Significant short-term risks and uncertainties
Interim Report for January 1 – March 31, 2018 (published 24 April 2018)
Caverion is exposed to different types of strategic, operational, political, market, customer, financial and other risks. The market environment is currently positive in markets relevant for Caverion, but there may always occur sudden unexpected changes affecting also Caverion.
Caverion's typical operational risks relate to its Services and Projects business. These include risks related to tendering (e.g. calculation and pricing), contractual terms and conditions, partnering, subcontracting, procurement and price of materials, availability of qualified personnel and project management. To manage these risks, risk assessment and review processes for both the sales and execution phase have been introduced, and risk reservations have been increased. Given the specific risks related to project business, the Group Project Business Unit was established in the beginning of 2017 and is dedicated to the overall improvement of project risk management, to steering the project portfolio and to improve project management capabilities. Despite all actions taken there is a risk that some project risks materialise, which could have a negative impact on Caverion’s financial performance and position. Project risk assessment is part of the standard project management processes in the company, and it is possible that risks may be identified in currently running and new projects.
Although improved project controls have been implemented, it is possible that some risks may materialise, which could lead to project write-downs, provisions, disputes or litigations. Caverion has made a large amount of project write-downs during 2016-2017 but it is still possible that risks may emerge in these or new projects.
According to Group policy, write-offs or provisions are booked on receivables when it is evident that no payment can be expected. Caverion Group follows a policy in valuing trade receivables and the bookings include estimates and critical judgements. The estimates are based on experience on realised write-offs in previous years, empirical knowledge of debt collection, customer-specific collaterals and analyses as well as the general economic situation of the review period. Caverion carries out risk assessments related to POC and trade receivables in its project portfolio on an ongoing basis. There are certain individual larger receivables where the company continues its actions to negotiate and collect the receivables. There is remaining risk in the identified receivables, and it cannot be excluded that there is also risk associated with other receivables.
Given the nature of Caverion’s business, Group companies are involved in disputes and legal proceedings in several projects. These disputes and legal proceedings typically concern claims made against Caverion for allegedly defective or delayed delivery. In some cases, the collection of receivables by Caverion may result in disputes and legal proceedings. There is a risk that the client presents counter claims in these proceedings. The outcome of claims, disputes and legal proceedings is difficult to predict. Write-downs and provisions are booked following the applicable accounting rules.
The investigation of violations of competition law related regulations in the technical services industry in Germany continues. As part of the investigation German authorities have searched information from various technical services providers, including Caverion. Caverion co-operates with the local authorities. Based on the currently available information, it is still not possible to evaluate the magnitude of the potential risk for Caverion related to these issues. The timing of the closing of the investigations is also unknown. It is possible that the costs, sanctions and indemnities can be material.
As part of this co-operation Caverion has identified activities during 2009-2011 that are likely to fulfil the criteria of corruption or other criminal commitment in one of its client project executed in that time. Caverion has brought its findings to the attention of the authorities and supports them to further investigate the case. It is possible that these infringements will cause considerable damage to Caverion in terms of fines, civil claims as well as legal expenses. However, the magnitude of the potential damage cannot be assessed at the moment. Caverion is monitoring the situation and will disclose any relevant information as applicable under regulations.
Caverion is implementing a robust compliance programme. As part of the programme all employees must complete an annual e-learning module and further training is given across the organisation. All employees are required to comply with Caverion’s Code of Conduct, which sets zero tolerance on bribery and corruption. In addition, Caverion has restructured and updated its Group-level policies and guidelines (“Caverion Guidelines”) and re-launched them in September 2017.
Goodwill recognised on Caverion’s balance sheet is not amortised, but it is tested annually for any impairment. The amount by which the carrying amount of goodwill exceeds the recoverable amount is recognised as an impairment loss through profit and loss. If negative changes take place in Caverion’s result and growth development, this may lead to an impairment of goodwill, which may have an unfavourable effect on Caverion’s result of operations and shareholders’ equity.
Caverion’s external loans are subject to a financial covenant based on the ratio of the Group’s net debt to EBITDA. Breaching this covenant would give the lending parties the right to declare the loans to be immediately due and payable. Caverion concluded amendments with its lending parties related to the maximum level of the financial covenant and confirmed the EBITDA calculation principles related to the Group’s financial covenant in 2017. The project write-downs made in 2016 and 2017 burdened the company’s EBITDA and the financial covenant level in 2017. It is possible that Caverion may need amendments related to its financial covenant also in the future. The level of the financial covenant ratio is continuously monitored and evaluated against actual and forecasted EBITDA and net debt figures.
Caverion’s business typically involves granting of guarantees in favour of customers or other stakeholders, especially in large projects, e.g. for advance payments received, for performance of contractual obligations, and for defects during the warranty period. Such guarantees are typically granted by financial intermediaries on behalf of Caverion. There is no assurance that the company would have continuous access to sufficient guarantees from financial intermediaries at competitive terms or at all, and the absence of such guarantees could have an adverse effect on Caverion’s business and financial condition. To manage this risk, Caverion’s target is to maintain several guarantee facilities in the different countries where it operates.
There are risks related to the functionality, security and availability of the company’s IT systems. Caverion has made significant investments in IT and system development. There is a risk that the expected functionalities and pay-back are not fully materialised.
Financial risks have been described in more detail in the 2017 Financial Statements note 5.5 and in the financial tables to this Interim Report under note 6.