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Management Policy

Risk Factors

Risk Factors

1. Risks of Changes in Global Macroeconomic Factors

Our global business activities are affected by economic conditions both globally and regionally. Among other locations, we are particularly vulnerable to downward economic trends in Europe, Japan, China, the United States and emerging countries. An economic downturn may cause a reduction in the flow of goods and materials, a decline in consumer spending and capital investment, and subsequently a decline in demand from our customers for our products and services, which may have an adverse impact on our business, operating results and financial condition.

2. Market Risk

1.Commodity Market Risk

We are engaged in trades in and, as the case may be, production of a variety of commodities in the global commodities market including mineral resources and energy products. Among others, operating results from our mineral resources and energy producing activities account for significant portion in our overall operating results. These commodity markets can be volatile in a short period or seasonally fluctuate by various factors such as imbalance of supply and demand, economic fluctuation, inventory adjustment, and exchange rate fluctuations. These factors are beyond our control. The unexpected market fluctuations may adversely affect our business, operating results and financial condition, as follows.

  • At businesses such as mineral resources and/or energy development projects, in which large amounts of investment has been made, it may occur that the invested amount is not recoverable through sales of the produced products due to a fall in price or we may have difficulty in divesting our proprietary equity at a reasonable price.
  • A decline in the value of our investments in LNG projects and other investments which are recognized to designate as at fair value through other comprehensive income (“FVTOCI”), could adversely affect our operating results and financial condition due to the decline of other comprehensive income.
  • In trading of commodities or derivative instruments losses may occur as a result of unexpected fluctuations.
  • Fluctuations in a commodity market may cause a reduction of trading transactions in which we act as a principal or an agent.
2.Foreign Currency Risk

We are exposed to risk of exchange rate fluctuations and exchange rate fluctuations may have an adverse effect on our operating results. Although our reporting currency is the Japanese yen, a significant portion of our business operations, consolidated revenues and operating expenses is denominated in currencies other than the Japanese yen. As a result, appreciation or depreciation in the value of other currencies as compared to the Japanese yen could result in material transactional gains or losses. As most of revenues, costs of revenues, and selling, general and administrative expenses incurred from regular business activities at overseas subsidiaries and associated companies are quoted in the U.S. dollar, the Australian dollar, the Brazilian real, or other currencies, our profit for the year may be affected by the fluctuations of these currencies and we are exposed to translation risk in our assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currencies. In addition, exchange rate fluctuations may reduce the value of investments in overseas subsidiaries and associated companies as well as in FVTOCI, and adversely affect our accumulated other comprehensive income.

3.Interest Rate Risk

We are exposed to risks associated with interest rate fluctuations, which may affect our overall operational costs and the value of our financial assets and liabilities, particularly our debt obligations from the capital markets and borrowings from financial institutions, including ¥201.6 billion short-term debt and ¥4,025.4 billion long-term debt as of March 31, 2018. An increase in interest rates, especially in Japan and the United States, may adversely affect our operating results.

4.Stock Price Risk

A significant portion of our investment portfolio consists of marketable equity financial assets. At March 31, 2018, our marketable equity financial assets recognized to designate as FVTOCI were carried at a fair value of ¥1.046.6 billion, representing 9.3% of our total assets. While we periodically review our investment portfolio, a decline in the equity securities market could negatively impact the value of our investment portfolio and operating results and financial condition due to the decline of other comprehensive income.

5.Risks Regarding Pension Cost and Projected Benefit Obligations

Declines in the market value of domestic and foreign government bonds, other debt securities and marketable equity securities would reduce the value of our pension plan assets. A decline in the value of our pension plan assets or an increase in our unfunded defined benefit obligation could adversely affect our operating results and financial condition due to the decline of other comprehensive income and retained earnings.

3. Credit Risks

We are exposed to large-scale counterparty credit risks, including the following:

  • While many of our customers purchase products and services from us on credit, we may also provide financing programs or debt guarantees for customers associated with sales contracts. At March 31, 2018, our current trade receivables (less allowance for doubtful receivables-current) were ¥1,766.0 billion, representing 15.6% of our total assets. The balance of the allowance for doubtful receivables-current for the year ended March 31, 2018 was ¥8.6 billion.
  • We engage in significant project financing activities as a lender or guarantor whereby we assume repayment risk.
  • We have counterparty payment risk from various derivative transactions we enter into as part of our hedgingactivities.

