1. Risk of Fluctuation in Business Performance
The ESPEC Group's main customers are manufacturers in the electronic components, electronic devices, and automotive sectors. Consequently, the Group's business performance is strongly affected by trends in business and capital investment in these industries. ESPEC works to swiftly develop products that meet its customers' diverse needs. At the same time, the Company strives to minimize fluctuations in its own business performance by responding to requests for customization and developing customers in sectors outside of electronics. These efforts notwithstanding, lower levels of capital investment among the Group's main customers due to protracted economic weakness and other factors may adversely impact the business performance of the ESPEC Group.
Furthermore, although the ESPEC Group commands a high market share in Japan, the Japanese market is also a maturing one. As such, the Group is reliant on overseas markets for growth in this business. Emerging markets, particularly the fast-growing markets of Asia, are witnessing entry by a host of companies from around the world, a situation that is fueling intense price competition. The ESPEC Group was among the first in the industry to establish multiple bases in China and Southeast Asia, and has a business framework in place for coping with rapid market expansion. Nevertheless, the Group's business performance may be adversely impacted by competition with U.S. and European environmental test chamber makers, who enjoy a large share of the market in their home countries, as well as by Chinese and Taiwanese manufacturers, who are aiming to enter the market by flooding it with low-priced products.
2. Risk Associated with Increasing Overseas Sales Ratio
The ratio of sales from outside Japan for the ESPEC Group accounted for a high 42.2% of Group total sales on a consolidated basis in the fiscal 2016 ended March 31, 2017. Moreover, this percentage is expected to rise further in the future. In terms of business development overseas, the Group's efforts may be hindered by any number of factors that could result in difficult to foresee social turmoil in the countries and regions where it operates. These factors include, but are not limited to, terrorism, political instability, natural disasters, and outbreaks of new strains of influenza or other pandemic diseases. Such problems, should they arise, could adversely impact the Group's financial position and business performance.
With regard to foreign exchange risk, the ESPEC Group believes that its exposure is relatively limited due to hedging operations carried out within certain limits under its risk management policy, as well as the fact that a large proportion of the Group's export revenues are denominated in Japanese yen.
3. Risk Associated with Export Regulations
The Company's products and technologies are subject to laws and regulations governing exports, such as the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Control Law and its directives (export trade management directive, foreign exchange directive), as well as a related ministerial directive. Based on this, the Group makes every effort to gain a clear picture of export destinations, buyers, uses, and transaction channels as stipulated in the latest legislation. Nevertheless, there is a possibility of resale by the buyer or other parties to countries and users who might use the products or technologies for manufacturing weapons of mass destruction or conventional armaments. The use of the Group's products and technologies by unanticipated parties in applications for which they were not intended could ultimately have an adverse effect on the ESPEC Group's business performance.
4. Risks Associated with Dependency on Suppliers
The ESPEC Group procures a variety of parts and materials from suppliers. Similarly, the Group engages third-party processing companies as a means of coping with varying manufacturing volumes and efficiently acquiring knowledge of various manufacturing technologies. The Group implements strict transaction controls aimed at these entities, grades them on their quality assurance programs and production and environmental management systems, and provides guidance where necessary, in an effort to cultivate mutual relationships of trust. However, the Group's own production efforts could become compromised if procurement from these suppliers and third-party processing services is halted due to bankruptcy, an exit from business, or similar factors. In addition, suppliers could provide defective components, leading to serious production delays. In the worst case, this situation could require expensive countermeasures, such as a recall of products already sold.
5. Risk in Cases of Significant Damage to Key Facilities from Earthquakes or Other Natural Disasters
The ESPEC Group's key manufacturing and R&D facilities are located in Japan. If these key facilities were to suffer major damage from an earthquake or other natural disaster, it would not only interfere with the Group's ability to operate, but could potentially require huge sums for repairs or rebuilding. Even in cases in which the Company itself is not directly damaged, business activities could be severely undermined by secondary damage, such as limitations on the supply of electric power and other infrastructure, and the inability to procure necessary components and materials from suppliers.
6. Risk of Steep Rise in Raw Material Procurement Costs
The raw materials for the products manufactured by the ESPEC Group consist primarily of stainless steel, steel, copper and aluminum. Procurement prices of these materials fluctuate in line with movements on international commodity markets. In the event of a sudden steep rise in raw materials prices, there is a possibility that the Group's business performance will be adversely affected.
7. Risks associated with business alliances and corporate acquisitions
The Company may form business and capital alliances and execute corporate acquisitions to expand its business domain. In making decisions in this regard, the Company rigorously reviews the risks by conducting a detailed preliminary evaluation of a target company's business content, financial position, and business relationships, among other considerations. However, should problems unforeseen by the preliminary evaluation arise, or if changes in the business environment and other factors impede realization of the initially projected benefits, they might cause the amortization of goodwill and other obligations to affect the Company's business performance and financial position.