PUMA is continuously exposed to opportunities and risks in the competitive, fast-paced and international sport and lifestyle industry. The risk strategy is therefore to take business risks in a calculated manner in order to implement the corporate strategy with all its opportunities. For this purpose, effective risk and opportunity management is required so that opportunities can be recognized and utilized, and risks can be identified and managed at an early stage. We define risks as potential future developments or events that may lead to a negative deviation from targets for the company (see the "Risk Management System" section). Similarly, opportunities are potential future developments or events that may result in a positive deviation from targets.
PUMA takes a conscious and controlled approach to risks in order to achieve the company's goals. The aim of the risk management system is to identify and manage at an early stage material risks or risks that could even jeopardize the company's existence and thus support the achievement of the company's objectives. In addition, compliance with the related laws, regulations and standards must be ensured, as well as transparency in relation to the risk situation from the perspective of partners such as customers, suppliers and investors. Therefore, PUMA has established an appropriate and effective risk management organization which is able to identify risks at an early stage and manage them in accordance with the corporate strategy and promote risk awareness within the PUMA Group to facilitate risk-based decisions. As part of the organization, risks are looked at Group-wide, unless explicitly stated to the contrary. As in the previous year, PUMA's risk management system is based on a comprehensive, interactive and management-oriented approach to risk that is integrated into the company's organization and is based on the globally recognized COSO standard (Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission). Opportunity management is not part of the risk management system and is the responsibility of operational management teams in the respective regions, markets and departments (see the "Opportunities" section).
The Management Board of PUMA SE bears overall responsibility for the risk management system in accordance with Section 91(3) AktG. The Management Board regularly updates the Audit Committee of the Supervisory Board of PUMA SE. In addition, pursuant to Section 107(4), the Audit Committee has a direct right to information from the operational management departments. The Risk Management Committee, which consists of the PUMA SE Management Board and selected managers, is responsible for the design, review and adaptation of the risk management system. For the operational coordination of the risk management process and support of the risk officers, the risk management function of the Group Internal Audit, Risk Management & Internal Control department has been assigned to prepare the regular risk reporting to the Risk Management Committee. The responsibilities, tasks and processes of the risk management system are defined in guidelines. The structure and design of the risk management system are as follows:
The risk owners are mainly the managers of the functional areas and the managing directors of the subsidiaries. Risks are identified company-wide by performing a bottom-up analysis within the risk owner's area of responsibility. These risks are regularly reported to the risk management function and/or the local monitoring bodies in structured interviews that take place every six months or during the year using established internal reporting channels.
The risks are evaluated and assessed in terms of probability of occurrence and extent of damage using quantitative criteria with the help of a systematic methodology. The quantitative criteria are represented in the form of risk classification ranges on a four-level scale. While the risk assessment of the probability of occurrence is measured as a percentage rate, the extent of damage is based on the planned operating result for the upcoming financial year. We follow a net risk approach, addressing the risks that remain after existing control measures have been implemented. The resulting risk assessments are presented as an aggregated risk group ("overall risk situation"). Thus, for the materiality assessment, the quantified risks are combined from their extent of damage and probability of occurrence and are classified in a comprehensive risk matrix with regard to their significance level (see graphic G.20), for internal monitoring and to assess their viability.
For example, a risk can be allocated within the most critical range, which may also include risks that could even jeopardize the company's existence, in the case that its assessment reflects a combination of highest bandwidth for extent of damage and probability. The overview of the risk groups is presented in table T.7, summarized in the order of their relative importance and their change during the year.
Regular risk identification and assessment is carried out by the risk management function every six months with all major functional areas. The risks recorded and assessed are also reviewed with a top-down approach by the Risk Management Committee. This ensures that adequate consideration is given to interdependencies and the overall risk situation.
The risk owners are responsible for the operational management of identified risks. Risks can be managed by avoiding, reducing, diversifying or transferring the risk in order to achieve the targeted and acceptable residual risk. Within the reporting process, material risks or those which could even jeopardize the company’s existence are coordinated with and managed by the Risk Management Committee or the Management Board, taking into account the risk-bearing capacity, which is also based on the planned operating income.
