Prevention and governance of company risks is a responsibility assigned to the Board of Directors, which handles the correct identification, measurement, monitoring and management of risk as part of the Internal Control System.
After the adoption of the new Corporate Governance Code, the Group launched an Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) Project to define and gradually implement a structured and integrated system to identify, measure and manage company risks in line with relative best practices (i.e. CoSO ERM) and applicable regulatory requirements.
The project developed a structured, proactive and disciplined methodological approach to map and evaluate all potential risks later identified by the Piaggio Group being updated.
Risks related to the macroeconomic scenario and the sector
To mitigate any negative effects arising from the macroeconomic scenario, the Piaggio Group continued its strategic vision, expanding operations on markets in Asia where growth rates of economies are still high and consolidating the competitive positioning of its products. To achieve this, the Group focuses on research activities, and in particular on the development of engines with a low consumption and a low or zero environmental impact.
Risks related to changed customer preferences
Piaggio's success depends on its ability to manufacture products that cater for consumer's tastes and can meet their needs for mobility. If the Group's products were not appreciated by customers, lower revenues would be generated, or if more aggressive sales policies were adopted in terms of discounts given, margins would be lower, with a negative impact on financial position and performance.
To tackle this risk, the Piaggio Group has always invested in major research and development projects, to enable it to optimally meet customer needs and anticipate market trends, introducing innovative products with high added value, levering brand identity.
Risks related to a high level of market competition
Over the last few years, the competitiveness of markets in which the Group operates has increased considerably, above all in terms of prices and also due to a declining demand worldwide. In addition, the Group is exposed to the actions of competitors that, through technological innovation or replacement products, could obtain products with better quality standards and streamline costs, offering products at more competitive prices.
Piaggio has tried to tackle this risk, which could have a negative impact on the financial position and performance of the Group, by manufacturing high quality products that are innovative, cost-effective, reliable and safe, and by consolidating its presence in Asia.
The risk relative to the regulatory reference framework
Numerous national and international laws and regulations on safety, noise levels, consumption and the emission of pollutant gases apply to Piaggio products. Strict regulations on atmospheric emissions, waste disposal, the drainage and disposal of water and other pollutants also apply to the Group's production sites.
The enactment of regulations which are more stringent than those currently in force could lead to products being taken off the market and force manufacturers to make investments to renew product ranges and/or renovate/modernise production sites.
To deal with these risks, the Group has always invested in research and development into innovative products, anticipating any restrictions on current regulations. Moreover, the Group, as one of the sector's leading manufacturers, is often requested to be represented on parliamentary committees appointed to discuss and formulate new laws.
The Piaggio Group operates in an international arena and is therefore exposed to risks connected with a high level of internationalisation, such as exposure to local economic conditions and policies, compliance with different tax systems, customs barriers or more in general the introduction of laws or regulations which are more stringent than the current regulatory framework. The countries where the Piaggio Group operates may adopt economic policies and/or government measures in the form of incentives or tax relief, that may have a considerable impact on consumer trends.
All these factors may have a negative impact on the financial position and performance of the Group. In particular, the growing presence of the Group in India and Vietnam has increased its exposure to political instability or negative economic developments in these countries.
The Piaggio Group is exposed to financial risk concerning trends and the volatility of financial markets, that may affect the value of financial instruments and price of company shares. Any particularly negative economic trends could make it difficult or particularly expensive for the Group to raise funds.
Risks related to seasonal fluctuations in operations
The Group's business is extremely seasonal, particularly on western markets where sales of two-wheeler vehicles mainly take place in Spring and Summer. In addition, an extremely wet spring could lead to fewer sales of products with a negative effect on the Group's business and financial performance. Piaggio tackles these risks first and foremost by consolidating its presence on markets, such as India and Asia Pacific, which are not affected by an extremely seasonal nature, and by adopting a flexible production structure that can deal with peak demand through vertical part-time and fixed-term employment contracts, as well as seasonal planning.
Risks connected with natural disasters and catastrophes
The Group operates through industrial sites located in Italy, India and Vietnam. These sites are subject to operating risks, including natural disasters, sabotage, terrorist attacks and significant interruptions to supplies of commodities or components. Any interruption to production activities could have a negative impact on the operations and financial position and performance of the Group.
