Operational risks

Transformation programs

In 2011 Philips started a very extensive transformation program (Accelerate!) to unlock Philips’ full potential. Accelerate! spans a time period of several years. In 2014 as a next phase in the Accelerate! transformation program Philips announced that it would separate its businesses into two new fit for purpose companies, HealthTech and Lighting Solutions. Failure to achieve the objectives of the transformation programs may have a material adverse effect on the mid and long term financial targets.

In addition the transformation program of the Finance function may expose Philips to adverse changes in the quality of its systems of internal control.

Failure to achieve improvements in Philips’ solution and product creation process and/or increased speed in innovation-to-market could hamper Philips’ profitable growth ambitions.

Further improvements in Philips’ solution and product creation process, ensuring timely delivery of new solutions and products at lower cost and upgrading of customer service levels to create sustainable competitive advantage, are important in realizing Philips’ profitable growth ambitions. The emergence of new low-cost competitors, particularly in Asia, further underlines the importance of improvements in the product creation process. The success of new solution and product creation, however, depends on a number of factors, including timely and successful completion of development efforts, market acceptance, Philips’ ability to manage the risks associated with new products and production ramp-up issues, the ability of Philips to attract and retain employees with the appropriate skills, the availability of products in the right quantities and at appropriate costs to meet anticipated demand and the risk that new products and services may have quality or other defects in the early stages of introduction. Accordingly, Philips cannot determine in advance the ultimate effect that new solutions and product creations will have on its financial condition and operating results. If Philips fails to accelerate its innovation-to-market processes and fails to ensure that end-user insights are fully captured and translated into solution and product creations that improve product mix and consequently contribution, it may face an erosion of its market share and competitiveness, which could have a material adverse effect on its financial condition and operating results.

Risk of unauthorized use of intellectual property rights

Philips produces and sells products and services which incorporates technology protected by intellectual property rights. Philips develops and acquires intellectual property rights on regular basis. Philips is exposed to the risk that intellectual property rights on technology applied in its products and services is claimed to be owned by third parties, who, in case their claims of infringement of such intellectual property rights are awarded, would be entitled to damages and fines.

If Philips is unable to ensure effective supply chain management, e.g. facing an interruption of its supply chain, including the inability of third parties to deliver parts, components and services on time, and if it is subject to rising raw material prices, it may be unable to sustain its competitiveness in its markets.

If Philips is unable to ensure effective supply chain management, e.g. facing an interruption of its supply chain, including the inability of third parties to deliver parts, components and services on time, Philips may be unable to sustain its competitiveness in its markets. Philips is continuing the process of creating a leaner supply base with fewer suppliers, while maintaining dual / multiple sourcing strategies where possible. This strategy very much requires close cooperation with suppliers to enhance, among other things, time to market and quality. In addition, Philips is continuing its initiatives to reduce assets through outsourcing. These processes may result in increased dependency on external suppliers and providers. Although Philips works closely with its suppliers to avoid supply-related problems, there can be no assurance that it will not encounter supply problems in the future or that it will be able to timely replace a supplier that is not able to meet its demand.

Shortages or delays could materially harm its business. Most of Philips’ activities are conducted outside of the Netherlands, and international operations bring challenges. For example, production and procurement of products and parts in Asian countries are increasing, and this creates a risk that production and shipping of products and parts could be interrupted by regional conflicts or a natural disaster, such as occurred in Japan in 2011. A general shortage of materials, components or subcomponents as a result of natural disasters also bears the risk of unforeseeable fluctuations in prices and demand, which could have a material adverse effect on its financial condition and operating results.

Businesses purchase raw materials including so-called rare earth metals, copper, steel, aluminum, noble gases and oil-related products, which exposes them to fluctuations in energy and raw material prices. In recent times, commodities have been subject to volatile markets, and such volatility is expected to continue. If Philips is not able to compensate for increased costs or pass them on to customers, price increases could have a material adverse impact on Philips’ results. In contrast, in times of falling commodity prices, Philips may not fully benefit from such price decreases as Philips attempts to reduce the risk of rising commodity prices by several means, such as including long-term contracting or physical and financial hedging.

Diversity in information technology (IT) could result in ineffective or inefficient business management. IT outsourcing and off-shoring strategies could result in complexities in service delivery and contract management.

Philips is engaged in a continuous drive to create a more open, standardized and consequently, more cost-effective IT landscape. This is leading to an approach involving further outsourcing, off-shoring, commoditization and ongoing reduction in the number of IT systems. This could introduce additional risk with regard to the delivery of IT services, the availability of IT systems and the scope and nature of the functionality offered by IT systems.

Philips observes a global increase in IT security threats and higher levels of sophistication in computer crime, posing a risk to the confidentiality, availability and integrity of data and information.

The global increase in security threats and higher levels of professionalism in computer crime have increased the importance of effective IT security measures, including proper identity management processes to protect against unauthorized systems access. Nevertheless, Philips’ systems, networks, products, solutions and services remain potentially vulnerable to attacks, which could potentially lead to the leakage of confidential information, improper use of its systems and networks or defective products, which could in turn materially adversely affect Philips’ financial condition and operating results. In recent years, the risks that we and other companies face from cyber-attacks have increased significantly. The objectives of these cyber-attacks vary widely and may include, among things, disruptions of operations including provision of services to customers or theft of intellectual property or other sensitive information belonging to us or other business partners. Successful cyber-attacks may result in substantial costs and other negative consequences, which may include, but are not limited to, lost revenues, reputational damage, remediation costs, and other liabilities to customers and partners. Furthermore, enhanced protection measures can involve significant costs. Although we have experienced cyber-attacks but to date have not incurred any significant damage as a result and did not incur significant monetary cost in taking corrective action, there can be no assurance that in the future Philips will be as successful in avoiding damages from cyber-attacks. Additionally, the integration of new companies and successful outsourcing of business processes are highly dependent on secure and well controlled IT systems.

Due to the fact that Philips is dependent on its personnel for leadership and specialized skills, the loss of its ability to attract and retain such personnel would have an adverse effect on its business.

The attraction and retention of talented employees in sales and marketing, research and development, finance and general management, as well as of highly specialized technical personnel, especially in transferring technologies to low-cost countries, is critical to Philips’ success. This is particularly valid in times of economic recovery. The loss of specialized skills could also result in business interruptions. There can be no assurance that Philips will continue to be successful in attracting and retaining all the highly qualified employees and key personnel needed in the future.

Warranty and product liability claims against Philips could cause Philips to incur significant costs and affect Philips’ results as well as its reputation and relationships with key customers.

Philips is from time to time subject to warranty and product liability claims with regard to product performance and effects. Philips could incur product liability losses as a result of repair and replacement costs in response to customer complaints or in connection with the resolution of contemplated or actual legal proceedings relating to such claims. In addition to potential losses arising from claims and related legal proceedings, product liability claims could affect Philips’ reputation and its relationships with key customers (both customers for end products and customers that use Philips’ products in their production process). As a result, product liability claims could materially impact Philips’ financial condition and operating results.

Any damage to Philips’ reputation could have an adverse effect on its businesses.

Philips is exposed to developments which could affect its reputation. Such developments could be of an environmental or social nature, or connected to the behavior of individual employees or suppliers and could relate to adherence to regulations related to labor, health and safety, environmental and chemical management. Reputational damage could materially impact Philips’ financial condition and operating results.

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