The methodology and structure of the risk management system are continuously monitored in terms of their appropriateness and effectiveness, and adapted or improved when required. This is carried out on the one hand by the Internal Audit department, as an independent audit body within the PUMA Group, and on the other hand through the utilization of the results of the auditor of PUMA SE, which assesses the early risk identification system annually for its fundamental suitability to be able to identify risks that endanger the company’s existence at an early stage.
The following explanations of risk groups are presented based on their relative importance for the financial year 2022.
As an internationally operating group, PUMA is exposed to global macroeconomic developments and the associated risks having an impact on our sales and sourcing markets. For example, economic developments in key sales markets may affect consumer behavior. This can have positive or negative effects on the planned sales and consolidated net earnings. Likewise, political changes, social developments and environmental events (such as natural disasters) can also be reflected in changes in legal and macroeconomic conditions.
In 2022, macroeconomic development was marked on the one hand by economic uncertainties (e.g. inflation, the energy crisis) and on the other hand by risks due to increased geopolitical tensions. There are a number of uncertain factors regarding Russia's invasion of Ukraine, particularly in relation to its extent and duration. Interruptions to the supply chain and increased raw material prices can have a negative impact on business development as well as planned sales and income.
Overall, we manage these challenges with geographic diversification and the development of alternative scenarios for the possible occurrence of serious events. This applies in particular to political developments and possible changes in legal framework conditions, which are continuously monitored by PUMA and incorporated into appropriate measures.
PUMA first identified the COVID-19 pandemic as a new risk in the financial year 2020 and accordingly established the risk category "pandemic (COVID-19)." This risk was considered to be the most significant business risk for the PUMA Group. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to be assessed as a significant business risk in the financial year 2022, in particular with regard to the uncertainty about new virus variants, further lockdowns or supply chain disruptions that could restrict business activity. Potential future scenarios could lead to a decline in sales or challenges in the continuation of certain business activities.
Despite the ongoing challenges and uncertainties resulting from the pandemic (COVID-19), we are continuing to pursue the objective of surviving the crisis without hindering PUMA's mid-term growth. Different strategic approaches have been established to ensure the health and safety of our employees and customers, as well as continuous monitoring of the situation and possible restrictions. Close cooperation with partners and suppliers is essential here. In addition, the established e-commerce business forms an essential part of our distribution structure.
The majority of PUMA products are produced in selected Asian countries, in particular in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and India. In addition to the aforementioned challenges, production in these countries continues to be associated with significant risks for us. These risks arise, for example, from changes in sourcing, wage and logistic costs, supply bottlenecks for raw materials or components, and quality issues, as well as from the possibility of overdependence on individual suppliers.
The portfolio is regularly reviewed and adjusted to avoid creating a dependence on individual suppliers and sourcing markets. Generally, long-term master framework agreements are agreed upon to secure the required production capacities for the future. A quality control process and the direct and partnership-like collaboration with suppliers should permanently secure the quality and availability of our products.
Sourcing and the supply chain must also react to risks, such as changes in duties and tariffs as well as trade restrictions and government requirements. The transport of products to the distribution countries is also exposed to the risk of delays and failures by warehouse and logistics service providers.
We therefore continuously analyze political, economic and legal framework conditions and have further enhanced our close cooperation with our logistics partners in order to be able to react to changes in the supply chain early on and to continuously strengthen the supply chain. The collaboration with warehouse and logistics service providers is accordingly secured by selection processes, consistent contractual terms and permanent monitoring of relevant indicators.
In 2022, increased geopolitical tensions and the COVID-19 pandemic continued to cause disruptions and delays in relation to sourcing and the supply chain. In order to counteract this risk, we have further intensified the cooperation with our suppliers and logistics partners in order to be able to act flexibly and base our actions around finding the right solutions.
