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Panasonic promotes company-wide risk management activities that cover operations around the world. The aim is to take preemptive actions to eliminate "sources of failure," which means anything that could impede the accomplishment of business goals. Underpinning this risk management are principles of Panasonic founder Konosuke Matsushita: "Worry earlier and enjoy later than people," "Cause of failures lie within oneself," "There is always a "sign" for everything," and "Small things can create big problems; you must be alert for signs of change and act accordingly."
At Panasonic, risk management functions in tandem with the establishment and execution of management strategies. Combining these two functions better enables us to accomplish business objectives and increase our corporate value. Disclosing risk information in public in an appropriate way and improving the transparency of our activities, as well as reducing risk by taking preemptive countermeasures gives customers and other stakeholders as well as communities and the public greater confidence in the Panasonic organization.
[Role of Risk Management in Business Management]
Panasonic has a Global & Group (G&G) Risk Management Committee since April 2005 to promote group wide risk management that is chaired by the Corporate Risk Management Executive Officer and includes Company CROs (Chief Risk Officer), Regional Headquarters, and managers from Corporate Strategy Head Office and Functions, and the Risk Management Office serves as its secretariat. In addition, the Committee coordinates its efforts with other committees associated with risk management. This provides a basis to promote measures throughout the company to deal with risks and to give assistance to Companies and Regional Headquarters. Risk Management Committees are also established by these Companies and Regional Headquarters. Collectively, these units create a global risk management system that spans the entire Panasonic Group.
[Panasonic Global and Group Risk Management Promotion Framework]
Panasonic has three levels of management cycles for risk management: the G&G Risk Management Committee, companies, and business divisions. We conduct risk assessments once a year in an integrated and comprehensive manner--risks that could affect business management are identified and then evaluated in terms of a single, global set of standards incorporating the potential impact on business operations, probability of risk occurring and other factors, after which the priority of countermeasures is determined. In addition, all companies and affiliated business divisions perform the same management cycles for risk management and identify major company risks for their respective activities.
The G&G Risk Management Committee is responsible for identifying Corporate Major Risks that could affect the Panasonic Group based on these assessments, and also monitors progress made concerning countermeasures and other activities targeting major risks, especially focusing on those of the companies. Taking this approach allows reinforcing and improving of risk containment measures for the entire Panasonic Group.
[Basic Framework for Risk Management]
Once a year, Panasonic implements a Groupwide risk assessment survey to identify potential risks in an integrated and comprehensive manner. By identifying, evaluating and prioritizing these risks, Panasonic specifies risks at the Corporate Strategy Head Office, Professional Business Support Sector, Divisional Companies, Business Divisions and Group affiliates, takes countermeasures that correspond to the materiality of each risk, and seeks continuous improvements through the monitoring of the progress of such countermeasures. Primarily because of the business areas and geographical areas where it operates, and the highly competitive nature of the industry to which it belongs, Panasonic is exposed to a variety of risks and uncertainties in conducting its businesses, including, but not limited to, the following. These risks may adversely affect Panasonic's business, operating results and financial condition.
This section includes forward-looking statements and future expectations as of June 27, 2013.
Demand for Panasonic' s products and services may be affected by general economic trends in the countries or regions in which Panasonic' s products and services are sold. Economic downturns and resulting declines in demand in Panasonic' s major markets worldwide may thus adversely affect the Company' s business, operating results and financial condition. For fiscal 2014, ending March 31, 2014, although U.S. economy is expected to be steady, the Company anticipates that uncertainty of the business environment will continue due to weak economic condition in Europe and sluggish market in certain emerging countries as well as ever-intensified global competition. Panasonic may incur increased costs for business restructuring that exceeds Panasonic' s expectations in order to cope with the business environment. If global market conditions worsen beyond expectations, the business environment of Panasonic may deteriorate more than currently anticipated, which may adversely affect the Company' s business, operating results and financial condition.
Foreign exchange rate fluctuations may adversely affect Panasonic' s business, operating results and financial condition, because costs and prices of its products and services and certain other transactions that are denominated in a foreign currency are affected by foreign exchange rate changes. In addition, foreign exchange rate changes can also affect the yen value of Panasonic' s investments in overseas assets and liabilities because Panasonic' s consolidated financial statements are presented in Japanese yen. Generally, an appreciation of the yen against other major currencies such as the U.S. dollar and the euro may adversely affect Panasonic' s operating results. Meanwhile, a depreciation of the yen against the aforementioned major currencies may have a favorable impact on Panasonic' s operating results. In fiscal 2013, the extreme appreciation of the yen against other major currencies was put brakes and the effect to Panasonic' s operating results was limited. However the resurgence of the yen may adversely affect the Company' s business, operating results and financial condition.