It is not possible for our credit risk management policy to eliminate risks completely relating to the deterioration of the financial positions of our counterparties. Furthermore, factors such as insolvencies among our customers caused by liquidity crises, sudden falls in real estate market or stock market prices, or increases in company bankruptcies may make it difficult for us to collect receivables.

4. Risks Regarding Impairment Loss on Fixed Assets

Assets for our own use and/or rental to third parties, such as equipment and fixtures, land and buildings are exposed to potential significant impairment losses due to the decline in the value of these assets. The total of the carrying amounts of property, plant and equipment, investment property and intangible assets was ¥2,092.1 billion, as of March 31, 2018. The carrying amounts of assets for our own use and/or rental to third parties are affected by certain factors, which are beyond our control such as changes in price, sales volume, production volume and cost based on global or local supply and demand. When impairment losses on these assets occur, impairment losses may have an adverse effect on our operating results and financial condition.

5. Risks Regarding Fund Procurement

Turmoil in financial markets, a downgrade in our credit ratings or significant changes in the lending or investment policies of our lenders or institutional investors could result in constraints on our fund procurement and an increase in funding costs, and could have an adverse effect on our financial position and liquidity.

6. Risks Regarding Deferred Tax Assets

We determine the recoverability of deferred tax assets based on all currently available information, including tax deductibility of accounting losses, their timing as well as future taxable income at Mitsui and the subsidiaries. Deferred tax assets are recognized except for cases where such deferred tax assets are not recoverable, while the amount of recoverable net deferred tax assets may change if estimates of future taxable income are changed or if tax laws and regulations including statutory tax rates are revised.

A worsening of our operating environment could negatively affect our ability to achieve the goals set in our business plan, and future taxable income may decrease compared to the amount anticipated in the current tax planning strategies. In such cases, decrease in deferred tax assets due to the changes in assessment for recoverability of deferred tax assets may adversely affect our operating results and financial conditions.

7. Concentrated Risk Exposures

Various types of businesses worldwide sometimes expose us to risks associated with regional political and economic instabilities, in addition to aspects of the global economic environment such as commodity market conditions, demand and supply for commodities, currency exchange rates and interest rates. Furthermore, some of our business activities may be exposed to concentration risk in particular industries located in specific regions or countries. For example:

  • In Brazil, Chile and Russia, we have significant interests in the exploration, development and production of mineral resources and energy.
  • In Indonesia, we actively participate in infrastructure projects, including the operation of power plants, and maintain a nationwide motorcycle retail finance business.
  • In Mozambique, we have significant interests in the rail and port infrastructure business and the exploration, development and production of mineral resources.

As a result, declining levels of trading activities or asset volumes in specific sectors or in certain regions or countries, or unexpected political or economic instabilities could have a disproportionately negative effect on our business, operating results and financial condition.

8. Business Investment Risk

As of March 31, 2018, we had 265 consolidated subsidiaries and 207 equity accounted investees. We have been continuously restructuring underperforming businesses of our consolidated subsidiaries and associated companies using a process we have introduced to assess their profitability. If we fail to successfully restructure or eliminate our underperforming subsidiaries and associated companies in a timely manner, or if these efforts fail to improve our business operations as contemplated, our business operations may become less efficient and our operating results and financial condition may be adversely affected.

Furthermore, we participate in various businesses directly or indirectly through joint ventures or by making strategic investments in other companies and business enterprises. The outcome of these joint ventures and strategic investments is unpredictable because:

  • operational success is critically dependent on factors that are beyond our control such as the financial condition and performance of the partner companies or the strategic investees; or
  • with respect to certain associated companies, we may be unable to exercise adequate control over the management, operations and assets of the companies in which we invested or may be unable to make major decisions without the consent of other shareholders or participants due to lack of common business goals and strategic objectives with our alliancepartners.

Any occurrence of these events could have an adverse effect on our operating results and financial condition.

