Operational and other risks that could significantly influence the decisions of investors are set out below. Based on information available to the SUBARU Group (“the Group”) as of the end of the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019 (April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019; the “fiscal year under review”), the enumerated risks include forward-looking statements, but do not encompass every possible risk posed to the Group.
(1) Economic Trends
Economic trends in countries and regions that comprise important markets for the Group could potentially impact the Group's business performance. In Japan and North America, key markets for the Group, economic recession, decreasing demand, or increasing price competition could undermine the sales and profitability of the Group's products and services.
(2) Currency Exchange Rate Fluctuations
The Group's ratio of overseas net sales stood at 81.1%. The Group's consolidated financial statements, which are presented in Japanese yen, are affected by translation of overseas net sales, operating income, and assets from local currencies, particularly U.S. dollars, into yen. Accordingly, in the event that discrepancies arise between projected exchange rates in full-year forecasts and actual rates at the time of account settlement, the Group's business performance and financial position may be adversely affected when the yen appreciates or positively affected when the yen depreciates. The Company uses forward exchange rate contracts and other circumstance-appropriate risk hedges to minimize the Group's sensitivity to such currency exchange risks. However, the effect of severe fluctuations in currency exchange rates at the end of the fiscal year could result in a loss on valuation of derivatives and have a major impact on non-operating expenses.
(3) Dependence on Certain Businesses
The Group is mainly comprised of the Automotive Business Unit and Aerospace Company. However, the Automotive Business Unit accounts for the overwhelming majority of the Group's business operations. Accordingly, in the event that automobile-related demand, market conditions, price competition with other automakers, or other factors exceed projected levels, the entire Group's overall business performance and financial position could be significantly affected.
(4) Changes in Market Appraisal
The Group develops, manufactures, and releases new products based on appropriate timing and pricing in line with product planning that reflects market demand and customer needs. Such actions are the most important factors in maintaining stable increases in Group business performance. In the event that market appraisals of new model vehicles and other new products do not meet sales plan expectations, or that the obsolescence rate of current products exceeds forecasts, the Group's business performance and financial position could be significantly affected.
(5) Dependence on Specific Suppliers, Raw Materials, and Components
The Group procures raw materials, components, and other items from numerous suppliers. However, there are cases in which the Group relies on certain items and/or a limited number of suppliers. Due to tightening supply and demand or other factors, the inability to procure supplies in a manner that ensures stable costs, delivery dates and quality could seriously impact the Group's business performance and financial position.
(6) Protection of Intellectual Property
The Group is strongly committed to protecting its intellectual property in areas, such as technologies and expertise, that ensure product differentiation. However, in cases where a third party makes unauthorized use of the Group's intellectual property to manufacture similar products and in cases where a dispute relating to intellectual property arises and a decision disadvantageous to the Company is made, the Group's business results and financial condition may be significantly affected.
(7) Product Defects
The Group places the highest priority on the safety of the products it develops, manufactures, and sells. However, completely avoiding defects and recalls, etc. regarding all products and services is impossible. The substantial cost, damage to our brand image, etc. associated with a major recall could significantly affect the Group's business performance and financial position.
(8) Retirement Benefit Obligations
The Group's employee retirement benefit costs and obligations are calculated based on the following assumptions: retirement benefit obligation discount rates and the expected long-term rate of return on pension assets, both of which are established based on mathematical calculations. However, in the event that actual performance differs from the assumptions, the Group's business performance and financial position could be affected over the long term.
(9) Environmental and Other Legal Regulations
The Group is subject to various domestic and overseas legal regulations in relation to automobile fuel efficiency, exhaust emissions, energy conservation, noise, recycling, the level of pollutants emitted from manufacturing facilities, and the safety of automobiles and other products. The Group's business performance and financial position could be affected by cost increases due to future tightening of such regulations.
(10) Impact of Natural Disasters, War, Terror, Strikes, and Other Events
The occurrence of natural disasters such as major earthquakes, typhoons, etc., and diseases, wars, terrorist attacks, or other events, could impede the Group's business activities as well as delay or suspend raw material/component purchases, production, product sales/transport, and the provision of services. The Group's business performance and financial position could be affected in the event that such delays or suspensions are prolonged.
(11) International Business Activities
Though the Group focuses on the U.S., it does business in countries around the world. Business activities in overseas markets entail the following types of risk. If any of these risks materializes, the Group's business performance and financial position could be adversely affected.
- Unfavorable political or economic factors
- Difficulties arising from changes in laws or regulations
- Revisions to taxes, tariffs, or other taxation systems
- Difficulties in hiring and retaining personnel
(12) Impact of Information Security
The Group uses various kinds of information technology, networks, and systems in product development, production, sales, and other business activities. Although safety measures have been implemented with respect to information technology, networks, and systems, interruption of important work or services, data corruption or loss, leaks of confidential information, or other problems could occur due to cyberattacks, hacking, computer virus attacks, or the like. This could damage the brand image or adversely affect the Group's business performance and financial position.
(13) Compliance and Reputation
The Group considers rigorous compliance one of the most important management priorities and strives to avoid or minimize compliance risks through compliance with all laws, ordinances, and internal regulations required in corporate activities and the execution of fair and equitable corporate activities in conformity with social norms. Nevertheless, the occurrence of a material legal violation could have a significant impact on the Group and adversely affect the Group's business performance and financial position due to loss of customer confidence and trust, or damage to the Group's reputation in society.