The Group, which operates in numerous markets worldwide, is naturally exposed to market risks stemming from fluctuations in currency and interest rates. The exposure to currency risk is mainly linked to the difference in geographic location between the Group’s manufacturing activities and its commercial activities, resulting in cash flows from exports denominated in currencies that differ from those associated with production activities. The Group uses various forms of financing to cover funding requirements for its industrial activities and for financing customers and dealers. Moreover, liquidity for industrial activities was also principally invested in variable-rate or short-term financial instruments. The Financial Services companies normally operate a matching policy to offset the impact of differences in rates of interest on the financed portfolio and related liabilities. Nevertheless, changes in interest rates can result in increases or decreases in revenues, finance costs and margins.
Consistent with its risk management policies, the Group seeks to manage risks associated with fluctuations in currency and interest rates through the use of financial hedging instruments. Despite such hedges being in place, sudden fluctuations in currency or interest rates could have a material adverse effect on the Group’s business prospects, earnings and/or financial position.
The Group’s Financial Services activities are also subject to the risk of insolvency of dealers and end customers, as well as unfavorable economic conditions in markets where these activities are carried out, which the Group seeks to mitigate through the credit approval policies applied to dealers and end customers.