Strategic risks

As Philips’ business is global, its operations are exposed to economic and political developments in countries across the world that could adversely impact its revenues and income.

Philips’ business environment is influenced by political and economic conditions in the domestic and global markets. Philips experienced changes in macro economic development in various geographies during 2014 in particular in China where customer demand was negatively affected by the lowest level of economic growth in the last 24 years. The monetary easing policy in Japan did not result in the targeted economic growth. Macro economic conditions in the Eurozone weakened with increasing concerns about lack of growth and potential deflation, adversely affecting the recovery of southern European economies and reintroducing concerns about the stability of the Eurozone and the euro. On the other the hand the US economy provided a more favorable environment with increasing macro economic growth. Significant downward movement of the oil price negatively affected the currencies of countries depending on oil and gas revenues. In particular for Russia the lower oil price in combination with the political conflict with Ukraine had a significant negative impact on the Russian economy and currency. The very disparate macroeconomic outlook for the main geographies, political conflicts and the unknown potential impact of new initiatives in Eurozone monetary policy continues to provide uncertainty on the levels of capital expenditures in general, unemployment levels and consumer and business confidence, which could adversely affect demand for products and services offered by Philips.

General political developments in 2014 were unfavorable for the business environment due to increasing political conflicts and terrorism, e.g. the financial/economic sanctions imposed on Russia and the response from the Russian government. Numerous other factors, such as sustained lower levels of energy and raw material prices, as well as global political conflicts in the Middle East, Russia and Ukraine and other regions, could continue to impact macroeconomic factors and the international capital and credit markets. Economic and political uncertainty may have a material adverse impact on Philips’ financial condition or results of operations and can also make it more difficult for Philips to budget and forecast accurately. Philips may encounter difficulty in planning and managing operations due to the lack of adequate infrastructure and unfavorable political factors, including unexpected legal or regulatory changes such as foreign exchange import or export controls, increased healthcare regulation, nationalization of assets or restrictions on the repatriation of returns from foreign investments. Given that growth geographies are becoming increasingly important in Philips’ operations, the above-mentioned risks are also expected to grow and could have a material adverse effect on Philips’ financial condition and operating results.

Philips may be unable to adapt swiftly to changes in industry or market circumstances, which could have a material adverse impact on its financial condition and results.

Fundamental shifts in the industry, like the transition from traditional lighting to LED lighting, may drastically change the business environment. If Philips is unable to recognize these changes in good time, is late in adjusting its business models, or if circumstances arise such as pricing actions by competitors, then this could have a material adverse effect on Philips’ growth ambitions, financial condition and operating result.

Philips’ overall performance in the coming years is dependent on realizing its growth ambitions in growth geographies.

Growth geographies are becoming increasingly important in the global market. In addition, Asia is an important production, sourcing and design center for Philips. Philips faces strong competition to attract the best talent in tight labor markets and intense competition from local companies as well as other global players for market share in growth geographies. Philips needs to maintain and grow its position in growth geographies, invest in local talents, understand developments in end-user preferences and localize the portfolio in order to stay competitive. If Philips fails to achieve this, then this could have a material adverse effect on growth ambitions, financial condition and operating result.

The growth ambitions of Philips may be adversely affected by economic volatility inherent in growth geographies and the impact of changes in macroeconomic circumstances on growth economies.

Philips may not control joint ventures or associated companies in which it invests, which could limit the ability of Philips to identify and manage risks.

Philips has invested or will invest in joint ventures or associated companies in which Philips will have a non-controlling interest. In these cases, Philips has limited influence over, and limited or no control of, the governance, performance and cost of operations of joint ventures or associated companies.  Some of these joint ventures or associated companies may represent significant investments. The joint ventures and associated companies that Philips does not control may make business, financial or investment decisions contrary to Philips’ interests or decisions different from those, which Philips itself may have made.  Additionally, Philips partners or members of a joint venture or associated company may not be able to meet their financial or other obligations, which could expose Philips to additional financial or other obligations, as well as have a material adverse effect on the value of its investments in those entities or potentially subject Philips to additional claims.

Acquisitions could expose Philips to integration risks and challenge management in continuing to reduce the complexity of the company.

Philips’ acquisitions may continue to expose Philips in the future to integration risks in areas such as sales and service force integration, logistics, regulatory compliance, information technology and finance. Integration difficulties and complexity may adversely impact the realization of an increased contribution from acquisitions. Philips may incur significant acquisition, administrative and other costs in connection with these transactions, including costs related to the integration of acquired businesses.

Furthermore, organizational simplification and resulting cost savings may be difficult to achieve. Acquisitions may also lead to a substantial increase in long-lived assets, including goodwill. Write-downs of these assets due to unforeseen business developments may have a material adverse effect on Philips’ earnings, particularly in Healthcare and Lighting, which have significant amounts of goodwill (see also note (11) Goodwill).

Philips’ inability to secure and retain intellectual property rights for products, whilst maintaining overall competitiveness, could have a material adverse effect on its results.

Philips is dependent on its ability to obtain and retain licenses and other intellectual property (IP) rights covering its products and its design and manufacturing processes. The IP portfolio is the result of an extensive patenting process that could be influenced by a number of factors, including innovation. The value of the IP portfolio is dependent on the successful promotion and market acceptance of standards developed or co-developed by Philips. This is particularly applicable to Consumer Lifestyle where third-party licenses are important and a loss or impairment could have a material adverse impact on Philips’ financial condition and operating results.

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Growth geographies are the developing geographies comprising of Asia Pacific (excluding Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand), Latin America, Central & Eastern Europe, the Middle East (excluding Israel) and Africa.

CO2-equivalent or carbon dioxide equivalent is a quantity that describes, for a given mixture and amount of greenhouse gas, the amount of CO2 that would have the same global warming potential (GWP), when measured over a specified timescale (generally 100 years).