The operating risks related to industrial sites in Italy and other countries are managed through specific insurance cover assigned to sites based on their relative importance.
Natural disasters may also prevent the distribution and sale of company products in affected areas.
Risks connected with inflation
Group profitability on some markets could be negatively affected by any decrease in the purchasing power of currency and consequent increase in prices. In particular, the Group is subject to the risk arising from the organisation's failure to put in place an appropriate response plan to deal with these price fluctuations.
Corporate Social Responsibility risks
In its effort to ensure the sustainability of its products, the Piaggio Group takes into account the entire life cycle, which comprises the design, procurement of raw materials, production proper, use of the product by customers and, finally, decommissioning, which consists in disassembly at the end of service life and in the disposal and/or recycling of the components and raw materials. This strategy exposes the Group to the risk of using suppliers or sub-suppliers that do not meet the Group's sustainability standards (
risk connected to the sustainable supply chain); and to the risk connected with inadequate technological investments that are functional for sustainable mobility, for creating environmentally friendly products and an adequate technological level of products to meet new mobility needs of consumers and regulatory developments (risk connected with the development of environmentally friendly products). This could exacerbate how stakeholders perceive the Group and its reputation, and affect stakeholder loyalty.
Risks connected with the exchange rate
The Piaggio Group undertakes operations in currencies other than the euro and this exposes it to the risk of fluctuating exchange rates of different currencies.
Exposure to the business risk consists of envisaged payables and receivables in foreign currency, taken from the budget for sales and purchases reclassified by currency and accrued on a monthly basis.
The Group's policy is to hedge at least 66% of the exposure of each reference month.
Exposure to the settlement risk consists of receivables and payables in foreign currency acquired in the accounting system at any moment. The hedge must at all times be equal to 100% of the import, export or net settlement exposure for each currency.
In 2015, the exchange risk was managed in line with the current policy, which aims to neutralise the possible negative effects of exchange rate changes on company cash-flow, by hedging the business risk, which concerns changes in company profitability in relation to the annual business budget on the basis of a key change (the so-called “budget change”) and of the settlement risk, which concerns the differences between the exchange rate recorded in the financial statements for receivables or payables in foreign currency and that recorded in the related receipt or payment.
Risks connected with production factor prices
Production costs are exposed to the risk of fluctuating energy, raw material and component. Piaggio has chosen to manage this risk by adopting plans to reduce energy consumption and provide specific training on energy saving. If the Piaggio Group were not able to offset an increase in these costs against sales prices, its financial position and performance would be affected.
Interest rate risks
The Group has assets and liabilities which are sensitive to changes in interest rates and are necessary to manage liquidity and financial requirements. These assets and liabilities are subject to an interest rate risk and are hedged by derivatives or by specific fixed-rate loan agreements.
For a further description, reference is made to section 43 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Risks connected with insufficient cash flows and access to the credit market
The Group is exposed to the risk arising from the production of cash flows that are not sufficient to guarantee Group payments due, or adequate profitability and growth to achieve its strategic objectives. Moreover, this risk is connected with the difficulty the Group may have in obtaining loans or a worsening in conditions of loans necessary to support Group operations in appropriate time frames.
To deal with these risks, cash flows and the Group’s credit line needs are monitored or managed centrally under the control of the Group’s Treasury in order to guarantee an effective and efficient management of financial resources as well as optimise the debt maturity standpoint.
In addition, the Parent Company finances the temporary cash requirements of Group companies by providing direct short-term loans regulated in market conditions or guarantees.
Risks connected with credit quality of counterparties
This risk is connected with any downgrading of the credit rating of customers and suppliers and consequent possibility of late payments, or the insolvency of customers and suppliers and consequent failure to receive payments.
To balance this risk, the Parent Company has stipulated agreements with primary factoring companies in Italy and other countries for the sale of trade receivables without recourse. For a further description, reference is made to section 21 of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Risks connected with deleverage
This risk is connected with compliance with covenants and targets to reduce loans, to maintain a sustainable debt/equity balance.
To offset this risk, the measurement of financial covenants and other contract commitments is monitored by the Group on an ongoing basis.
