The risk management process in 2015 took into consideration the changes to the organizational structure implemented at the start of the year. As a result of the Operations organization being established to assume responsibility for production operations to a large extent, the business groups and units now have a stronger focus on the management of strategic risks, while Operations focuses on operational risks and damage risks related to postal operations and freight.
The Group’s insurance cover was developed systematically, and tenders were invited for the Group’s statutory accident insurance in Finland.
Key strategic risks were related to the decline in postal delivery volumes, which progressed more rapidly than expected, as well as the economic recession and other changes related to markets or the business environment that were unexpected or more extensive than anticipated. From the Group’s point of view, Russia also involves significant financial risks: the fluctuation and depreciation of the ruble and declining demand affect shareholders’ equity through changes in the value of capital employed in Russia.
Other strategic risks are related to Posti’s competitive ability, Posti’s ability to implement its strategy and develop new business models and its corporate culture, as well as regulation by the authorities. Operational risks are primarily related to profitability, the renewal of ICT operations, and business interruptions and other disruptions.
The Finnish Government is preparing a Postal Act reform, which will remove the requirement of licences from Postal operators, currently granted by the Government. In Posti´s view, the new reform will provide to Posti´s competitors a distinct competitive advantage. If the reforms will not apply to regulation of universal service, respectively, Posti´s ability to produce universal service profitably will weaken. It will increase the efficiency measures as well.
Continued economic recession may have an impact on the activities of companies and consumers and, consequently, on the volumes of products transported by Posti and demand for warehousing services both in Finland and abroad. Turbulent exchange rates and financial markets and any related disturbances may also pose a risk to the Group’s business operations.
Significant market risks include the digitization of postal services at a more rapid rate than expected and other unanticipated changes in this area, such as an unexpectedly fast decline in the volumes of letters, magazines, and newspapers. Posti strives to develop its operations continuously to minimize the impacts of this risk.
Rigid cost structures slow the improvement of profitability, particularly in production operations in Finland, where the universal service obligation also limits the potential for enhanced efficiency. As volumes decline, the economic recession further complicates efforts to maintain profitability.
In logistics, unanticipated regulatory changes related to domestic transport and increasing international competition are also seen as risks.
Any delays in the management of acquisitions and the integration of the acquired businesses and their operations into the Group cause direct financial losses and pose a strategic risk that limits business development. Our goal is to ensure successful integration through careful planning and monitoring.
In Russia, the development of the economic, social, legislative and other areas of the business environment may pose a strategic market risk for Posti. From the Group’s point of view, Russia also involves significant financial risks: the fluctuation and depreciation of the ruble and declining demand affect shareholders’ equity through changes in the value of capital employed in Russia.
In accordance with the Group’s financial policy, equity investments in subsidiaries are not hedged. Ruble hedging costs remain high, and the Group has discontinued the hedging of both the parent company’s ruble-denominated receivables and local transaction risk in Russia for the time being.
Risks in Russia are managed by continuously monitoring business development, increasing the monitoring of critical processes and by establishing a solid foothold in the Russian market through our own companies, employees, and effective networking. We seek to prevent reputation risks from materializing through enhanced internal auditing, separate local compliance operations, continuous risk assessment, and regular compliance training for employees.
In OpusCapita, with the volume of paper-based transactions decreasing, and that of electronic transactions increasing rapidly, along with competition, it is evident that the average price of transactions will decline more than the volume of business operations will grow. This calls for continuous improvement in cost-efficiency.
Financial management software is being increasingly offered as cloud services. This involves the risk of whether OpusCapita is able to develop its operations and service offering quickly enough. OpusCapita’s capacity to develop the outsourcing of financial processes and the related processes during a period of rapid growth involves a strategic risk for OpusCapita. At the same time, it is essential to ensure profitability in outsourcing business operations.
The protection and development of key production and warehouse facilities and the continuity of the ICT infrastructure are critical in the management of operational risks related to loss and interruption. If materialized, in a fire, for example, such risks could result in substantial losses of customer accounts and value for Posti.
Other significant business disruption risks are related to the vulnerability of information security, networks and the production infrastructure. These risks concern both operations and the corporate image.
Financial risks and their management are explained in the Notes to the Financial Statements.
In a labor-intensive industry, the successful management of sick leave and the effective and extensive prevention of accidents are extremely important in terms of employee well-being and productivity as well as the Group’s profitability. The Safe Workplace project is underway at Posti in Finland to further develop the management of occupational safety risks related to employees. The aim of the project is to halve the number of accidents by 2018.
The postal industry is undergoing the most dramatic transformation in its history. This requires Posti to adjust its delivery and sorting capacity and strongly enhance the efficiency of its operations in the coming years. Changes may cause disturbances to mail deliveries and processes. We seek to minimize these risks through active cooperation with employees, good change implementation planning, the Uusi polku program launched at the beginning of 2014 and professional communication.
We seek to insure against all residual risks for which insurance is the best option for financial or other reasons. Insurance policies related to business continuity, property and liabilities as well as certain insurance policies related to personnel are managed centrally at the Group level. In addition to management liabilities, liability risks include risks arising from operations and products. Deductibles are determined based on the Group’s risk-bearing ability.