9. Risks Regarding Exploration, Development and Production of Mineral Resources and Oil andGas

Exploration, development and production activities of mineral resources and oil and gas projects are becoming more significant to our operating results and financial condition. Mining and oil and gas projects involve risks, as follows:

  • development of projects may face schedule delays or cost overruns than originally planned, due to difficulties in technical conditions, procurement of materials, financial conditions and government regulations including environmentalaspect;
  • reserves are estimated based on available geological, technical, contractual and economic information, and thus actual development and production may significantly differ from originally estimated reserves; and
  • exploration activities may not produce successful results and thus it is possible that reserve replacement cannot be achieved as per assumed cost and time schedule.

We participate as a non-operator in many of these projects. Under these circumstances, we carefully consider the business potential and profitability of projects based on the information and data provided by operators, who has the discretion to control operations of such projects, including decision-making for development and production. In addition to the above-mentioned risks, an operator’s failure in managing those projects may adversely affect our operating results and financial condition.

10. Risks Due to Competition

Products and services we provide are generally under competition. Other Japanese general trading companies as well as other competitors which engage in similar business activities in various fields may have stronger business associations and relationships with our customers, suppliers and business partners in both domestic and global markets; or stronger global network and regional expertise, diversified global customer bases, greater financial engineering skills and market insights.

Unless we can successfully continue to meet the changing needs of our customers by providing them with innovative and integrated services in a cost effective manner, we may lose our market share or relationships with our existing customers, and we may have an adverse effect on our operating results and financial condition.

11. Risk Regarding Limitation of Resources on Business

In new businesses, we are investing human resources that are capable of planning and evaluating business, executing projects and managing and supervising workforce. However, in certain business areas, we may have a shortage of required human resources, which could cause a loss of opportunities to start new businesses, which in turn may adversely affect our future business, operating results and financial condition.

12. Environmental Risks

Various projects and business transactions worldwide we are involved in are subject to extensive environmental laws and regulations. In particular, the Mineral & Metal Resources Segment and Energy Segment may be adversely affected by present or future environmental regulations or enforcement in connection with our exploration, development and production activities. For example, we are subject to complex sets of environmental regulations in Australia, Brazil, Chile, Russia, and the Middle East. These laws and regulations may require us to perform site clean-ups; require us to curtail or cease certain operations; impose fines and payments for significant environmental damage; require us to install costly pollution control equipment; and require us to modify our operations. Newly enacted environmental laws and regulations or changes therein, criticism by stakeholders such as NPOs & NGOs, advise from institutional shareholder service provider and rating by the ESG/SRI research company may materially impact the progress of these projects.

Once an environmental accident occurs, as the owner of mineral resource and energy interests, regardless of the degree of our contribution to such accidents or acts of negligence, we may be imposed to bear fines or payments for compensation from environmental authorities or other concerned parties, even in situations where we have no involvement at all in actual operations as a non-operator. These fines and/or compensation payments may include clean-up costs, compensation for environmental damages, compensation for health hazard and/or property damage to those affected by the accident, compensation for absence from work and/or for loss of earnings.

13. Risks Associated with Laws and Regulations

Our business operations are subject to extensive laws and regulations in Japan and other countries throughout the world. Our operations are subject to laws and regulations governing, among other things, commodities, consumer protection, business and investment approvals, environmental protection, currency exchange control, import and export (including restrictions from the viewpoint of national and international security), taxation, and antitrust. For instance, many of our infrastructure projects in developing countries are subject to less developed legal systems. As a result, our costs may increase due to factors such as the lack of a comprehensive set of laws and regulations, an unpredictable judicial system based on inconsistent application and interpretation of laws and regulations, and changing practices of regulatory and administrative bodies. For example, we are subject to sudden and unpredictable changes to: tariffs for products and services that we provide; technical specifications with respect to environmental regulations; income tax and duty rates; and foreign currency exchange controls with respect to repatriation of investments and dividends.

Furthermore, while we are involved in the exploration, development and production activities through various contractual arrangements for concessions, the contracts may not be honored or extended when they expire. Moreover, the regulatory bodies of these areas may unilaterally intervene or even alter the contractual terms of our oil and gas as well as mineral resource producing operations involving production rates, pricing formulas, royalties, environmental protection cost, land tenure or otherwise. If these regulatory bodies unilaterally alter such contractual terms, or if the cost of complying with revised or newly established laws and regulations increases, our business, operating results and financial condition could be adversely affected. In order to comply with laws and regulations, we may bear considerable additional costs.

