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KONE is exposed to risks that may arise from its operations or changes in the operating environment. The risk factors described below can potentially have an adverse effect on KONE’s business operations and financial position and, as a result, on the value of the company. Other risks, which are currently either unknown or considered immaterial to KONE may, however, become material in the future.

Strategic risks

A weakening of the global economic environment could result in deterioration of the market environment and the competitive situation in the industry. More specifically, a material decline or prolonged weakness within the construction industry could result in a significant decline for the new equipment market and a more challenging environment for services. In particular, a sustained market decline in China, which accounts for over 25% of KONE’s sales, could have an adverse effect on KONE’s growth and profitability.

Digitalization, and, as a result, new customer requirements, potential new competition, ecosystems, business models and structural changes in key markets, could have a significant impact on the elevator and escalator industry. Failure to anticipate or address changes in the external market environment could result in a deterioration of KONE’s growth, competitiveness, market share or profitability.

KONE operates in an industry with various local regulatory requirements. Sudden or unforeseen changes in regulations, an increase in geopolitical tensions or a rise in regulatory protectionism could result in more challenging market conditions in affected countries. Such developments could have an adverse impact on KONE’s operations.

A significant portion of KONE’s component suppliers and global supply capacity is located in China, for both the elevator and escalator businesses. Therefore, KONE’s operations may be adversely impacted by changes in trade agreements or by the introduction of trade restrictions.

Operational risks

As one of the leading companies in the industry, KONE has a strong brand and reputation. Issues that impact the company’s reputation or brand could have an effect on KONE’s business and financial performance. Such reputational risks could materialize; for example, in the case of an incident, a major delivery issue or a product quality issue. Matters concerning product integrity or quality could also have an impact on KONE’s financial performance.

KONE operates in certain high growth markets, where focused management of rapid business growth and transformation is required. This applies, in particular, to the availability of skilled personnel, the adequate supply of components and materials, and the ability to ensure the quality of products and services which are delivered. Failure to adequately manage resourcing, quality and the timeliness of delivery, or other critical aspects in projects, could have an adverse impact on KONE’s profitability.

The majority of components used in KONE’s supply chain are sourced from external suppliers, which exposes KONE to component price risk as well as raw material price risk. Therefore, stronger than anticipated increases in prices for raw materials and components may have a significant impact on KONE’s profitability.

Hazard, security and incidental risks

KONE’s business activities are dependent on the uninterrupted operation, quality and reliability of its manufacturing facilities, sourcing channels, operational service solutions and logistics processes. In addition, KONE’s operations extensively utilize information technology and its business is dependent on the quality, integrity and availability of information. Thus, in addition to physical risks, KONE is exposed to cyber security risks, as operational information systems and products may be vulnerable to interruption, loss or manipulation of data, or malfunctions which can result in disruptions in processes and equipment availability and therefore impact KONE’s business. Any breach of sensitive employee or customer data may also result in significant penalties as well as reputational damage. Such cyber incidents could be caused by, including but not limited to, cybercrime, cyber-attacks, computer malware, information theft, fraud, misappropriation, or inadvertent actions from our employees and vendors.

Financial risks

The majority of KONE’s sales are denominated in currencies other than the Euro, which exposes KONE to risks arising from foreign exchange-rate fluctuations. KONE is also exposed to counterparty risks related to financial institutions, through the significant amounts of liquid funds deposited with financial institutions, in the form of financial investments and in derivatives. Additionally, KONE is exposed to risks related to the liquidity and payment schedules of its customers, which may lead to credit losses. Significant changes in local financial or taxation regulation could also have an impact on KONE’s financial performance. For further information on financial risks, please refer to notes 2.4 and 5.3 in the Financial Statements for 2017.

Risks and risk management related to the reporting of non-financial information

The assessment and analysis of KONE’s most significant risks also covers material non-financial risks. In line with the requirements of the Finnish Accounting Act, KONE has identified the most significant non-financial risks regardless of their materiality for KONE as a whole. The typical impact of the non-financial risks materializing would be reputational damage. In addition to the risk mitigation actions described below, KONE aims for transparent and reliable communication in order to prevent reputational risks and to enable proactive management and learning from incidents, should they occur.

