The Group's businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects may be affected by risks and uncertainties directly or indirectly pertaining to the Group's businesses. The risk factors set out below are those that could result in the Group's businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects differing materially from expected or historical results. Such factors are by no means exhaustive or comprehensive, and there may be other risks in addition to those shown below which are not known to the Group or which may not be material now but could turn out to be material in the future. In addition, this website does not constitute a recommendation or advice to invest in the shares of the Company and investors are advised to make their own judgment or consult their own investment advisors before making any investment in the shares of the Company.
Economic Environment And Conditions
Uncertainty in world economic recovery continues due to economic pressures and geopolitical tensions in various areas of the world. Slowdown of the Mainland China economy and volatility in commodity prices continue to pose risks to the recovery and stability of the global economy. Slowdown in global economic growth could lead to economic contractions in certain markets, commercial and consumer delinquencies, weakened consumer confidence and increased market volatility. The Group is a diversified infrastructure investment company with businesses in Hong Kong, Mainland China, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Any adverse economic conditions in those countries and places in which the Group operates may potentially impact on the Group's financial position or potential income, asset value and liabilities.
Economic Conditions And Interest Rates
The industries in which the Group operates are affected by the economic conditions of the various places where the Group's investments or operations are located, the population growth of these places, mark to market value of securities investments, the currency environment and interest rates cycles. There can be no assurance that the combination of the above factors the Group experiences in the future will not adversely affect its financial conditions or results of operations.
In particular, income from finance and treasury operations is dependent upon the capital markets, interest rate and currency environment, and the worldwide economic and market conditions, and therefore there can be no assurance that changes in these conditions will not adversely affect the Group's financial conditions or results of operations. The volatility in the financial markets may also adversely affect the income to be derived by the Group from its finance and treasury activities.
Potential Risks In Relation To The UK Referendum On EU's Membership ("BREXIT")
On 23rd June, 2016, the outcome of uK's referendum on the eu's membership was to "leave the european union". The financial markets and exchange rate of the British pounds responded vigorously immediately.
While the Group's businesses in the UK are either protected by the respective regulated regimes or under long term payment contracts, and are essential services including electricity, water & sewage, gas and transportation, the continuing uncertainties following Brexit could adversely affect the economy of the UK and the strength of the British pounds, although the long term implication of Brexit remains to be seen.
A significant and prolonged depreciation of the British pounds may affect the Group's reported profit, and ability to maintain future growth of dividends for shareholders.
Concentration In Geographical Markets And Business Types
The business operation of the Group may be viewed as substantially concentrated in one or more geographical markets or in one particular or more types of business. If and when the Group's operations are exposed to any deterioration in the economic, social and/or political conditions as well as any incidence of social unrest, strike, riot, civil disturbance or disobedience or terrorism in such geographical markets and/or business segments, the adverse circumstances may materially disrupt the Group's operations and, in turn, impact the revenue, profitability and financial condition of the Group.
Highly Competitive Markets
The Group's waste management and off-airport car park businesses face significant competition across the markets in which they operate. New market entrants and intensified price competition among existing market players could adversely affect the Group's businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects. Competition risks faced by the Group include (a) possible restrictions on the access by the shuttle buses operated by the Group's off-airport car park businesses as imposed by the airport authorities who operates the on-airport car park businesses; (b) the availability of rail link services from city centre to airport which may reduce the usage of the off-airport car park; and (c) significant competition and pricing pressure from other competitors attempting to capture a higher level of market share. Such risks may adversely affect the financial performance of the Group's operation.
Some of the investments owned by the Group (for example, water, gas and electricity) are subject to regulatory pricing and strict adherence must be made to the licence requirements, codes and guidelines established by the relevant regulatory authorities from time to time. Failure to comply with these licence requirements, codes or guidelines may lead to penalties, or, in extreme circumstances, amendment, suspension or cancellation of the relevant licences by the authorities. Infrastructure projects are capital intensive, and with only a few major players in the market, there is no assurance of ready buyers on disposal.
The distribution and transmission networks of the Group's utilities investments are also exposed to supply interruptions. If a severe earthquake, storm, flood, fire, sabotage, terrorist attack or other unplanned event interrupts service, the loss of cash flow resulting from the interruption and the cost of recovery from network damage could be considerable and potentially cause poor customer perception and may also lead to claims and litigations. Moreover, some losses from events such as terrorist attacks may not be recoverable. Increases in the number or duration of supply interruptions could result in material increases in the costs associated with the operation of the distribution and transmission networks. The capacity factor (load factor) of the Group's wind farms could also be affected by the wind condition, which could result in the fluctuation of revenues. All of these uncertain factors could have a material adverse effect on the businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects of the Group.
