Risks and risk management
Most significant short-term business risks
YIT’s Board of Directors approves the company’s risk management policy and its objectives, including the risk tolerance and risk appetite. Risk management planning and the evaluation of the overall risk position are part of the annual strategy process. Risk management is included in all of the Group’s significant operating, reporting and management processes.
The general economic development, functioning of the financial markets and the political environment in YIT’s operating countries have a significant impact on the company’s business. Negative development in consumers’ purchasing power, consumer or business confidence, the availability of financing for consumers or businesses, or general interest rate level would likely weaken the demand for YIT’s products and services. A drop in residential prices or an increase in investors’ yield requirements would pose a risk for the profitability of the company, should these factors materialise.
There is still uncertainty related to the economic development of Russia. The volatility of the oil price and the rouble, changes in legislation, geopolitical tensions and inflation may have an influence on the demand for apartments due to a weakening in purchasing power and consumer confidence. Declining purchasing power and oversupply of apartments would also impact the development of residential prices.
At the end of December, Finland accounted for the majority of the company’s revenue, which highlights the significance of Finland’s economic development for YIT’s business. The slowing growth of the Finnish economy and the indebtedness of the public sector may weaken consumers’ purchasing power and general confidence, which would have a negative impact on the demand for apartments and business premises. An increase of public sector debt could also make it more difficult to finance infrastructure investments. Investors have played a central role in YIT’s Finnish business in recent years. An increase in price or interest levels, increased rental accommodation supply and/or weakening in tenant demand on the business premises or residential market and better yield of alternative investments could lead to a significant decrease in investor demand. Increased supply and slowdown of population growth or depopulation can pose a local risk for residential demand.
Ensuring competitive products and services corresponding to customer demand is critical for YIT’s business. Changes in customer preferences and in the competitors’ offerings pose risks related to the demand for the company’s products and services. New competitors, business models and products on the housing market may pose risks related to the demand for the company’s products and services.
Fluctuations in the price of raw materials may have an impact on financial performance. YIT’s single most significant purchased raw material is bitumen, and its price mainly depends on the world market price of oil. The company manages the bitumen price risk with contractual terms and derivatives.
Especially in Finland and the CEE countries, the availability of the resources needed for the increased production volume might prevent increasing the production as planned. Competitors’ need for resources also poses a risk of losing key personnel and expertise. The overheating of market, should it materialise, would have an impact on price levels and availability of resources.
Completing the integration takes time from key personnel, causes uncertainty among employees and activates competitors to recruitment attempts. The company has taken measures as planned to mitigate these risks. The company expects the annual total synergies to have an impact of EUR 45–50 million by the end of 2020. Of this, EUR 40 million is expected to be achieved starting from the first quarter 2020.
The assumptions related to the synergy benefits and integration costs are by nature uncertain and liable to numerous significant risks and uncertainties related to business, economy and competition. More detailed information on the risks related to the merger is published in the merger prospectus. The merger prospectus is available on YIT’s website.
Most of the company’s business is project business, meaning that successful project management plays an integral role in ensuring the company’s profit. The most significant project management risks are related to factors such as pricing, planning, scheduling, procurement, cost management and customer behaviour as well as in the company’s self-developed business, also the management of sales risk. YIT’s major business premises and infrastructure projects in Finland, such as the Tripla project, make up a significant share of the company’s expected operating profit in the coming years, meaning that successful project management in the projects is integral.
Among other measures, the company has continued to manage risks related to its business and to capital employed by utilising associated companies and joint ventures in its business operations. Being a party to associated companies and joint ventures is nevertheless subject to risks typical to them related to, among other things, potential disagreements regarding decision making, financing and business operations, as well as distribution of liabilities among parties.
Generally increased activity in cyber criminality may cause risks for the company’s operations and information security. Malpractices of personnel may cause losses, financial or other, or risks to other employees.
Changes in legislation and authorities’ processes may slow down the progress of projects, increase the need for funding or prevent them from being realised. There are uncertainty factors related to authorities’ actions, permit processes and their efficiency particularly in Russia and the CEE countries. The political tensions between EU, USA and Russia are materialised as sanctions, among others, that may have a significant impact on the company’s business. Changes in the federal law regulating housing market in Russia may cause disturbance in companies’ monetary transactions, current contract models and increase capital employed. The act is planned to be specified during the spring 2019, which increases uncertainty. The role of banks in monitoring the law has been expanded and the incompleteness of the monitoring process may cause uncertainty.
In recent years, the company has decreased capital employed in Russia according to its strategy and the improvement of the capital turnover will continue as a part of normal business. In connection with publising its new strategy, the company announced that its target is to further release capital employed in Russia by approximately EUR 100 million.
The most significant financial risks are the risks related to foreign exchange rate development and the availability of financing. The availability of financing may be affected by negative development in Scandinavian residential construction market. The Group’s most significant currency risk is related to rouble-denominated investments. Additional information on financial risks and their management is provided in Note 28 to the Financial Statements 2017.