The risk posed by market-specific product influences, in particular the risk of substitutability in the highly competitive sport and lifestyle market, is countered by the early recognition and taking advantage of relevant consumer trends. Only those companies that identify these trends at an early stage will be able to gain an edge over their competitors. Brand image and brand desirability are of key importance for us, as consumer behavior can have a negative effect on the brand as well as a positive one. Accordingly, we have set the guiding principle that "We want to become the fastest sports brand in the world" in order to underline the company's long-term direction and strategy. The "Forever Faster" brand promise does not just stand for PUMA's product range as a sports and lifestyle company, but also applies to all company processes.
Media reports about PUMA also play a key role in brand image. For example, reports about the infringement of laws or internal/external requirements, product recalls and exposure on social media and reports about workforce diversity and tolerance can cause significant damage to brand image and ultimately result in the loss of sales and profit.
Targeted investments in product design and product development are to ensure that the characteristic PUMA design of the entire product range is consistent with the overall brand strategy ("Forever Faster"), thereby creating a unique level of brand recognition.
Brand image is particularly strengthened through cooperation with brand ambassadors who embody the core of the brand and PUMA's brand values ("brave," "confident," "determined" and "joyful") and have a large potential for influencing PUMA's target group. We additionally counter this risk through careful press, social media and public relations work as well as by monitoring the press and social media environment. This is managed from the group headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany, and the subsidiary in the U.S. PUMA also continuously seeks open discussions with important external stakeholders. For example, PUMA launched an initiative in 2022 to bring together young activists, NGOs and industry experts to discuss the biggest challenges facing the fashion industry ("PUMA's Conference of People").
As a group that operates internationally, PUMA is exposed to transactional foreign currency risks such that the quoted currencies used for acquisition, disposal and credit transactions and for receivables do not match the functional currency of the Group companies.
PUMA's biggest sourcing market is Asia, where most payments are settled in US dollars (USD), while sales of the PUMA Group are mostly invoiced in other currencies. PUMA manages currency risk in accordance with internal guidelines. Material risks are hedged, in accordance with the Group directive, up to a hedging ratio of 95% of the estimated foreign currency risks from expected acquisition and disposal transactions over the next 12 to 15 months. Forward exchange contracts and currency options, usually with a term of around 12 months from the reporting date, are used to hedge the foreign currency risk. For significant risks that are subject to large hedging costs, high hedging ratios can only be achieved over shorter terms.
To hedge signed or pending contracts against currency risk, PUMA only concludes currency forward contracts and currency options on customary market terms with reputable international financial institutions. As of the end of 2022, the net requirements for the 2023 planning period were adequately hedged against currency effects.
Foreign exchange risks may also arise from intra-group loans granted for financing purposes. Currency swaps and currency forward transactions are used to hedge currency risks when converting intra-group loans denominated in foreign currencies into the functional currencies of the group companies (EUR).
In order to disclose market risks, IFRS 7 requires sensitivity analysis that show the effects of hypothetical changes in relevant risk variables on earnings and equity. The periodic effects are determined by relating the hypothetical changes caused by the risk variables to the balance of the financial instruments held as of the balance sheet date. The underlying assumption is that the balance as of the balance sheet date is representative for the entire year.
Currency risks as defined by IFRS 7 arise on account of financial instruments that are denominated in a currency which differs from the functional currency and are monetary in nature. Differences resulting from the conversion of the individual financial statements to the group currency are not taken into account. All non-functional currencies in which the Group employs financial instruments are generally considered to be relevant risk variables.
The currency sensitivity analysis is based on the net balance sheet risk denominated in foreign currencies. This also includes intra-company monetary assets and liabilities. Outstanding currency derivatives are also reassessed as part of the sensitivity analysis. It is assumed that all other influencing factors, including interest rates and raw material prices, remain constant. The effects of the forecasted operating cash flows are also ignored.
Currency forward contracts, used to hedge against payment fluctuations caused by exchange rates, are part of an effective cash-flow hedging relationship pursuant to IAS 39. Changes in the exchange rate of the currencies underlying these contracts have an effect on the hedge reserve in equity and on the fair value of these hedging contracts.
