The Group’s operations entail a number of operational and financial risks that may affect earnings. The most significant risks are:
The Board of Directors has identified these risks and developed a plan to avoid or minimize the impact on the consolidated income statement and balance sheets through various measures. The Board, through clear policy and reporting paths, is thus focusing on stating how these risks shall be managed and how presentation is to be made. The Group’s overriding goal is to minimize the impact of financial and operational risks on the consolidated income statements and balance sheets. The Group’s policy is thus to work with various types of insurance or financial instruments to minimize various types of risks.
The general economic trend in the countries where the Group is active is a crucial factor for financial development, since the economic trend has a major effect on the flows of goods, volumes, and the resultant demand for maritime transports. The trend in markets other than those where the Group is active can also affect demand for the Group’s services, since the maritime transport market is highly international. The Group endeavors to maintain close contact with its customers and signs long-term cargo agreements with them to restrict the impact of economic fluctuations.
Earnings can be impacted by the loss of a vessel. These costs can be minimized through active service and damage-prevention work, resulting in lower risk of major individual cost increases. An offhire insurance that provides financial compensation in the event of prolonged operational disruption has been taken for part of the fleet of vessels, primarily those vessels involved in scheduled services.
Shipping is a highly international business, which means that a very small portion of the Group’s cash flow is generated in SEK. Accordingly, changes in foreign- exchange rates have a significant impact on the Group’s earnings and cash flow, as well as its assets. The foreign-exchange risk is primarily restricted by matching the exposure to revenues and assets in various currencies to loans in the corresponding currency. The remaining exposure is hedged using various hedging instruments in accordance with Group policy.
Shipping is a capital-intensive business, in which long-term loans are the principal form of financing. Accordingly, interest-rate fluctuations have a major impact on the Group’s earnings and cash flow. To reduce this risk, interest levels are hedged to a large extent for varying periods of time and using various types of hedging instruments.
To avoid disruptions in payments flows, the Group ensures the availability of sufficiently large liquidity reserves in the form of bank deposits and loan pledges to cope with unforeseen fluctuations in cash flow.
The Group only provides short working credit. These credits are mainly provided to major customers, with whom the Group has a long-term relationship.New customers are subject to a credit check prior to credit being provided. When longer-term credit is provided, this is conducted against collateral.
Cost changes for bunker oil can have a significant impact on earnings. Cargo contracts often include clauses that imply that the customer carries the risk of price changes. For the portion of consumption for which the Group does not have such clauses, the Group uses forward contracts for bunker oil.