Panasonic is exposed to interest rate fluctuation risks which may affect the Company' s operational costs, interest expenses, interest income and the value of financial assets and liabilities. Accordingly, interest rate fluctuations may adversely affect the Company' s business, operating results and financial condition.
Panasonic raises funds for its business through methods such as borrowing from financial institutions and issuance of bonds and commercial paper. Where, among other events, financial market continues to be instable or deteriorates, financial institutions reduce lending to Panasonic, or rating agencies further downgrade Panasonic' s credit ratings, Panasonic may not be able to raise funds in the time and amount necessary for Panasonic, or under conditions which Panasonic deems appropriate, and Panasonic may incur additional costs of raising funds, which may adversely affect the Company' s business, operating results and financial condition.
Panasonic holds mostly Japanese stocks as part of its investment securities. Decreases in the value of Japanese stocks may cause losses due to decreases in the valuation of investment securities, thereby adversely affecting Panasonic' s operating results and financial condition. The decrease in the value of Japanese stocks may also reduce stockholders' equity on the balance sheet, as unrealized holding gains (losses) of available-for-sale securities are included as part of accumulated other comprehensive income (loss).
Panasonic develops, produces and sells a broad range of products and services and therefore faces many different types of competitors, from large international companies to relatively small, rapidly growing, and highly specialized organizations. Panasonic may choose not to fund or invest in one or more of its businesses to the same degree as its competitors in those businesses do, or it may not be able to do so in a timely manner or even at all. These competitors may have greater financial strength, technological capability, and marketing resources than Panasonic in the respective businesses in which they compete.
Panasonic' s business is subject to intense price competition worldwide, which makes it difficult for the Company to determine product prices and maintain adequate profits. Such intensified price competition may adversely affect Panasonic' s profits, especially in terms of possible decreases in demand. Amid accelerating changes in the structure of markets, such as a demand shift to emerging markets and lower-priced products, and expansion of multifunctional smartphones, Panasonic' s product prices in digital electronics and other business areas may continue to decline.
One of Panasonic' s business strategies is business expansion in overseas markets. In many of these markets, Panasonic may face risks generally associated with international manufacturing and other business operations, such as political instability, including war, civil war, conflict, riot and terrorist attacks, cultural and religious differences and labor relations, as well as economic uncertainty and foreign currency exchange risks. Panasonic may also face barriers in commercial and business customs in foreign countries, including difficulties in timely collection of accounts receivable or in building and expanding relationships with customers, subcontractors or parts suppliers. Panasonic may also experience various political, legal or other restrictions in investment, trade, manufacturing, labor or other aspects of operations, including restrictions on foreign investment or the repatriation of profits on invested capital, nationalization of local industry, changes in export or import restrictions or foreign exchange controls, and changes in the tax system or the rate of taxation in countries where Panasonic operates businesses. With respect to products exported overseas, tariffs, other barriers or shipping costs may make Panasonic' s products less competitive in terms of price. Expanding its overseas business may require significant investments long before Panasonic realizes returns on such investments, and increased investments may result in expenses growing at a faster rate than revenues.
Panasonic may fail to introduce new products or services in response to technological changes in a timely manner. Some of Panasonic' s core businesses in both BtoC (business-to-consumer) and BtoB (business-to-business) areas are concentrated in industries where technological innovation is the central competitive factor. Panasonic continuously faces the challenge of developing and introducing viable and innovative new products. Panasonic must predict with reasonable accuracy both future demand and new technologies that will be available to meet such demand. If Panasonic fails to do so, it will not be able to compete effectively in new markets.
Panasonic has been forming alliances and partnerships with other major manufacturers to strengthen technologies and the development of product formats, such as next-generation home and mobile networking products, data storage devices, and software systems. Despite these efforts, Panasonic' s competitors may succeed in developing de facto standards for future products before Panasonic can. In such cases, the Company' s competitive position, business, operating results and financial condition could be adversely affected.
Panasonic' s future success depends largely on its ability to attract and retain certain key personnel, including professionals in the fields of research, development, technology and management. However, the number of qualified personnel is limited, and the competition for attracting and retaining these employees is intense. Because of this intense competition for skilled employees, Panasonic may be unable to retain its existing personnel or attract additional qualified employees to keep up with future business needs. If this should happen, Panasonic' s business, operating results and financial condition could be adversely affected.
