Barry Callebaut AG – Annual report – 31 August 2021
Industry: food and drink
3.7 Financial risk management
The nature of its business exposes the Group to a variety of financial risks including the effects of changes in market prices (commodity prices, foreign exchange rates, and interest rates) as well as credit risks and liquidity risks.
The Group’s overall strategy for managing these risks is consistent with the Group’s objectives to maintain cost leadership, reduce earnings volatility in a cost-effective manner and minimize potential adverse effects of such market exposures on the financial performance of the Group. The Group’s sourcing centers and Treasury department continuously monitor and hedge the exposures to commodity price risk, foreign currency and interest rate risk. The Group Commodity Risk Committee (GCRC) and Finance Committee regularly reviews, and monitors, the adherence to policies and defined risk limits. The Group manages its business based on the following two business models:
- Contract business: sales contracts for cocoa ingredients and industrial or gourmet chocolate, where Barry Callebaut has entered into contracts with customers to deliver fixed quantities at fixed prices. These contractually fixed prices are generally based on the forward market prices of the raw material components valid at the contract date for the forward delivery date on which the cocoa ingredients or chocolate is planned to be delivered to the customers.
- Price list business: Barry Callebaut sets price lists for certain Gourmet, Specialties & Decorations, and Beverage products. These price lists are normally updated at intervals of six to twelve months. Customers buy products based on the issued price lists without fixed commitments on quantities.
3.7.1 Commodity price risks
a) Commodity risk management
The manufacturing of the Group’s products requires raw materials such as cocoa beans, sugar and sweeteners, dairy, nuts, oils and fats. Therefore, the Group is exposed to commodity price risks.
The Group’s sourcing centers manage the commodity risk in compliance with the Group Commodity Risk Management (GCRM) Policy. The GCRC monitors the Group’s commodity risk management activities and acts as the decision-making body for the Group in this respect. The members of the GCRC include the Group’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) who acts as Chairman of the Committee, the President of Global Cocoa, the VP Group Accounting, Reporting & Risk Management, the CFO Global Cocoa, the VP Global Cocoa Trading & Sourcing, the Head of Global Sourcing (for non-cocoa materials) and the VP Group Treasury & Tax.
The GCRC reports to the Group’s Audit, Finance, Risk, Quality & Compliance Committee (AFRQCC) and must inform the latter about key Group commodity risk issues and the key mitigation decisions taken. The AFRQCC reviews and approves GCRC requests and ensures that the commodity risk management strategy is consistent with the Group’s objectives. It also sets the Group’s Value at Risk (VaR) limit for the major raw material components. The AFRQCC makes recommendations to the Board of Directors and advises the Board of Directors on important risk matters and/or asks for approval. The Board of Directors is the highest approval authority for all GCRM matters and approves the GCRM Policy as well as the Group VaR limit.
The Group applies a 95% ten-day VaR limit to manage the consolidated exposure to commodity price risk. The VaR framework of the Group is based on the standard historical VaR methodology, taking 2,000 days (equivalent to seven years) of the most recent prices, based on which the day-to-day relative price changes are calculated. This simulation of past market conditions is not predicting the future movement in commodity prices, and therefore it does not represent actual losses. It only represents an indication of the future commodity price risks based on historical volatility. VaR is applied to materials with prices considered to exceed certain volatility levels (e.g. cocoa beans and cocoa products, dairy products, sugar and sweeteners, nuts, oils and fats). As at August 31, 2021, the Group had a total VaR for raw materials of CHF 9.3 million (2020: CHF 9.4 million), well within the Group limit. The average VaR over the fiscal year 2020/21 was CHF 8.0 million (2019/20: CHF 11.5 million). The VaR is used together with a calculation of the expected shortfall and worst cases as well as the use of stress test scenarios.
The GCRC allocates the Group VaR limit into VaR limits for cocoa and non-cocoa raw materials such as sugar, dairy, oils and fats. These two VaR limits are then allocated to limits in tonnes to the related risk reporting units for each of the two areas.
b) Cocoa price risk and the Group’s hedging strategy
The Group’s purchasing and sourcing centers make sourcing and risk management decisions for cocoa beans, semi-finished cocoa products and ingredients including hedging commodity price risk exposures. Within the overall limits as defined by the AFRQCC, the Group’s purchasing and sourcing centers can also act as a broker-trader with the objective to generate profits from fluctuations in raw material prices or broker-trader margins.
