Systematic risk management
The objective of the risk management system at the Haniel Group is a forward-looking evaluation of risks with respect to the overriding corporate objectives of value creation, growth and liquidity. The purpose is to identify those risks at an early stage that negatively impact strategic and operating initiatives and hence the realisation of value and growth potential or that endanger having adequate liquidity available at all times. This does not mean avoiding all potential risks. Rather, risks should be identified early so that rapid and effective countermeasures can be taken or conscious decisions can be made to take on manageable ones – thereby also to exploit entrepreneurial opportunities.
Haniel’s risk management system is based on an integration concept and accordingly comprises multiple components. The Holding Company stipulates the scope of activities for the key components and sets minimum central requirements which must be implemented at the discretion of each of the divisions, as suiting the individual business models.
The organisational structure for risk management is defined throughout the Group and includes all divisions. At the level of the divisions, the controlling or Internal Auditing departments coordinate risk identification and are responsible for risk assessment as part of corporate planning. Identified risks are discussed by the Risk Management Board with the participation of the Management Board, and any need for additional action to manage risks is examined. Furthermore, there is also a Risk Management Committee at the Holding Company level in which the Management Board and the heads of all corporate and staff departments are represented. This body serves above all to foster a cross-disciplinary exchange of information on the risks faced by the Holding Company. The Risk Management Officer at the Holding Company level coordinates the risk identification process across all divisions and is responsible for further developing the early risk identification system.
In connection with the strategic and operational planning process, material risks and measures for their mitigation are identified. A risk is defined as the danger of a negative deviation from the planned or expected development. The identified risks are systematically assessed with regard to their probability of occurrence and amount of damage, with measures for avoiding or mitigating the risks and provisions already recognised incorporated as part of the assessment. The identified risks are discussed in the planning meetings by the Management Board of the Holding Company and the management of the divisions. The risks are subsequently discussed in greater detail in the Risk Management Board. In addition to this risk analysis, a risk inventory is conducted at the Holding Company level. The results are discussed by the Risk Management Committee. The Haniel Group risk report is prepared based on the divisions’ risk reports and the Holding Company’s risk inventory. The members of the Management Board discuss the findings and inform the Audit Committee about the Group’s overall risk situation and about significant individual risks.
As part of their reporting of revenue and results during the period, the divisions submit not only key financial figures but also company-specific non-financial figures and issues to the Holding Company so that undesirable developments can be detected in good time. This reporting is supplemented by risks that exceed defined thresholds.
An additional element of risk management is the ongoing collection and analysis of information on markets, trends and competitors.
Investment controlling comprises annual budgeting as well as the regular review of the capital spent. Capital spending projects are assessed using uniform discounted cash flow (DCF) calculations. Minimum risk-adequate rates of return are specified for each division and each strategic business unit.
Financial risk reporting and management include liquidity risks, default risks, risks resulting from changes in interest and exchange rates, and price fluctuations in the commodity markets. The objective is to avoid or limit financial risks. To that end, the Holding Company has laid out general principles for financial risk management. These principles are prescribed in guidelines for the treasury departments of the Holding Company and the divisions. In addition, the Holding Company has special guidelines for the investment of financial resources. The management of financial risks is explained in detail in the notes to the consolidated financial statements.
The internal control system is designed to ensure that existing regulations for risk reduction are adhered to at all levels within the Group. This is intended to ensure the functionality and cost-effectiveness of business processes and to counteract impairments of assets. The internal control system is implemented in the Holding Company and divisions according to their specific business models, and incorporates both process-integrated and process-independent control measures. It covers all significant business processes including the accounting process.
The compliance management system comprises preventative measures designed to ensure compliance with statutory and internal corporate rules and regulations. To that end, Haniel has prescribed uniform minimum standards throughout the Group. Compliance risks in the Group are systematically captured and evaluated as part of the compliance management system, and discussed between the management of the divisions and Management Board of the Holding Company. A hotline for reporting possible compliance violations is also a component of the compliance management system. In addition, training sessions with examinations are held on compliance issues. Furthermore, the divisions and Holding Company each have compliance officers who serve as employee liaisons to help clarify potential issues.
The Internal Auditing departments in the divisions and the Holding Company are integrated into the risk management system. They monitor the processes within the companies of the Haniel Group, in particular from the perspectives of operating performance, cost-effectiveness and adherence to statutory regulations and internal guidelines. These efforts also include monitoring the implementation and effectiveness of the risk management system, including the internal control system and the compliance management system. In its risk-orientated audit plan, Internal Auditing also takes account of the information from the risk inventory and examines significant risk issues where necessary.
Corporate bylaws and regulations derived from them ensure that the elements of the risk management system are adhered to and applied in the intended manner in the Haniel Group in accordance with statutory provisions. Codes of conduct for the Holding Company and the divisions supplement these regulations. They set forth the fundamental principles of conduct for employees, based on practised value concepts.
The effectiveness of the risk management system is monitored regularly and improvements are introduced where necessary.
In 2015, the auditors were again commissioned by the Supervisory Board to subject the Group’s early risk identification system to a voluntary audit analogously to § 317 (4) of the German Commercial Code (Handelsgesetzbuch, “HGB”). The auditor verified the suitability of this system.