14. Risks Regarding Employee’s Compliance with Laws, Regulations, and Internal Policies

Due to our size, as well as the operational and geographic breadth of our activities, our day-to-day operations are necessarily de- centralized. As a result, we cannot fully ensure that our employees comply with all applicable laws and regulations as well as our internal policies. For example, our employees may engage in unauthorized trading activities and exceed the allotted market risk exposure for various commodities or extend an unauthorized amount of credit to a client, which, in either case, may result in unknown losses or unmanageable risks. Moreover, our employees could engage in various unauthorized activities prohibited under the laws of Japan or other jurisdictions to which we are subject, including export regulations, anticorruption laws, antitrust laws and tax regulations. The efforts we undertake to ensure employees’ compliance with applicable laws and regulations as well as our internal policies may not succeed in preventing misconduct by our employees. Depending on its nature, employees’ misconduct could have negative effects on our operating results and reputation.

15. Risks Regarding Internal Control

We are engaged in business activities in a variety of products and services worldwide and thus our internal control over financial reporting needs to be established for numerous transaction patterns. We may be unable to maintain adequate internal control over financial reporting, and thus not be able to assert that our internal control over financial reporting is effective. This could adversely affect the capital market’s perception of us and may cause negative market reactions.

16. Risks Regarding Climate Changes and Natural Disasters

Initiatives to reduce greenhouse gases, which are said to be the root cause of climate change and global warming, are undertaken globally, such as adoption and ratification of “Paris Agreement” at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) in United Nations U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.
We recognize the significance of Climate Change. Transition risks related to transition to low carbon emission economy (Policy and Legal Risks, Technology Risk, and Market Risk) and physical risks resulting from climate change could adversely affect the operating results of our businesses.
As transition risks related to policy and legal risk, introduction of government-imposed greenhouse gas emission restrictions including imposition of carbon tax, and cap and trade schemes of emission credit could adversely affect the operating results of our businesses that use fossil fuel and emit a large amount of greenhouse gasses, such as overseas power producing businesses, and that produce coal, oil, and gas, where we have minority share holdings.

As physical risks, among extreme weather conditions which have been increasing recently due to climate change, intense storms, especially hurricanes and cyclones, which are strong tropical depressions in the Atlantic and South Pacific oceans, respectively, may have an adverse impact on production and shipments of our mineral resources, oil and gas, and salt production operations, leading to increased costs and/or decreased revenues. In the case that production sites, production facilities, and infrastructure used for shipments such as roads, railways and ports, are seriously damaged by extreme weather conditions, operations and shipments could stop for indeterminate periods until restoration work is completed. Extreme weather conditions such as drought could also adversely affect foods raw material producing activities in which we have investments.

Furthermore, natural disaster, such as earthquake, heavy rain or flood, that affects our employees and damages our offices or facilities, may adversely hinder our business. We have implemented measures such as developing a disaster contingency manual, creating a Business Continuity Plan (BCP), introducing a safety confirmation system for employees, reinforcing earthquake resistance, and conducting emergency drills. However, despite these measures, there is no assurance that damage from disasters can be completely avoided.

17. Risks Regarding Information Systems and Information Securities

As for the worldwide operation of our global communication network, it is important to properly operate the IT system, grasp the information value and handle it properly. We enhance the safety and security of information systems by internal control through development of related regulations to secure properly confidentiality, integrity, and availability on information and information systems for us and our consolidated subsidiaries. We reduce risks on data breaches by improved guidelines for better risk management, and tackle external threats with various measures, including the security monitoring of our IT networks.
However, we cannot eliminate all the possibilities of distraction or leakages of confidential business information triggered by unexpected serious IT system troubles, and unforeseeable threats against our IT system infrastructure or communications networks. Such situations could seriously reduce our operational efficiency or jeopardize our ability to maintain or expand our business activities, which may have an adverse impact on our business, operating results and financial condition.

18. Risks Relating to Terrorists and Violent Groups

We conduct business operations globally, and these conditions are therefore exposed to risk from unexpected situations relating to terrorists and violent groups, as well as trends in politics and social factors. The materialization of such risks may have an adverse impact on our business, operating results and financial condition.

