Business Risks and Other Risk Factors

The Executive General Manager of the Corporate Control and Administration Division is designated as the officer in charge of monitoring risks and promoting risk management for the Group. The officer seeks to regularly analyze and assess risks facing the Company and its Group companies, and to continue monitoring risks to prevent problems from materializing. The Executive General Manager of the Sustainability Division is in charge of risks related to sustainability, including climate change.

The following are summaries of major foreseeable risks present in the business environments in which the Group operates.

Forward-looking statements herein are based on judgments made by management as of March 31, 2024.

1. Economic and Market Conditions

The Group’s businesses are affected by economic conditions in Japan and in other countries and regions where it operates. Demand fluctuates due to trends in factory utilization rates and capital investment in both the Electronics Industry and General Industry, which may affect the Group’s financial results. In the electronics industry, demand fluctuates due to changes in business conditions at customers. Such fluctuations in demand could affect the Group’s financial results. Furthermore, rising US-China trade friction may lead to stricter export controls, tariff sanctions and other rules, which could impact the business operations of the Group’s customers, leading to an indirect impact on the Group’s financial results. The Group’s financial results may also be affected by the response to climate change, including moves by customers to shrink or exit from fossil fuel-related businesses, a shift to alternative fuels and water resources, and the introduction of or an increase in carbon taxes on CO2 emissions generated by the Group’s facilities or products. The Group provides solutions for issues related to water and the environment to customers in a wide range of industries. In addition, the Group is transitioning to a service business as part of efforts to generate stable earnings. The Company also manages the operations of affiliated companies. Specifically, the Company verifies earnings and progress with the implementation of strategies and measures at affiliated companies on a monthly and quarterly basis, monitors internal audits, financial reporting and other matters related to internal controls, and makes decisions on important matters at affiliated companies, in line with the Company’s Internal Decision Approval and Review Rules. In addition, increasing competition with rivals in the Group’s business domains could lead to declines in the price of products and services, which could lower the Group’s profitability. However, as noted in 3., the Group is working to secure competitive advantages.

2. Impact on Materials and Parts Procurement from Soaring Prices for Raw Materials, Parts and Materials and Energy, and Supply Chain Disruption

The Group procures raw materials and parts from outside the Group for the manufacture of products and the construction of facilities. The Group also procures external services to support various business processes. The Group conducts these procurement activities with respect for human rights, in accordance with the Kurita Group Code of Conduct, and also complies with laws and regulations and takes into account economic, social and environmental factors, as set out in the Kurita Group Procurement Policy. The prices of raw materials, parts and services fluctuate based on changes in market conditions, and this may affect the Group’s financial results. Meanwhile, the spread of COVID-19 or other infectious diseases or developments in international relations, including rising tensions in Ukraine and the Middle East, could again lead to a spike in prices for raw materials for water treatment chemicals and for parts and materials used in water treatment facilities, as well as higher logistics costs amid another surge in energy prices and renewed supply chain disruption. In response, the Group plans to raise prices to pass on higher costs and work to secure inventories.

3. Development of New Technologies, Products and Services and Transformation of Business Processes

The Group operates CSV businesses that help to significantly cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, save water and recycle industrial waste compared with previous approaches and also develops new technologies, products and services to improve and expand its range of total solutions, which leverage chemicals, facilities and maintenance technologies, products and services. In addition, the Group has established a Digital Strategy Division to actively drive the Group’s digital transformation (DX) by introducing IoT and AI into new products and services and by digitizing business processes. However, the success of new technology and product development efforts and business transformation cannot be guaranteed. The Group may not be able to offer new technologies or superior products, services, or solution models that meet the needs of its customers in a timely fashion. The Group may also fail to keep pace with rapid technological innovation, changing customer needs and advances in digital technologies. Failure to develop superior new products, services or solution models, delays to DX initiatives, or slow progress with measures to reduce GHG emissions from customers’ operations could limit future growth and profitability or otherwise affect the Group’s financial results.

4. Overseas Business Development

The Group is working to expand its business outside Japan. In contrast to the Japanese market, conducting business in overseas markets involves a number of inherent risks, including unexpected changes to local laws and regulations, political and economic instability, and conflict or terrorist incidents. If such risks materialized, the Group’s financial results could be affected. In regions where the Group operates, the Group obtains information about the local security situation and other conditions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or consultants, and uses local legal counsel, certified public accountants and other experts to verify the legal and regulatory framework in local markets. The Group also uses a guidebook for overseas deployments to provide safety training and advice to employees being sent overseas, provides medical and emergency support services to employees based overseas and publishes safety information as part of efforts to ensure the safety of all directors, officers, and employees. In addition, the Group is potentially exposed to an impact from tighter regulations and sanctions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the situation in Taiwan or the Korean Peninsula, as well as any associated deterioration in the economy.

5. Large-Scale Natural Disasters

A large-scale natural disaster or other similar event that directly or indirectly disrupts the Group’s business execution could affect the Group’s business activities, financial results and financial condition. The Group has established the Kurita Group Business Continuity Management (BCM) Policy to prepare for earthquakes, typhoons, severe rainstorms or other large-scale natural disasters. In line with the policy, the Group develops business continuity plans, conducts water damage risk assessments of Group facilities, offices, and residences of directors, officers and employees and implements response measures, establishes safety verification systems, reinforces buildings against earthquakes, builds stockpiles of disaster prevention supplies and conducts disaster response drills for directors, officers, and employees.