Crude Oil Markets
The Group's investment in Husky Midstream Limited Partnership ("HMLP") comprises oil pipelines, storage facilities and ancillary assets in Canada. Its results of operation and financial condition may be dependent on the prices received for Husky energy Inc. ("Husky")'s refined products and crude oil. Lower prices for crude oil could adversely affect the value and quantity of Husky's oil reserve. HMLP also has other customers apart from Husky and their demand for HMLP's services may depend on prices received for their refined products and crude oil. Prices for refined products and crude oil are based on world supply and demand. The imbalance in the supply and demand may be affected by a number of factors including, but not limited to, the growth in U.S. unconventional and the organisation of the petroleum exporting Countries (OPEC) production, lower economic growth forecasts from emerging markets and corresponding growth in global crude oil inventories. Volatility in refined products and crude oil price may adversely affect the Group's financial condition and results of operations.
A significant amount of capital expenditure is required for the Group to acquire new investments and to maintain the assets of its existing businesses. While the relevant asset companies have their own asset management plans, there is a risk that due to unforeseen events, capital expenditure required for the replacement of assets could exceed budgeted amounts and hence affect the businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects of the Group.
The Group is a diversified infrastructure investment company with businesses in Hong Kong, Mainland China, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and is exposed to potential currency fluctuations in these countries and places in which the Group operates. The results of the Group are recorded in Hong Kong dollars but its various subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures may receive revenue and incur expenses in other currencies. Any currency fluctuations on translation of the accounts of these subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures and also on the repatriation of earnings, equity investments and loans may therefore impact on the Group's financial position or potential income, asset value and liabilities. The fluctuations in currencies and in particular, the devaluation of the pound sterling arising from the United Kingdom referendum vote to leave the european union impact on all businesses in the market that have exposure in the United Kingdom and/or to pound sterling. While the Company is not immune from such impact, there is no material change beyond market expectation.
To minimise currency risk exposure in respect of its investments in other countries, the Group generally hedges those investments with (i) currency swaps and (ii) appropriate level of borrowings denominated in the local currencies. The Group has not entered into any speculative derivative transaction.
Although currency exposures have been managed by the Group, a depreciation or fluctuation of the currencies in which the Group conducts operations relative to the Hong Kong dollar could adversely affect the Group's businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects.
With the fast expanding adoption of Internet and networking operational technology, cyberattacks around the world are occurring at a higher frequency and intensity. The Group's critical utility and information assets are exposed to attack, damage or unauthorised access in the cyberworld. Cybersecurity risks could have material adverse effect on the operational and business performance, as well as the business reputation of the Group.
Although the Group has not experienced any major damage to its infrastructure projects, assets or activities from cyberattacks to date, there can be no assurance that future cyberattacks or breaches of the Group's cybersecurity will not occur and result in significant impact on the Group's reputation, business, results of operations and financial condition.
Some of the businesses of the Group are conducted through non wholly-owned subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures in which the Group shares control (in whole or in part) and strategic alliances had been formed by the Group with other strategic or business partners. There can be no assurance that any of these strategic or business partners will continue their relationships with the Group in the future or that the Group will be able to pursue its stated strategies with respect to its non wholly-owned subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures and the markets in which they operate. Furthermore, the joint venture partners may (a) have economic or business interests or goals that are inconsistent with those of the Group; (b) take actions contrary to the Group's policies or objectives; (c) undergo a change of control; (d) experience financial and other difficulties; or (e) be unable or unwilling to fulfill their obligations under the joint ventures, which may affect the Group's businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects.
Mergers And Acquisitions
The Company has undertaken mergers and acquisitions activities in the past and may continue to do so if there are appropriate acquisition opportunities in the market. Although due diligence and detailed analysis are conducted before these activities are being undertaken, there can be no assurance that these can fully expose all hidden problems, potential liabilities and unresolved disputes that the target company may have. In addition, valuations and analyses on the target company conducted by the Company and by professionals alike are based on numerous assumptions, and there can be no assurance that those assumptions are correct or appropriate or that they will receive universal recognition. Relevant facts and circumstances used in the analyses could have changed over time, and new facts and circumstances may come to light as to render the previous assumptions and the valuations and analyses based thereon obsolete. Some of these mergers and acquisitions activities are subject to regulatory approvals in overseas countries and there can be no assurance that such approvals will be obtained, and even if granted, that there will be no burdensome conditions attached to such approvals. The Company may not necessarily be able to successfully integrate the target business into the Group and may not be able to derive any synergy from the acquisition, leading to an increase in costs, time and resources. For merger and acquisitions activities undertaken overseas, the Company may also be exposed to different and changing political, social, legal and regulatory requirements at the local, national and international level. The Company may also need to face different cultural issues when dealing with local employees, customers, governmental authorities and pressure groups.
