Risks and business uncertainties
Fiskars’ business, net sales, and financial performance may be affected by several uncertainties.
The performance of the world’s major economies has been subdued for some time and prolonged low consumer confidence in key markets or an uncertain geopolitical environment could have a material adverse impact on the Group’s net sales and profit.
Demand for some of the Group’s products, particularly garden tools and watering products, is dependent on the weather during the spring, while demand for snow tools depends on the winter conditions. Unfavorable weather conditions such as cold and rainy weather during the spring or no snow in the winter can have a negative impact on sales of these products.
Sales of living products are heavily geared towards the last quarter of the year, and any negative issues related to product availability or demand during this quarter could affect the full-year result of this business significantly. By diversifying its manufacturing footprint the company is increasingly exposed to new risks related to its supply chain. The company has its own manufacturing operations in several locations, and most of its suppliers are located outside Fiskars’ key markets. Disturbances at the source of supply or in the logistics chain could prevent the orderly delivery of products to customers.
Fiskars is also increasingly exposed to legal, economic, political and regulatory risks related to the countries in which Fiskars and its suppliers have manufacturing facilities, potentially impacting product availability. Failure to meet demands on performance and safety could expose Fiskars to the risk of product recall and even liability for damages in the event that its products cause injury to consumers or damage to property.
Fiskars is exposed to performance, availability and security risks related to common, centralized infrastructure solutions and the increased dependency of operations on centralized platforms. Technical problems or disruption in the access to business-critical information in connection with system implementations or the inability to fully utilize the implemented processes and systems may affect Fiskars’ ability to execute essential business processes such as invoicing and deliveries.
Complex and changing tax legislation in multiple jurisdictions where Fiskars operates may create uncertainties relating to tax obligations towards various authorities. Fiskars faces an increasing administrative burden resulting from reporting and disclosure requirements. Increased tax enforcement activity may lead to double taxation and additional costs in the forms of penalties and interest.
Fiskars Group entities are subject to tax audits in several countries. It is possible that tax audits may lead to reassessment of taxes. In July 2016 Fiskars received a tax reassessment decision from the Finnish Large Taxpayers’ Office, which obliged the company to pay a total of EUR 28.3 million in additional tax, interest expenses and punitive tax increases as a result of a tax audit carried out in 2014. Fiskars and its external advisors consider the decision unfounded and did not recognize the related taxes and other costs in the income statement. Fiskars has appealed the decision to the Board of Adjustment in the Finnish Large Taxpayers' Office. Fiskars will continue the appeal process in court, if necessary, in which case the process may take years. The dispute concerns intra-group loans forgiven by the company in 2003 and their tax treatment in subsequent tax years.
A significant part of the Group’s operations are located outside of the euro zone. Consolidated financial figures are reported in euros, which means that the Group is exposed to a translation risk. Less than 20% of Fiskars’ commercial cash flows are exposed to fluctuations in foreign exchange rates.
Fiskars’ financial investment portfolio consists of shares in Wärtsilä and of other financial investments. Other financial investments may include investments in funds, shares, bonds, and other financial instruments. The financial investment portfolio may lose value for several reasons. The most relevant risks are considered to be a decline in stock markets or changes in interest rates.
Financial Statement Release, February 8, 2016