The fair value of the Group’s open sales and purchase commitments and inventory are fluctuating in line with price movements in the respective commodity markets and are therefore hedged. It is the Group’s policy to hedge its cocoa price risk resulting from its inventory and purchase and sales contracts. The cocoa price risk component in cocoa inventories, purchase and sales contracts as well as chocolate inventories and sales contracts are hedged with exchange traded or over-the-counter cocoa bean derivatives applying fair value hedge accounting. The Group also applies cash flow hedge accounting whereby the cocoa price risk and foreign exchange risk from forecasted sales are hedged with cocoa bean futures and foreign exchange forward contracts.
In order to calculate the cocoa bean price risk exposure embedded in the various cocoa ingredients and chocolate inventories, purchase and sales contracts, the cocoa processing entities translate the various cocoa ingredient volumes of these positions into cocoa bean equivalents, using technical yields (to calculate how many cocoa beans are needed to produce those cocoa ingredient volumes). These technical ratios vary according to cocoa ingredient types and cocoa-processing units. The chocolate entities calculate the bean equivalent in their positions using the prevailing market/commercial ratios. The entities use this approach and these ratios to enter into the appropriate volume of hedging instruments in order to hedge the cocoa bean price risk component in their positions. The Group also uses the same hedging ratios in hedge accounting as described above.
The cocoa bean price risk component is contractually specified in the purchase and sales contracts of cocoa ingredients and chocolate products. Therefore, the cocoa bean price risk component is considered separately identifiable and reliably measurable in the Group’s hedged items (cocoa ingredients purchase contracts, cocoa inventories, chocolate inventories, cocoa ingredients sales contracts and chocolate sales contracts) as well as in its hedging instruments (cocoa bean futures and other contracts accounted for as derivatives).
c) Sugar price risk hedges
The Group applies cash flow hedge accounting for hedging relationships when it hedges its commodity price risk and its foreign exchange risks attributable to its forecasted sugar purchases with sugar futures and with foreign exchange forward contracts, respectively. When the Group enters into agreements with sugar suppliers where the price of the forecasted sugar purchases will be indexed to the raw sugar world market price, it hedges these forecasted sugar purchases with sugar futures.
The raw sugar world market price risk component is a contractually specified element in the hedged items. Therefore, the raw sugar world market price risk component is considered separately identifiable and reliably measurable in the Group’s hedged items (forecasted sugar purchases) as well as in its hedging instruments (sugar futures).
d) Fuel price risk hedges
The Group is exposed to fuel oil prices through fuel index commercial contracts with shipping and logistics companies. The Group enters into correlated derivative contracts to mitigate the fuel price volatility associated with the highly probable expense. The hedging relationship is accounted as cash flow hedges. The GCRC approves the duration of hedged exposure and applies counterparty limits to monitor the derivative instruments’ credit exposure.
3.7.2 Foreign currency risks
The Group operates across the world and consequently is exposed to multiple currency risks, albeit primarily in CHF, EUR, USD, and GBP. The Group actively monitors its transactional currency exposures and consequently enters into foreign currency hedges with the aim of preserving the value of assets, commitments, and anticipated transactions. The related accounting treatment is explained in the section “Accounting policies”.
All risks relating to foreign currency exposures of assets and liabilities, certain unrecognized firm commitments and highly probable forecasted purchases and sales are centralized as far as possible within the Group’s Treasury department, where the hedging strategies are defined.
Accordingly, the consolidated foreign currency exposures are hedged in compliance with the Group’s Treasury Policy, mainly by means of forward currency contracts entered into with financial institutions of a high credit rating. The Group’s Treasury Policy imposes a dual risk control framework of both open position limits and near-time fair valuation of net currency exposures. Both levels of control are substantially interlinked, avoiding excessive net currency exposures and substantial volatility in the Consolidated Income Statement.
The Group’s Treasury department is supervised by the Group Finance Committee, which meets on a regular basis. The Group Finance Committee monitors the Group’s foreign currency risk position and acts as a decision-taking body for the Group in this respect. The Group Finance Committee consists of the Group’s CFO, the VP Group Financial Planning & Analysis, the VP Group Treasury & Tax, the VP Group Accounting, Reporting & Risk Management, and other Group Finance stakeholders.