19. Possibility of difference between the actual dividend amount and the forecasts announced prior to the recorddate

The customary dividend payout practice of publicly listed companies in Japan may significantly differ from the practice widely followed in other markets. Our dividend payout practice is no exception.

We ordinarily announce a certain dividend payout policy at the beginning of each fiscal year and also provide guidance for annual dividends based on the forecast of our financial results including profit for the year. Interim dividends are paid to shareholders of record on September 30 of each fiscal year after reviewing our financial results during the first six months of each fiscal year as well as our forecast of our financial results during the last six months of the same fiscal year. The decision of declaration and payment is solely a matter of discretion of our Board of Directors, and such a decision may be made after the September 30 record date, and thus may differ from our guidance provided prior to such record date.

The amount and payment of the year-end dividend are determined by our Board of Directors based on the actual financial results including profit for the year. It also requires the approval of shareholders at the annual general meeting held in June of each year, if we propose to declare the year-end dividend. Our Board of Directors decides and submits a proposal for the year-end dividend declaration a few weeks before the annual general meeting. If the shareholders’ approval is given, dividend payments are made to shareholders of record.

The shareholders of record may sell shares after the March 31 record date with the anticipation of receiving a certain dividend payment. However, the declaration of year-end dividends is approved by our shareholders only in June, usually based upon a proposal submitted by our Board of Directors. As such, we may have announced dividend-related forecasts prior to the record date; but, in making a decision on the year-end dividend declaration, neither our shareholders nor our Board of Directors is legally bound by such forecast. Moreover, where our profit for the year turns out to be lower than we originally forecast, we may not submit any year-end dividend proposal to the annual general meeting of shareholders.

20. Possibility of restriction to sell our common stock because of daily price range limitations under Japanese stock exchange rules

Stock prices on Japanese stock exchanges are determined on a real-time basis by the equilibrium between bids and offers. These exchanges are order-driven markets without specialists or market makers to guide price formation. To prevent excessive volatility, these exchanges set daily upward and downward price range limitations for each stock, based on the previous day’s closing price. Although transactions may continue at the upward or downward limit price if the limit price is reached on a particular trading day, no transactions may take place outside these limits on these exchanges. Consequently, an investor wishing to sell at a price above or below the relevant daily limit on these exchanges may not be able to effect a sale at such price on a particular trading day, or at all.

21. Necessity of depositary to exercise the rights of shareholders

The rights of shareholders under Japanese law to take actions, including exercising voting rights, receiving dividends and distributions, bringing derivative actions, examining our accounting books and records and exercising appraisal rights are available only to holders recorded on our register of shareholders. Because the depositary, through its custodian agents, is the recorded holder of the shares underlying the ADSs, only the depositary can exercise those rights in connection with the deposited shares. The depositary will make efforts to vote the shares underlying your ADSs as instructed by you and will pay to you the dividends and distributions collected from us. However, as ADS holders, you will not be able to bring a derivative action, examine our accounting books and records or exercise appraisal rights except through and with the consent of the depositary.

  • Best IR Award
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  • ROBECOSAM Sustainability Award
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This website contains statements (including figures) regarding Mitsui & Co., Ltd. (“Mitsui”)'s corporate strategies, objectives, and views of future developments that are forward-looking in nature and are not simply reiterations of historical facts. These statements are presented to inform stakeholders of the views of Mitsui's management but should not be relied on solely in making investment and other decisions. You should be aware that a number of important risk factors could lead to outcomes that differ materially from those presented in such forward-looking statements. These include, but are not limited to, (i) change in economic conditions that may lead to unforeseen developments in markets for products handled by Mitsui, (ii) fluctuations in currency exchange rates that may cause unexpected deterioration in the value of transactions, (iii) adverse political developments that may create unavoidable delays or postponement of transactions and projects, (iv) changes in laws, regulations, or policies in any of the countries where Mitsui conducts its operations that may affect Mitsui's ability to fulfill its commitments, and (v) significant changes in the competitive environment. In the course of its operations, Mitsui adopts measures to control these and other types of risks, but this does not constitute a guarantee that such measures will be effective.