodity price trends could significantly affect the financial position and results of operations of ITOCHU Group.
d) Stock Price Risk
ITOCHU Group holds a variety of marketable equity securities, mainly to strengthen relationships with customers, suppliers, and other parties, and to secure business income, and to increase corporate value through means such as making a wide range of proposals to investees, and consequently is exposed to stock price fluctuation risk.
Therefore, using the Value at Risk (VaR) method, ITOCHU Group periodically tracks and monitors the amount of influence on consolidated shareholders’ equity. However, stock price trends could significantly affect the financial position and results of operations of ITOCHU Group.
(3) Credit Risk
Through trade receivables, loans, guarantees, and other formats, ITOCHU Group grants credit to its trading partners, both domestically and overseas. The Group, therefore, bears credit risk in relation to such receivables becoming uncollectible due to the deteriorating credit status or insolvency of the Group’s partners, and in relation to assuming responsibilities to fulfill contracts where an involved party is unable to continue its business and therefore cannot fulfill its obligations under the contracts.
Therefore, when granting credit, ITOCHU Group works to reduce risk by conducting risk management through the establishment of credit limits and the acquisition of collateral or guarantees as needed. At the same time, the Group establishes an allowance for doubtful accounts based on the creditworthiness, the status of collection, and the status of receivables in arrears of business partners. However, such management cannot completely avoid the actualization of credit risks, which could significantly affect the financial position and results of operations of ITOCHU Group.
(4) Country Risk
ITOCHU Group conducts transactions and business activities in various countries and regions overseas. The Group is exposed to country risk, including unforeseen situations arising from the political, economic and social conditions of these countries and regions and national expropriation or remittance suspension due to changes in various laws and regulations. In addition to taking appropriate countermeasures for each transaction, with the aim of avoiding a concentration of exposure, ITOCHU Group works to reduce risk by setting total limit guidelines and limits for each country and setting credit policies appropriate to each country. However, the Group cannot completely avoid such risk.
The actualization of such risk could delay or incapacitate debt collection or operational implementation and could significantly affect the financial position and results of operations of ITOCHU Group.
(5) Investment Risk
ITOCHU Group invests in various businesses and in these investment activities, there are risks such as being unable to achieve expected earnings due to changes in business conditions or deterioration in the business results of its partners and investees; the likelihood
of investment recovery is lowered due to poor corporate results of investees, or stock prices are expected to drop below a specified level for a considerable period of time, which may lead to necessities that the whole or partial investment is recognized as a loss, and that the infusion of additional funds is required. Also, there are investment risks that the Group may be unable to withdraw from a business or restructure the business under a timeframe or method that it desires due to differences in business management policy with partners or the low liquidity of investments; or the Group may be put at a disadvantage because it is unable to receive appropriate information from an investee. Therefore, ITOCHU works to reduce risk through decision making based on the establishment of investment standards for the implementation of new investments while monitoring existing investments periodically and promoting asset replacement through the application of exit standards to investments with low investment efficiency that it has little reason to hold.
However, such management cannot completely avoid the investment risks, and such occurrences could significantly affect the financial position and results of operations of ITOCHU Group.
(6) Risks Associated with Impairment Loss on Fixed Assets
ITOCHU Group is exposed to impairment loss risks on fixed assets held, such as real estate, aircraft, ships, assets related to natural resource development, goodwill and intangible assets. ITOCHU at present has recognized necessary impairment losses.
However, ITOCHU Group might be required to recognize further impairment losses should the economic value of fixed assets deteriorate due to deterioration in market conditions for each of the assets, decreased demand or changes in development plans. Such occurrences could significantly affect the financial position and results of operations of ITOCHU Group.
(7) Risks Associated with Fund-raising
ITOCHU Group procures the necessary funding for its businesses through debt from domestic and international financial institutions, as well as the issuance of commercial papers and debentures. However, should ITOCHU’s credit worthiness in the capital market deteriorate due to a significant lowering of the Company’s credit rating, or should there be an upheaval in the financial systems in major financial markets, there are risks that the Group may experience an inability to raise funds from financial institutions or investors when necessary or under desirable conditions and may consequently experience an increase in funding costs. Therefore, while securing adequate liquidity by utilizing cash deposits and commitment line, the Group has taken steps to diversify its sources of funds and methods of fundraising, however, cannot completely avoid such risks. The actualization of such risks could significantly affect the financial position and results of operations of ITOCHU Group.
(8) Risks Associated with Pension Cost and Projected Benefit Obligations
The pension cost and projected benefit obligations of ITOCHU Group are calculated based on actuarial calculations that utilize a variety of assumptions. However, should it become necessary to change the assumptions on which the actuarial calculations are based or should pension assets be affected by deterioration in the stock market, it is possible that pension cost and projected benefit obligations could increase and additional contributions to pension assets might be necessary. Such occurrences could significantly affect the financial position and results of operations of ITOCHU Group.