Panasonic develops its businesses by forming alliances or joint ventures with, and making strategic investments in, other companies, including investments in start-up companies. Furthermore, the strategic importance of partnering with third parties is increasing. In some cases, such partnerships are crucial to Panasonic' s goal of introducing new products and services, but Panasonic may not be able to successfully collaborate or achieve expected synergies with its partners. Furthermore, Panasonic does not control these partners, who may make decisions regarding their business undertakings with Panasonic that may be contrary to Panasonic' s interests. In addition, if these partners change their business strategies, Panasonic may fail to maintain these partnerships. On April 1, 2011, Panasonic made Panasonic Electric Works Co., Ltd. and SANYO Electric Co., Ltd. its wholly-owned subsidiaries through share exchanges, respectively, and restructured its groupwide business organization on January 1, 2012 and April 1, 2013. However, Panasonic may fail to fully achieve the expected results, such as promotion of rapid decision-making and maximization of group synergies.
Panasonic' s manufacturing operations depend on obtaining raw materials, parts and components, equipment and other supplies including services from reliable suppliers at adequate quality and quantity in a timely manner. It may be difficult for Panasonic to substitute one supplier for another, increase the number of suppliers or change one component for another in a timely manner or at all due to the shortage or interruption of supply caused by, among other things, natural disasters, the bankruptcy of suppliers or increased industry demand. This may adversely affect the Panasonic Group' s operations. Although Panasonic decides purchase prices by contract, the prices of raw materials, including iron and steel, resin, and non-ferrous metals, and parts and components, may increase due to changes in supply and demand and the inflow of investment funds. Some components are only available from a limited number of suppliers, which also may adversely affect Panasonic' s business, operating results and financial condition.
Many of Panasonic' s customers purchase products and services from Panasonic on payment terms that do not provide for immediate payment. If customers from whom Panasonic has substantial accounts receivable encounter financial difficulties and are unable to make payments on time, Panasonic' s business, operating results and financial condition could be adversely affected.
Panasonic announced a midterm management plan called "Cross-Value Innovation 2015" (CV2015), on March 28, 2013, which runs from fiscal 2014 to fiscal 2016 and implements specific measures to achieve the targets. However, Panasonic may not be successful in realizing the expected benefits because of various external and internal factors such as deterioration of the business environment and increased costs of business restructuring such as additional business reorganization, the impairment of fixed assets and employment adjustment in order to cope with the business environment.
The occurrence of quality problems due to product defects, including safety incidents, in Panasonic products could make Panasonic liable for damages not covered by product and completed operation liability insurance, whereby the Company could incur significant expenses. Due to negative publicity concerning these problems, Panasonic' s business, operating results and financial condition may be adversely affected.
Panasonic' s success depends on its ability to obtain intellectual property rights covering its products and product design. Patents may not be granted or may not be of sufficient scope or force to provide Panasonic with adequate protection or commercial advantage. In addition, effective copyright and trade secret protections may be unavailable or limited in some countries in which Panasonic operates. Competitors or other third parties may also develop technologies that are protected by patents and other intellectual property rights, which make such technologies unavailable or available only on terms unfavorable to Panasonic. The Company obtains licenses for intellectual property rights from other parties; however, such licenses may not be available on acceptable terms or at all, and the terms of such licenses may be modified unfavorably if Panasonic is found to have in the future. Litigation may also be necessary to enforce Panasonic' s intellectual property rights or to defend against intellectual property infringement claims brought against Panasonic by third parties. In such cases, Panasonic may incur significant expenses and management resources in connection with such lawsuits. Furthermore, Panasonic may be prohibited from using certain important technologies or be found liable for damages in cases of admitted violations of intellectual property rights of others.
Introduction of new accounting standards or tax systems, or changes thereof, which Panasonic cannot predict, may have a material adverse effect on the Company' s operating results and financial condition. In addition, if tax authorities have different opinions from Panasonic on the Company' s tax declarations, Panasonic may need to make larger tax payments than estimated
Panasonic is subject to environmental regulations such as those relating to climate change, air pollution, water pollution, hazardous substances, waste materials, product recycling, and soil and groundwater contamination, and may be held responsible for certain related payments or compensation. Furthermore, if these regulations become stricter and an additional duty of eliminating the use of environmentally hazardous materials is imposed, or if the Company determines that it is necessary and appropriate, from the viewpoint of corporate social responsibility, to respond to environmental issues, the payment of penalties for the violation of these regulations or the payment of compensation for consolation to parties affected by such issues may adversely affect Panasonic' s business, operating results and financial condition.