The Group’s Treasury Policy, giving guidance on treasury risk management including foreign currency and interest rate risks, is approved by the AFRQCC. The Group’s Risk Management department reviews the consistency of the Group’s treasury management strategy with the Group’s Treasury Policy and reports the status to the Group’s CFO periodically. The AFRQCC is informed by the CFO about the status and important matters in their quarterly meetings and approves requests of the Group Finance Committee on important treasury risk matters including foreign currency risks for recommendation to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is the highest approval authority for all Group Treasury Risk Management matters.
The table below provides an overview of the net exposure of CHF, EUR, USD, and GBP against the main functional currencies in the Group. According to the Group’s Treasury Policy, foreign exchange exposures are hedged as from identification on an intraday basis in line with the approved exposure limits. In case of small deviations from the agreed foreign exchange exposure limits, approval has to be sought from the Group’s Treasury and Risk Management department. For significant deviations, approval from the AFRQCC is required. Companies with the same functional currency are shown in one group. The CFA in Côte d’Ivoire, XOF, and respectively Cameroon, XAF, both have fixed-rate regimes. At present, both are pegged, independently from each other, at 656 per euro. The Serbian dinar (RSD) is a managed floating exchange rate linked to the euro.
Net foreign currency exposures against major functional currencies
In order to quantify and manage the Group’s consolidated exposure to foreign currency risks, the historical VaR has been implemented. The VaR concept serves as the analytical instrument for assessing the Group’s foreign currency risk incurred under normal market conditions. The VaR indicates the loss which, within a time horizon of one day, will not be exceeded at a confidence level of 95% using seven years of historical market prices for each major currency pair. The VaR is used together with the calculation of the expected shortfall and worst cases as well as the use of stress test scenarios. The VaR is based on static exposures during the time horizon of the analysis. However, the simulation of past market conditions is not predicting the future movement in foreign currency rates.
Therefore, it does not represent actual losses. It only represents an indication of future foreign currency risks. As of August 31, 2021, the Group had a VaR of CHF 0.4 million (2020: CHF 0.5 million). The average VaR over the fiscal year 2020/21 was CHF 0.2 million (2019/20: CHF 0.4 million).
Value at Risk per main exposure currencies
3.7.3 Interest rate risks
The Group is exposed to changes in interest rates through its short- and long-term debt obligations. The Group’s Treasury department manages and oversees the financing of the Group, and the related interest rate risks and, to the extent possible, provides the necessary liquidity in the required functional currency for the companies of the Group. Consequently, the Group’s debt obligations are adjusted with the real currency mix of the Group’s liabilities in order to reflect the correct exposure to interest rates.
It is the Group’s policy to manage its interest costs using an optimal mix of fixed and floating rate debt. This is achieved by entering into interest rate derivative instruments in which the Group exchanges at fixed and floating interest rates. To avoid volatility in the Consolidated Income Statement, cash flow hedge accounting is applied to those derivative instruments.
As described in the section “Foreign currency risks”, the Group’s Treasury department is supervised by the Group Finance Committee, which meets on a regular basis. The Group Finance Committee monitors the Group’s interest rate risk and acts as a decision-taking body for the Group in this respect.
The Group’s Treasury Policy also covers the management of interest rate risks. The VP Group Treasury & Tax reports the status periodically to the Group’s CFO, who informs the AFRQCC in their quarterly meetings. The AFRQCC approves requests from the Group Finance Committee on important treasury matters, including interest rate risks, and provides recommendations to the Board of Directors, which is the highest approval authority for all Group treasury matters.
The following schedule provides an overview of all interest-bearing items per year-end closing:
Sensitivity analysis on interest rate risks
The following table shows the impact of a parallel shift of interest rates by 100 basis points (bps) up and 10 bps down on the Group’s equity and Consolidated Income Statement, net of tax. The calculation is performed on both, the portion of the outstanding debt (excluding the asset-backed securitization programs; see Note 2.5 “Trade receivables and other current assets”) at floating interest rates and the outstanding derivatives exchanging floating into fixed interest rates at the respective year-end. This sensitivity analysis only indicates the potential impact for the respective fiscal year at the prevailing conditions in the financial markets. Consequently, it does not represent actual or future gains or losses, which are strictly managed and controlled, as stipulated by the Group’s Treasury Policy.