Impact Of Local, National And International Regulations
The local business risks in different countries and cities in which the Group operates could have a material impact on the businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects. The Group has investments in different countries and cities around the world and the Group is, and may increasingly become, exposed to different and changing political, social, legal, tax, regulatory and environmental requirements at the local, national or international level. Also, new guidelines, directives, policies or measures by governments, whether fiscal, tax, regulatory, environmental or other competitive changes, may lead to an increase in additional or unplanned operating expenses and capital expenditures, increase in market capacity, reduction in government subsidies, pose a risk to the overall investment return of the Group's businesses and may delay or prevent the commercial operation of a business with resulting loss of revenue and profit, which may adversely affect the Group's businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects.
Impact Of New Accounting Standards
The International Accounting Standards Board has from time to time issued a number of new and revised International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS"). The International Accounting Standards Board may in the future issue new and revised standards and interpretations. In addition, interpretations on the application of the IFRS will continue to develop. These factors may require the Group to adopt new accounting policies. The adoption of new accounting policies or new IFRS might or could have a significant impact on the Group's businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects.
Outbreak Of Highly Contagious Disease
In 2003, there was an outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome ("SARS") in Hong Kong, the Mainland and other places. The SARS outbreak had a significant adverse impact on the economies of the affected areas. The spread of Influenza and other communicable diseases from time to time have also affected many areas of the world. The outbreak of the ebola virus disease also poses a significant threat to global industries. Additional outbreaks of other epidemic diseases may adversely affect the Group's businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects.
CK Hutchison Holdings Limited ("CK Hutchison") is also listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited. Although the Group believes that its relationship with CK Hutchison provides it with significant business advantages, the relationship results in various connected transactions under the Rules Governing the listing of Securities on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the "Listing Rules") and accordingly any transactions entered into between the Group and CK Hutchison, its subsidiaries or associates are connected transactions, which, unless one of the exemptions is available, will be subject to compliance with the applicable requirements of the Listing Rules, including the issuance of announcements, the obtaining of independent shareholders' approval at general meetings and disclosure in annual reports and accounts. Independent shareholders' approval requirements may also lead to unpredictable outcomes causing disruptions to as well as an increase in the risks of the Group's business activities. Independent shareholders may also take actions that are in conflict with the interests of the Group.
The Group's Financial Conditions Or Results Of Operations Are Affected By Those Of The Power Assets Group
Following the spin-off by Power Assets Group of its Hong Kong electricity business in January 2014, the Group owns approximately 38.87 per cent of Power Assets Holdings Limited ("Power Assets") which has investments in different countries and places and holds 33.37 per cent of HK Electric Investments, a fixed single investment trust, which in turn holds 100 per cent of the Hongkong Electric Company, limited ("HEC") whose operations comprise the generation, transmission, distribution and supply of electricity to Hong Kong Island and lamma Island. Hence the financial conditions and results of operations of Power Assets may be affected by the local market conditions and the economy of Hong Kong as well as the places where its investments are located. The Group's financial conditions and results of operations are materially affected by the financial conditions and results of operations of Power Assets.
Besides, the operations of HEC are subject to a scheme of control ("SCA") agreed with the Hong Kong Government which provides for a permitted level of earnings based principally on a return on their capital investment in electricity generation, transmission and distribution assets. The SCA was renewed for a term of ten years commencing 1st January, 2009. There can be no assurance that changes to or abolition of the SCA in the future will not adversely affect HEC's and the Power Assets' (and hence the Group's) financial conditions and results of operations.
Some of the Group's assets and projects, and many of the Group's customers and suppliers are located in areas at risk of damage from earthquakes, floods, fire, frost and similar events and the occurrence of any of these events could disrupt the Group's business and materially and adversely affect the Group's businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects.
Although the Group has not experienced any major structural damage to its infrastructure projects or assets or facilities from earthquakes or natural disasters to date, there can be no assurance that future earthquakes or other natural disasters will not occur and result in major damage to the Group's infrastructure projects, assets or facilities or on the general supporting infrastructure facilities in the vicinity, which could adversely affect the Group's businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects.
Past Performance And Forward Looking Statements
The performance and the results of operations of the Group during the past years as contained in this website are historical in nature and past performance can be no guarantee of future results of the Group. This website may contain forward-looking statements and opinions that involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from expectations discussed in such forward-looking statements and opinions. Neither the Group nor the Directors, employees or agents of the Group assume (a) any obligation to correct or update the forward-looking statements or opinions contained in this website; and (b) any liability in the event that any of the forward-looking statements or opinions does not materialise or turns out to be incorrect.