In the normal course of business, Panasonic holds confidential information mainly about customers regarding credit worthiness and other information, as well as confidential information about companies and other third parties. Such information may be leaked due to an accident or other inevitable cause, and any material leakage of confidential information may result in significant expense for related lawsuits and adversely affect Panasonic' s business and image. Moreover, other than customer information, there is a risk that Panasonic' s trade secrets, such as technology information, may be leaked due to illegal conduct of external parties, mere negligence or other causes. If such is the case, Panasonic' s business, operating results and financial condition may be adversely affected.
Panasonic is subject to governmental regulations in Japan and other countries in which it conducts its business, including governmental approvals required for conducting business and investments, laws and regulations governing the telecommunications businesses and electric product safety, national security-related laws and regulations and export/import laws and regulations, as well as commercial, antitrust, patent, product liability, environmental laws and regulations, consumer protection, financial and business taxation laws and regulations, and internal control regulations. If, due to the implementation of stricter laws and regulations and stricter interpretations, Panasonic cannot comply with these laws and regulations from technical and economic perspectives, or Panasonic determines that it will not be economical to continue to comply with them, Panasonic will need to limit its activities in the affected business areas. These laws and regulations could increase Panasonic' s operating costs. In addition, in the event that governmental authorities find or determine that Panasonic has violated these laws and regulations, Panasonic could become subject to regulatory sanctions, including monetary penalties, as well as criminal sanctions or civil lawsuits for damages, and could also suffer reputational harm.
Panasonic expands its manufacturing sales, and research and development activities globally and has facilities all over the world. If major disasters, such as earthquakes, tsunamis, fires, floods, including those caused by climate change, wars, terrorist attacks, computer viruses or other events occur, or Panasonic' s information system or communications network breaks down or operates improperly as a result of such events, Panasonic' s facilities and other assets may be seriously damaged, or the Company may have to stop or delay production and shipment. Panasonic may incur expenses relating to such damages. In addition, if an infectious disease, such as a new highly-pathogenic flu strain, becomes prevalent throughout the world, Panasonic' s manufacturing and sales may be materially disrupted. In addition, in the case where these natural disasters or other unpredictable events disrupt the supply chain of Panasonic including suppliers of parts or components and manufacturers to which Panasonic sells its products, the production and sales activities of Panasonic may be adversely and significantly affected due to the shortage or interruption in the supply of parts or components from such suppliers, or suspension of or decline in production activities of such manufacturers. Furthermore, if limitations on electricity use or rolling blackouts are implemented due to the shortage in the electricity supply caused by the closedown of certain nuclear power stations in the wake of the accidents at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, the production at certain of Panasonic' s manufacturing plants in Japan may decline or be suspended. The rise in electricity costs may be leading to an increase in procurement cost for electricity. The production and sales activities of Panasonic may be adversely and significantly affected by the aforementioned matters
Panasonic has contributory, funded benefit pension plans covering substantially all employees in Japan who meet eligibility requirements. A decline in interest rates may cause a decrease in the discount rate on benefit obligations. A decrease in the value of stocks may also affect the return on plan assets. As a result, the actuarial loss may increase, leading to an increase in future net periodic benefit costs of these pension plans.
Panasonic has many long-lived assets, such as property, plant and equipment, and goodwill, that generate returns. The Company periodically reviews the recorded value of its long-lived assets to determine if the fair value will be sufficient to support the asset book values. If these long-lived assets do not generate sufficient cash flows, impairment losses will have to be recognized, adversely affecting Panasonic' s results of operations and financial condition.
In assessing the realizability of deferred tax assets and uncertain tax positions based on the expected future generation of taxable income or assessed sustainability of uncertain tax positions, Panasonic considers whether it is more likely than not that any portion or all of the deferred tax assets or recognized tax position benefit will not be realized. If Panasonic determines that temporary differences and loss carryforwards or recognized tax benefits cannot be realized upon the generation of future taxable income during the deductible periods due to deteriorating business conditions or tax position benefits may not be realized upon settlement, valuation allowance against deferred tax assets or unrecognized tax benefit reserves could be recognized and Panasonic' s provision for income tax may increase.
Panasonic holds equities of several associated companies. Panasonic can exercise influence over operating and financing policies of these companies. However, Panasonic does not have the right to make decisions for them since the companies operate independently. Some of these companies may record losses. If these associated companies do not generate profits, Panasonic' s business results and financial condition may be adversely affected.