The CIR group operates in various industry and service sectors, both nationally and internationally, so its business is exposed to various kinds of financial risk, including market risk (currency risk and price risk), credit risk, liquidity risk and interest rate risk. The group uses hedging derivatives to minimise certain types of risks. Risk management is carried out by the central finance and treasury function on the basis of policies approved by top management and communicated to the subsidiaries on 25 July 2003.
As the group operates internationally, Sogefi in particular, it is exposed to the risk that fluctuations in exchange rates could affect the fair value of some of its assets and liabilities. The Sogefi group produces and sells mainly in the Eurozone, but it is subject to currency risk, especially versus the GB pound, Brazilian real, US dollar, Argentine peso, Chinese renminbi and Canadian dollar. Regarding the translation risk regarding the financial statements of international subsidiaries, the operating companies generally have a high degree of convergence between the currencies of their sourcing costs and their sales revenue, are active both in their own domestic markets and abroad and, if necessary, can arrange funding locally.
Credit risk can be assessed both in commercial terms by customer type, contractual terms and sales concentration, and in financial terms by type of counterparty used in financial transactions. There is no significant concentration of credit risk within the group. Some time ago adequate policies were put in place to ensure that sales are made to customers of an appropriate credit history. The counterparties for derivative products and cash transactions are exclusively financial institutions with a high credit rating. The group has policies that limit credit exposure to individual financial institutions. Credit risk can vary depending on the business segment concerned. In the “Automotive Components” segment there is no excessive concentration of credit risk since the Original Equipment and After-market distribution channels with which it operates are car manufacturers or large purchasing groups without any particular concentration of risk. The “Healthcare” segment has different concentrations of credit depending on the nature of the activities carried out by the operating companies, as well as by their different target customers, mitigated, however, by the fact that the credit exposure is spread over a large number of counterparties and customers. For example, the concentration of credit is lower than in the case of management of residential care homes, whose revenue derive more than 50% from the number of guests in the facility and whose assets from public entities recognised in the financial statements (mainly local health authorities and municipalities) are due from a plurality of subjects. The concentration of credit is greater than in the case of hospital management (or of diagnostic imaging departments in hospitals) due to the fact that almost all of the revenue derives from a single subject. The monitoring of credit risk versus customers includes grouping receivables together by type, age, whether the company is in financial difficulty or is involved in disputes and the existence of legal or insolvency proceedings.
Prudent management of liquidity risk implies maintaining sufficient liquidity and negotiable securities and ensuring an adequate supply of credit facilities to ensure adequate funding. The group systematically meets its due dates, and such conduct enables it to operate on the market with the necessary flexibility and reliability to maintain a correct balance between funding and deployment of its financial resources. The companies heading up the three main business segments manage their own liquidity risk directly and independently. Tight control is exercised over the net financial position and its outlook in the short, medium and long term. In general, the group follows an extremely prudent financial policy using mainly medium/long-term funding arrangements. Treasury management is centralised for the operating groups.
Interest rate risk
Interest rate risk depends on fluctuations in market rates, which can cause changes in the fair value of cash flows of financial assets or liabilities. Interest rate risk mainly concerns long-term bonds issued at a fixed rate, which exposes the group to the risk of fluctuations in their fair value as interest rates change. In line with the group’s risk management policies, the parent and the subsidiaries have entered into various IRS contracts with leading financial institutions over the years in order to hedge interest rate risk on their bond issues and loans and borrowings.