(9) Risks Associated with Deferred Taxes
Deferred tax assets are an important factor in ITOCHU Group’s consolidated balance sheets, and accounting judgment on evaluation of deferred tax assets has a substantial impact on ITOCHU Group’s Consolidated Financial Statements.
Therefore, ITOCHU Group recognizes the realizable amount of deferred tax assets, taking into consideration future taxable income and feasible tax planning strategies.
However, the amount of deferred tax assets may increase or decrease depending on changes in estimated taxable income in tax planning, changes in the tax system including changes in tax rates, and changes in tax planning strategies. Such occurrences could significantly affect the financial position and results of operations of ITOCHU Group.
(10) Risks Due to Competition
As ITOCHU Group handles a vast array of products and services, the Group is open to competition from many different companies, both domestic and overseas, including competition from other general trading companies. ITOCHU Group cannot deny other companies that are in a position to provide products and services that meet customer needs more than ITOCHU Group could newly emerge. Moreover, ever-greater competition from companies in newly developing countries is gradually emerging in addition to ongoing competition from companies in European and North American industrialized countries due to economic globalization. Furthermore, the competitiveness of ITOCHU Group could also be affected accompanying changes in the business environment such as deregulation and entering into other industries. The advent of such risks could significantly affect the financial position and results of operations of ITOCHU Group.
(11) Risks Associated with Significant Lawsuits
There is no significant, currently pending lawsuit, arbitration, or other legal proceeding that may significantly affect the financial position and results of the operations of ITOCHU Group.
However, there is a possibility that domestic or overseas business activities of ITOCHU Group may become subject to any of such lawsuits, arbitrations or other legal proceedings, and significantly affect the future financial position and results of operations of ITOCHU Group.
(12) Risks Associated with Laws and Regulations
ITOCHU Group is subject to a number of diverse laws and regulations both domestically and overseas due to the vast array of products and services the Group provides.
To be specific, ITOCHU Group is required to adhere to laws and regulations such as the laws for each industry, including companies act, financial instruments and exchange laws, and tax laws, as well as all laws pertaining to trade such as foreign exchange control laws, antitrust laws, intellectual property laws, environmental related laws, anti-bribery-related laws and the laws of each country in which ITOCHU Group conducts business overseas. ITOCHU Group has made every effort to observe these laws and regulations by reinforcing the compliance system, being aware that the observance of laws and regulations is a serious obligation of the Group. With all these measures, however, there is a possibility of the situation where, including personal misconduct by directors and employees, risks associated with compliance or suffering social disgrace cannot be avoided.
Also, ITOCHU cannot deny that unexpected, additional enactment or change in laws and regulations by legislative, judicial, and regulatory bodies are a possibility both domestically and overseas, and there are possibilities of major change in laws and regulations by political/economical changes. Such occurrences could significantly affect the financial position and results of operations of ITOCHU Group.
(13) Risks Associated with the Environment
ITOCHU Group has designated global environmental issues as one of the most important elements of its management policy. The Group is actively working on environmental issues. These efforts include establishing an environmental policy and building an environmental management system in order to minimize environmental risk, such as the risk of infringement of laws and regulations in the handling of goods the provision of services, and business investment. However, the occurrence of environmental pollution due to ITOCHU Group’s business activities could lead to the delay or suspension of operations, the incurring of pollution disposal expenses or expenses due to compensation for damage, or the lowering of society’s evaluation of the Group and could significantly affect the financial position and results of operations of ITOCHU Group.
(14) Risks Associated with Natural Disasters, Climate Change, and Other Factors
In the countries and regions in which ITOCHU Group conducts business activities, natural disasters, such as earthquakes, or infectious diseases, such as new types of influenza, may adversely affect its business activities. ITOCHU has implemented measures such as developing Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) for large scale disasters and the outbreak of new types of influenza, introducing a safety confirmation system, and conducting emergency drills. Also, various measures have been implemented individually in each Group company. However, since ITOCHU Group conducts business activities across a wide range of regions, when damage arises due to disasters or infectious diseases such as new types of influenza, it cannot completely avoid such damage. Therefore, such occurrences could significantly affect the financial position and results of operations of ITOCHU Group. In addition, abnormal weather arising from climate change could affect ITOCHU Group’s business activities adversely and could significantly affect the financial position and results of operations of ITOCHU Group.
(15) Risks Associated with Information Systems and Information Security
In ITOCHU Group, a code of conduct concerning the handling of information is enforced on all directors and employees and high priority is placed on maintaining a high information security level. ITOCHU Group has established and operates information systems to facilitate the sharing of information and to improve the efficiency of operations. In order to maintain a secure operation of its information systems, ITOCHU Group has established security guidelines and has developed crisis control measures considering cyber security risks.
Despite these measures, ITOCHU Group cannot completely avoid the risk of sensitive information leakage due to unauthorized access from the outside or computer viruses, and the risk of the stoppage of information systems due to equipment damage or problems with telecommunications circuitry. Depending on the scale of the damage, such occurrences could significantly affect the financial position and results of operations of ITOCHU Group.