Economic and political risks, including Brexit, US tax reforms and policy, EU, conflicts and other

Koninklijke Philips N.V. – Annual report – 31 December 2017

Industry: manufacturing

6 Risk management (extract)

6.3 Strategic risks (extract)

As Philips’ business is global, its operations are exposed to economic and political developments in countries across the world that could adversely impact its financial condition and results.

Philips’ business environment is influenced by political and economic conditions in individual and global markets. Financial markets generally showed a stable, favorable performance during 2017 with market volatility at an all-time low; towards the end of 2017 concerns emerged about potential bubbles in some financial markets. Economic growth in China seems to have stabilized. The European Union started to show clear economic growth in 2017 and so far seems unaffected by the lack of progress in the Brexit process. Political uncertainty remains a driver of potential risks in Europe. The weakened government in Great Britain continues to struggle with the Brexit negotiations. The US economy continued to perform well during 2017, but the initial optimism following the start of the new US administration in 2017 has slacked off. The long awaited US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was only presented at the end of 2017 and it is uncertain what the impact of this tax reform will be. The US dollar lost strength versus the euro and Japanese yen during the second half of 2017; there is considerable uncertainty about the potential impact of the US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on the strength of the US dollar. Both Brexit and the policies of the US administration may have significant impact on international trade tariffs and customs laws. Driven by political conflicts, 2017 showed further increases in the quantity and severity of cyber-attacks; some attacks (e.g. WannaCry) affected many countries and public and private organizations. The favourable macroeconomic outlook for the main geographies could quickly reverse due to political conflicts, the unknown impact of changes in US and Eurozone monetary policy and changes in government policies. Uncertainty remains as to the levels of (public) capital expenditures in general, unemployment levels and consumer and business confidence, which could adversely affect demand for products and services offered by Philips.

The general global political environment remains unfavorable for the business environment due to continued political conflicts and terrorism. Numerous other factors, such as regional political conflicts in the Middle East, Turkey, Korean peninsula and other regions, as well as large-scale (in)voluntary migration and profound social instability could continue to impact macroeconomic factors and the international capital and credit markets. It remains difficult to predict changes in, among others, US foreign policy, healthcare and trade and tax laws, the impact of which cannot be predicted. Uncertainty on the timing and the nature of Brexit may adversely affect economic growth and the business environment in the United Kingdom and the European Union. Economic and political uncertainty may have a material adverse impact on Philips’ financial condition or results of operations and can also make it more difficult for Philips to budget and forecast accurately. Political instability may have an adverse impact on financial markets which could have a negative impact on the timing and revenues of the sale of the remaining interests in Lighting and the access of Philips to funding. Philips may encounter difficulty in planning and managing operations due to the lack of adequate infrastructure and unfavorable political factors, including unexpected legal or regulatory changes such as foreign exchange import or export controls, increased healthcare regulation, nationalization of assets or restrictions on the repatriation of returns from foreign investments. Given that growth in emerging market countries is correlated to US, Chinese and European economic growth and that such emerging market countries are increasingly important in Philips’ operations, the above-mentioned risks are also expected to grow and could have a material adverse effect on Philips’ financial condition and results

 

 

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