6. Exchange Rate Fluctuations

The ratio of overseas sales to total consolidated sales in the Group is 48.5%, reflecting overseas acquisitions and other factors.
The local currency-denominated financial statements of each overseas subsidiary are reflected in the consolidated financial statements after conversion to Japanese yen. Therefore, exchange rate fluctuations may affect the Group’s business results and financial condition. To hedge against exchange rate risk, the Group may use forward exchange contracts, currency swap contracts and other types of derivatives.

7. Risk of Unprofitable Projects

The installation of water treatment facilities may lead to additional costs if the Group fails to meet contractual obligations to customers for raw water and other criteria, or due to defects with products or services arising from faults with design or engineering work, or as a result of accidents. The Group may also face requests for compensation for damages incurred by customers as a result of these issues. The Group rigorously carries out design and engineering work in accordance with design and engineering procedures, and prior to the issue of project budget documents, establishes an engineering review meeting to verify various aspects of project design, including quality, cost, delivery, safety and environmental criteria. In addition, the Company holds monthly business process review meetings from when the order is received until the project is delivered to confirm engineering progress and manage the profitability of each project component, allowing total project costs to be estimated using the latest information. Overseas Group companies follow similar procedures, and the Company also provides them with design and engineering management support for large projects. In this way, the Group aims to prevent any problems before they occur by sharing information about project issues and other areas.

8. Impairment Loss on Fixed Assets

  1. (1)  Impairment Loss on Goodwill and Intangible Assets
    The Group has acquired companies to obtain a foundation for overseas business and to gain access to competitive technologies and business models. As a result, the current balance of goodwill is ¥71,001 million (12.7% of consolidated total assets). Goodwill is not amortized, and is tested for impairment annually, or whenever there are signs of possible impairment. If, because of changes in the business environment, an acquisition does not yield expected benefits, or if there is a difference between the estimated future cash flows obtained by the impairment test and actual cash flows, impairment losses on goodwill or other impairment losses may occur. Recoverable amounts are estimated based on value in use in impairment tests, and value in use is calculated using a discount rate for future cash flow referencing the weighted average cost of capital (WACC) for each cash-generating unit. Future cash flow forecasts have a five-year horizon and are formulated based on historical trends and external data. The forecasts form the basis of business plans approved by management. Forecasts for periods longer than five years are calculated based on average long-term growth rates, taking into account conditions in markets for each cash-generating unit. Sales growth estimates in business plans and growth rates and discount rates for periods beyond business plans are used by the Group as key assumptions. Any change in these assumptions could have an impact on the Group’s financial results and financial condition. The Company has established an Investment Committee to strengthen the Group’s investment and lending screening functions. The committee is chaired by the Deputy Executive General Manager of the Corporate Control and Administration Division. The committee conducts pre-screening of investment and lending projects to be discussed by the Board of Directors or the Executive Committee, focusing on business plans, investment amounts, adequacy of risk assessments, profitability, competitive advantages, legality and other criteria. The results of the screening and key points for discussion are presented to the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee, ensuring corporate acquisitions are only conducted after careful consideration and discussion by the Company. In addition, all acquired companies are subject to business management procedures for affiliated companies explained in 1. above.
  2. (2)  Impairment Loss on Property, Plant and Equipment
    The Group’s ultrapure water supply business and other businesses install equipment at customers’ plants. In cases where a customer withdraws from a business or suspends operations at a plant, impairment losses on fixed assets may occur, which may affect the Group’s financial results and financial condition. When making investment decisions on installing equipment at customer plants, the Group carefully considers factors such as the customer’s business conditions, customer contract terms and return on investment.

9. Information System Security

The Group’s use of information systems and the importance of those systems in the Group’s business are increasing. If a computer virus or other factor were to obstruct the functions of the Group’s information systems, the Group’s business activities, financial results and financial condition could be negatively affected. In accordance with the Kurita Group Information System Management Policy, the Group is strengthening measures against computer viruses by installing antivirus software and providing information security education and awareness training to directors, officers, and employees, including training about targeted email attacks. In addition, the Group has established a team to implement an emergency response to minimize opportunity losses in the event of a security incident.

10. Laws and Compliance

In the event that the Group’s directors, officers, or employees fail to comply with laws or regulations or are responsible for conduct that contravenes social ethics, the Group may face restrictions on its business activities, fines, damage to public trust or other issues, which could affect the Group’s financial results and financial condition. The Group has established a Sustainability Committee, chaired by the Executive General Manager of the Sustainability Division. This committee is tasked with rigorously ensuring all the Group’s activities are underpinned by socially ethical behavior, rather than conducting compliance activities simply to meet legal requirements.

11. Product and Service Quality and Water Treatment Facility Operational Errors

The supply or discharge of water that falls short of required standards due to human error or other operational issues at customers’ or the Group’s water treatment facilities may lead to claims for damage compensation or a loss of public trust. The Group’s financial results may be affected if its obligations exceed the scope of liability insurance coverage, or if there is a loss of public trust. As explained in 7. above, the Group has created a quality management system and continuously implements improvements to increase customer satisfaction.

12. Intellectual Property

Given the wide scope of the Group’s business, there is potential for the Group’s intellectual property rights to be infringed and potential for the Group to infringe rights held by third parties. While such actions could affect the Group’s financial results, the Group recognizes the importance of intellectual property and continually seeks to register its own intellectual property while avoiding infringements of rights held by third parties, both in Japan and overseas.