5. Financial risk management

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(a) Overview

The Group has exposure to the following risks from its use of financial instruments:

  • credit risk;
  • liquidity risk;
  • market risk.

This note presents information about the Group’s exposure to each of the above risks, the Group’s objectives, policies and processes for measuring and managing risk, and the Group’s management of capital. Further quantitative disclosures are included throughout these consolidated financial statements.

The Board of Directors has overall responsibility for the establishment and oversight of the Group’s risk management framework. The Group’s risk management policies are established to identify and analyse the risks faced by the Group, to set appropriate risk limits and controls, and to monitor risks and adherence to limits. Risk management policies and systems are reviewed regularly to reflect changes in market conditions and the Group’s activities.

(b) Credit risk

Credit risk is the risk of financial loss to the Group if a customer or counterparty to a financial instrument fails to meet its contractual obligations, and arises principally from the Group’s receivables from customers, and loans issued to related parties.

(i) Trade and other receivables

The Group’s exposure to credit risk is influenced mainly by the individual specific characteristics of each customer. The general characteristics of the Group’s customer base, including the default risk of the industry and country, in which customers operate, has less of an influence on credit risk.

Management has established a credit policy under which each new customer is analysed individually for creditworthiness before the Group’s standard payment and delivery terms and conditions are offered. The Group’s review includes external ratings, when available, and in some cases bank references. Purchase limits are established for each customer, which represent the maximum amount of outstanding receivables; these limits are reviewed quarterly. Customers that fail to meet the Group’s benchmark creditworthiness may transact with the Group only on a prepayment basis.

The majority of the Group’s customers have been transacting with the Group for several years, and losses have occurred infrequently. In monitoring customer credit risk, customers are grouped according to their credit characteristics. Trade and other receivables relate mainly to the Group’s wholesale customers.

The Group does not require collateral in respect of trade and other receivables, except for new customers who are required to work on a prepayment basis or present an acceptable bank guarantee or set up letter of credit with an acceptable bank.

The Group establishes an allowance for impairment that represents its estimate of incurred losses in respect of trade and other receivables and investments. The main components of this allowance are a specific loss component that relates to individually significant exposures, and a collective loss component established for groups of similar assets in respect of losses that have been incurred but not yet identified. The collective loss allowance is determined based on historical data of payment statistics for similar financial assets.

(ii) Current and non-current financial assets and cash and cash equivalents

The Group lends money to related parties, who have good credit standing. Based on the prior experience, management believes that there is no significant credit risk in respect of related party loans.

Cash and cash equivalents are primarily held with banks with high credit rating. In order to manage liquidity, the Group buys promissory notes of banks with high credit rating.

(iii) Guarantees

The Group considers that financial guarantee contracts entered into by the Group to guarantee the indebtedness of other parties are insurance arrangements, and accounts for them as such. In this respect, the Group treats the guarantee contract as a contingent liability until such time as it becomes probable that the Group will be required to make a payment under the guarantee.

The Group’s policy is to provide financial guarantees only to the subsidiaries or related parties.

(c) Liquidity risk

Liquidity risk is the risk that the Group will not be able to meet its financial obligations as they fall due. The Group’s approach to managing liquidity is to ensure, as far as possible, that it will always have sufficient liquidity to meet its liabilities when due, under both normal and stressed conditions, without incurring unacceptable losses or risking damage to the Group’s reputation.

Typically the Group ensures that it has sufficient cash on demand to meet expected operational expenses for a period of 30 days, including the servicing of financial obligations; this excludes the potential impact of extreme circumstances that cannot reasonably be predicted, such as natural disasters. In addition, the Group maintains several lines of credit in various Russian and international banks.

(d) Market risk

Market risk is the risk that changes in market prices, such as foreign exchange rates, interest rates and equity prices will affect the Group’s income or the value of its holdings of financial instruments. The objective of market risk management is to manage and control market risk exposures within acceptable parameters, while optimising the return.

(d) Currency risk

The Group is exposed to currency risk on sales, purchases and borrowings that are denominated in a currency other than the respective functional currencies of Group entities, being the Russian Rouble (RUB). The currencies giving rise to this risk are primarily USD and Euro.

In respect of monetary assets and liabilities denominated in foreign currencies, the Group ensures that its net exposure is kept to an acceptable level by buying or selling foreign currencies at spot rates when necessary to address short-term imbalances.

The Group uses from time to time derivative financial instruments in order to manage its exposure to currency risk.

(f) Interest rate risk

Management does not have a formal policy of determining how much of the Group’s exposure should be to fixed or variable rates. However, at the time of raising new loans or borrowings management uses its judgment to decide whether it believes that a fixed or variable rate would be more favourable to the Group over the expected period until maturity.

(g) Capital management

The Board’s policy is to maintain a strong capital base so as to maintain investor, creditor and market confidence and to sustain future development of the business. The Board of Directors monitors the return on capital invested and the level of dividends to shareholders.

There were no changes in the Board’s approach to capital management during the year.

The Company and its subsidiaries are subject to externally imposed capital requirements including the statutory requirements of the country of their domicile and the bank covenants, see note 26.