Risks relative to products
These risks are connected with a failure to maintain product technological innovation at adequate levels and failure to comply with regulatory requirements and product quality and safety standards in relation to market requests, with a consequent liability of the Group in relation to:
- claims for compensation that exceed insurance cover;
- repairs under warranty;
- recall campaigns.
To mitigate these risks, the Piaggio Group adopts an efficient quality control system for supplied components and finished products.
Risks connected with the production process
The Group is exposed to the following risks:
- risk connected with operating efficiency being maintained at adequate levels to guarantee necessary industrial productivity. Inadequate analysis of the production cycle could cause the erroneous use of resources and energy (production efficiency);
- risk connected with inadequate production capacity, that could prevent the Group from meeting market demand and could result in excess production that does not guarantee an adequate offsetting of costs;
- risk connected with possible interruptions to company production, due to the unavailability of raw materials or components, skilled labour, systems or other resources.
To deal with these risks, the Group has a flexible production capacity and sources from several suppliers of components in order to prevent the unavailability of one supplier affecting company production. Moreover, the operating risks related to industrial sites in Italy and other countries are managed through specific insurance cover assigned to sites based on their relative importance.
Supply chain risks
Risks connected with reliance on suppliers
In carrying out its operations, the Group sources raw materials, semifinished products and components from a number of suppliers. Group operations are conditioned by the ability of its suppliers to guarantee the quality standards and specifications requested for products, as well as relative delivery times.
Risks related to the protection of trademark, licence and patent rights
The Piaggio Group legally protects its products and brands throughout the world. In some countries where the Group operates, laws do not offer certain standards of protection for intellectual property rights. This circumstance could render the measures adopted by the Group to protect itself from the unlawful use of these rights by third parties inadequate. Unlawful plagiarism by competitors could have a negative effect on the Group's sales.
The Group is also exposed to the risk of failing to comply with laws on intellectual property rights.
Risks related to litigation and tax litigation
Within the framework of its operations, the Group is involved in legal and tax proceedings. As regards some of the proceedings, the Group could be in a position where it is not able to effectively quantify potential liabilities that could arise. Detailed analysis of main legal proceedings is given in the relative paragraph of the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
Risks relative to human resources
Risks related to industrial relations
In Europe, the Piaggio Group operates in an industrial context with a strong trade union presence, and is potentially exposed to the risk of strikes and interruptions to production activities.
In the recent past, the Group was not affected by major interruptions to production because of strikes. To avoid the risk of interruptions to production activities, as far as possible, the Group bases its relations with trade union organisations on dialogue.
Risks related to talent management, recruitment and retention
The following are connected risks:
- the adoption of an adequate human resources management policy in terms of motivation, remuneration, development and growth;
- any loss of key competencies and know-how due to strategic employees no longer working for the Group;
- any inadequate management of these organisational changes.
To offset these risks, the Group has established specific policies for recruitment, career development, training, remuneration and talent management, which are adopted in all countries where the Group operates according to the same principles of merit, fairness and transparency, and focussing on aspects that are relevant for the local culture.
Risks relative to information management
IT and data and information management risks
The Group is exposed to the risk of the unauthorised access to/use of company data and information that could have a negative impact on profitability, in particular concerning data and information which is strategic for the company (e.g. technological and product know-how), confidential information and sensitive information protected by privacy laws (for example information about employees and customers). The Group has established operating policies and technical security measures designed to afford adequate protection for company data and information.
Risks relative to business reporting
Risks related to the publication of the financial disclosure
The Group is exposed to the risk of possible inadequacies in its procedures that are intended to ensure compliance with Italian and relevant foreign regulations applicable to financial disclosure, running the risk of fines and other sanctions. In particular there is a risk that financial reporting for Group stakeholders is not accurate and reliable due to significant errors or the omission of material facts and that the Group provides disclosure required by applicable laws in a manner which is inadequate, inaccurate or untimely.
To deal with these risks, the financial statements are audited by Independent Auditors. The control activities required by Law 262/2005 are also carried out at the most important foreign subsidiaries Piaggio Vehicles Pvt. Ltd, Piaggio Vietnam Co Ltd, Piaggio Hellas S.A. and Piaggio Group Americas Inc.