The organizational structure of PUMA, with its group headquarters in Herzogenaurach, having a central sourcing organization and globally positioned distribution companies, underlines the group’s global orientation. This results in a risk for us that the flows of goods and information are not sufficiently supported by modern warehouse, logistics and IT infrastructure. For this reason, existing business processes must be continually optimized and aligned with business needs. This is carried out systematically through targeted optimization projects, which are planned and managed centrally by the specialized departments.
The ongoing digitalization of the business environment exposes PUMA to risks in information technology. Key business procedures and processes have the potential to be significantly disrupted by the failure of IT systems and networks, and external attacks (cyberattacks) or incorrect conduct may result in the loss of confidential and sensitive data as well as high costs, loss of sales and reputational damage.
To mitigate these risks, we continuously carry out technical and organizational measures and invest in the renewal and security of our IT landscape. IT systems are regularly checked, maintained and undergo security tests. In addition, all employees are continuously sensitized using guidelines and performing training courses and information campaigns.
PUMA utilizes various distribution channels, such as the traditional wholesale business with our retail partners and the PUMA-owned and operated retail and e-commerce business (“Direct-to-consumer business) to reduce its dependency on individual distribution channels. The wholesale business is defined by strong partnerships and represents the largest revenue share overall. The company's own retail and e-commerce business is intended to ensure a higher gross profit margin, better control on distribution and presentation of PUMA products exclusively in the desired brand environment.
In the wholesale business, growing retailers, including those offering their own brands, and competitors pose the risk of intensified competition for consumers and market shares. Consumer purchase behavior is also changing, focusing more on e-commerce and a combination of stationary and digital trade. This requires continuous adjustment of the distribution structure. Distribution through the company's own retail stores and e-commerce channels is, however, also associated with various risks for us. These include the necessary investments in expansion and infrastructure, setting up and refurbishing stores, and higher fixed costs and leases with long-term lease obligations. This can have an adverse impact on profitability in the event of a business decline.
In order to avoid risks, we carry out permanent monitoring of distribution channels and regular reporting by the Controlling and specialized departments. A detailed location and profitability analysis is carried out in our distribution channels before making any investment decision. The company's reporting and controlling system allows us to detect negative trends early on, and to take the countermeasures required to manage individual stores. In e-commerce, global activities are harmonized and investments in the IT platform are made to further optimize purchase transaction settlement and further improve the shopping experience for consumers.
Sustainability topics are highly important in sourcing as well as along the entire value chain. Climate change and the resulting increase in customer requirements with regard to sustainability have led to a stronger ecological focus in our product range, both at our own locations and along the production and supply chain. A more efficient use of resources, reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and compliance with environmental standards as well as the increased use of sustainable materials and environmentally friendly chemicals in production are crucial parts of our sustainability strategy.
PUMA's sustainability report (the Non-financial Report) for the financial year 2022 will be available by April 30, 2023 at the latest on the following page of our website: https://about.PUMA.com/en/investor-relations/financial-reports.
Furthermore, important sustainability information can always be found in the Sustainability section on PUMA's website: http://about.PUMA.com/en/sustainability
An important aspect of corporate responsibility is maintaining and monitoring working conditions and human rights along the entire value chain. ILO (International Labor Organization) core labor standards form an essential part of this; however, monitoring our suppliers to ensure they do not use hazardous chemicals in production is just as important. Non-compliance by suppliers would also violate our requirements and lead to negative media reports and potentially to a loss of sales.
Adherence to applicable standards is ensured through regular audits of supplier companies.
As an internationally operating group, PUMA is exposed to various legal risks. These include contractual risks or the risk that a third party could assert claims and litigation for infringement of its trademark rights, patent rights or other rights. Counterfeit products in particular can undermine consumer confidence in the brand and damage PUMA's brand image.