Environmental risks

Environmental risks related to KONE’s business are overall not very material. The most significant environmental risks are the inability to control the usage of hazardous substances in the supply chain and failure to measure the environmental impact of our solutions during their life-cycle. Environmental risks are managed by conducting internal and external audits and by regularly tracking compliance requirements and our environmental performance.

Social and employee related risks

Safety is a high priority at KONE and potential safety incidents are among the most significant social and employee related risks. Incidents are mitigated through, for example, extensive training, standardized maintenance and installation methods and regular process audits. Major repairs or retrofits in public infrastructure locations may also affect the daily life of many people and therefore, may have a reputational impact. Both safety and quality have a key role in product design, supply, manufacturing, installation and maintenance and they involve strict quality control. KONE also follows globally accepted principles in how to manage potential incidents.

Human rights related risks

The most significant human rights related risks are in the supply and delivery chain and are related to working conditions. All new suppliers must sign KONE’s Supplier Code of Conduct which sets out our ethical business practice requirements, including the standards we require in terms of labor and human rights.

Anti-corruption and bribery related risks

KONE requires its employees and partners to adhere to high ethical standards and to comply with its Code of Conduct, Distributor Code of Conduct and Supplier Code of Conduct. These codes cover numerous compliance topics, including competition law, trade sanctions compliance, and labor and human rights issues, as well as prohibiting corruption and bribery. Unethical business practices among KONE’s employees or various stakeholders could cause reputational damage for KONE as well as a possible financial impact. While the risks of such behaviors and practices materializing are included in the scope of KONE’s regular audit programs, the most important actions for internal mitigation is the development of KONE’s corporate culture through training and awareness building.

Risk management

RiskMitigation actions
Weakening of the economic environment, particularly in ChinaKONE strives to continuously develop its competitiveness in all regions and businesses. KONE has a wide geographic presence and a balanced business portfolio.
Failure to anticipate changes in the market environment, including new customer requirements, competition, ecosystems and business models enabled by digitalizationKONE aims to be the industry leader by investing in research and development and by taking an open innovation approach. KONE also closely follows emerging industry and market trends.
Sudden changes in regulation, or a rise in protectionismIn order to mitigate the risk of unforeseen changes in the regulatory environment, KONE actively monitors the development of regulations and evaluates its global footprint.
Disruption in the global supply chain, particularly in ChinaKONE actively develops business continuity management capabilities, in order to reduce the impact and likelihood of disruptions within its supply chain. Furthermore, KONE monitors the operations, business continuity management capabilities and financial strength of its key suppliers. In addition, KONE aims to secure the availability of alternative sourcing channels for critical components and services. KONE also has a global property damage and business interruption insurance program in place.
Product integrity and quality issues as well as issues with reputation.To mitigate product risks, KONE has processes in place for product design, supply, manufacturing, installation and maintenance, involving strict quality control. In addition, KONE aims for transparent and reliable communication, to prevent reputational risks and to manage potential incidents. KONE also has stringent corporate governance principles in place.
Availability of adequate operational resourcesKONE manages these risks through proactive project and resource planning as well as strict quality control processes.
Changes in raw material pricesIn order to reduce the impact of material and sourcing price fluctuations, KONE aims for fixed-price contracts with its major suppliers, for a significant portion of raw material and component purchases.
Quality and reliability of IT systems and cybersecurity risksKONE’s security policies define controls to safeguard information and information systems which are both in development and in operation, in order to detect cybersecurity incidents and to respond and recover in a timely manner. KONE works with third-party security service providers and trusted, well-known technology partners to manage the risks through the control framework. KONE conducts tests, reviews and exercises to identify areas of risk and to ensure the appropriate preparedness. The company continues to invest in its cyber security capabilities based on these findings.
Financial risksCentralized risk management in accordance with the KONE Treasury Policy. More information in notes 2.4 and 5.3 of KONE’s Financial Statements 2017.