The continuous monitoring of contractual obligations and the integration of internal and external legal experts in contractual matters should ensure that any legal risks are avoided. The PUMA team is responsible for protecting our intellectual property in order to combat brand piracy. This not only ensures that we have a strong global portfolio of property rights, such as brands, designs and patents, but also works closely with customs and police forces and provides input regarding the implementation of effective legislation to protect intellectual property.
PUMA is exposed to the risk that employees will violate laws, directives and company standards (compliance violations). These risks, such as theft, fraud, breach of trust, embezzlement and corruption, as well as deliberate misrepresentations in financial reporting, may lead to significant monetary and reputational damage.
Therefore, we use various tools to manage these risks. This includes an integrated compliance management system, the internal control system, group controlling and the internal audit department. As part of the compliance management system, awareness measures are carried out regarding critical compliance topics, such as corruption prevention and cartel law, and corresponding guidelines and a global network of compliance officers are introduced in the group. PUMA employees also have access to a whistleblowing system for reporting unethical behavior.
In an international business environment, applicable tax regulations must be met. By means of appropriate internal rules of conduct, employees are required to comply with and adhere to the relevant tax regulations. In addition to compliance with national tax regulations to which the individual group companies are subject, there are increasing risks related to intra-group transfer pricing, which must be applied for various internal business transactions in accordance with the arm's length principle between individual group companies.
In all tax areas PUMA has taken adequate precautions with internal and external tax experts in order to comply with the relevant tax regulations, but also to be able to react to changes in the constantly changing tax environment. For the group-internal transfer prices, a corresponding documentation exists which is aligned with international and national requirements and standards. There are guidelines and specifications for determining transfer prices for intra-group transactions that are customary for foreign companies, which comply with the applicable internal procedural rules and are binding for employees who act on behalf of the group. By means of internal tax reporting, external and internal tax experts are able to control and monitor tax developments at PUMA on an ongoing basis. Both, the Management Board and the Supervisory Board, are continuously informed about tax developments at PUMA in order to identify and avoid tax risks as early as possible.
The creative potential, commitment and performance of PUMA employees are important factors for successful business development. We encourage independent thinking and action, which are key in an open corporate culture with flat hierarchies.
Our human resources strategy seeks to ensure this successful philosophy on a long-term and sustainable basis. To achieve this goal, a control process is in place to detect and assess human-resource risks. Any shortfall in staffing, whether quantitative and/or qualitative in nature, may lead to inadequate performance of tasks that are essential for achieving general business activities and/or company goals in the departments concerned. In addition, there is still strong competition for highly qualified personnel. Accordingly, PUMA pays particular attention to talent management, identifying key positions and talent, ensuring this talent is positioned optimally and succession planning. We have also instituted additional national and global regulations and guidelines to ensure compliance with legal provisions and safeguard the health and safety of our employees. We will continue to make targeted investments in the human-resource needs of particular functions or regions in order to meet the future requirements of our corporate strategy.
PUMA continually analyses short-term capital requirements by rolling cash flow planning at the level of the individual companies in coordination with the central Treasury department. In order to ensure the company's solvency, financial flexibility and a strategic liquidity buffer, PUMA maintains, for example, a liquidity reserve in the form of cash and confirmed credit facilities. In this respect, as of December 31, 2022, the PUMA Group had unused credit lines totaling € 943.7 million.
Medium and long-term funding requirements that cannot be directly covered by net cash from operating activities are financed by taking out medium and long-term loans. For this purpose, various promissory note loans were issued in several tranches with fixed and variable coupons and different remaining terms. The utilized promissory note loans amount to a total of € 311.5 million as of December 31, 2022 and have a remaining term of between one and four years.
Changes in market interest rates around the world have an impact on future interest payments for variable interest liabilities. As PUMA does not have any significant variable interest liabilities, any significant interest-rate increases are not likely to have a material negative impact on the business development of PUMA. Interest rate hedging instruments are therefore not required.
Due to its business activities, PUMA is exposed to default risk on trade receivables. The default risk is managed by continuously monitoring outstanding receivables and recognizing impairment losses, where appropriate. The default risk is limited, if possible, by credit insurance. The maximum default risk is reflected by the carrying amounts of the financial assets recognized in the balance sheet. In addition, default risks also arise to a lesser extent from other contractual financial obligations of the counterparty, such as bank balances and derivative financial instruments.
The following table summarizes the risk groups described above based on their relative importance (significance level) and any changes during the year:
|Risk Groups||Classification||Description||Significance level||Change compared to previous year|
|Macroeconomic Developments||Strategic||e.g. economic development, political situation, geopolitical tensions||Critical|
|Pandemic (COVID-19)||Strategic||e.g., store closures, supply problems, health of employees and customers||Critical|
|Business Partners||Operational||e.g., raw material bottlenecks, supply chain disruptions, sourcing and logistic costs, quality problems||Critical|
|Product and Market Environment||Strategic||e.g., trends, customer requirements, brand image, media reports||Material|
|Currency Risk||Financial||e.g., exchange rate fluctuations||Material|
|Projects||Strategic||e.g., IT infrastructure, construction projects||Material|
|Information Technology||Operational||e.g., cyberattacks, network and system failures||Material|
|Distribution Structure||Strategic||e.g., change in the distribution landscape||Material|
|Sustainability||Regulatory||e.g., climate change, environmental standards||Material|
|Working Conditions||Regulatory||e.g., labor law, human rights, German Supply Chain Due Diligence Act||Material|
|Legal||Regulatory||e.g., trademark law, patent law, counterfeit products||Material|
|Compliance||Regulatory||e.g., fraud, corruption||Material|
|Tax||Financial||e.g., transfer prices||Material|
|Personnel Department||Operational||e.g., key positions, employee retention, health & safety||Moderate|
|Liquidity and Interest Rate||Financial||e.g., cash, credit lines, custody fees, interest rate developments||Moderate|
|Default Risk||Financial||e.g., payment claims against customers||Moderate|
Opportunities should be identified by PUMA at an early stage, assessed and - where possible - used. Due to the close connection to the relevant goals, identified opportunities are incorporated into planning by Controlling. Operational management teams in the respective regions, markets and departments are responsible for opportunity management. PUMA has identified or rather defined the following key opportunity categories for the planning period and beyond.
Macroeconomic conditions are currently being shaped by an extremely uncertain geopolitical, wider economic and competitive environment. Russia's attack on Ukraine, the global energy crisis, ongoing inflation and rising interest rates are leading to uncertainty in consumer behavior and volatility in demand. In response, PUMA will continue to focus on overcoming short-term challenges without adversely affecting the positive brand momentum in the mid-term. Here, it is essential to focus on providing the best possible service to retail partners and consumers in order to further strengthen the mutual trust that has been established, even in challenging times. PUMA's outlook for 2022 of currency-adjusted sales growth in the mid-teen percent range and an operating result (EBIT) in the range of € 600 million to € 700 million (2021: € 557 million), with a corresponding improvement in consolidated net earnings, was confirmed despite a very challenging environment. Strategically, sales growth and increasing market share take precedence over short-term profit optimization.
Ongoing restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continue to have a stronger impact on the Greater China region. It can be assumed, however, that the restrictions, e.g. in the form of lockdowns, will be less extensive in the future than in previous years in other regions of the world. The positive development of the sports and leisure sector continued in 2022. If PUMA succeeds in maintaining its current momentum and achieving its mid-term growth potential, the company has an opportunity to further increase its market share. Our lifestyle products continue to enjoy strong relevance and demand across all age groups and regions. We have also made great progress in the performance product sector in recent years and have significantly improved our market position, particularly in the running, fitness, basketball, golf and football sectors. PUMA's product range is being continuously optimized and further developed in all sectors. It is also being expanded, for example, by the successful launch of our first outdoor collection ("PUMA Seasons") and our entry into the sport of padel-tennis in 2022. An increasing rise in visitor numbers at national sporting competitions and international sporting events is to be expected, such as the Women's Football World Cup in Australia/New Zealand, the World Athletics Championship in Hungary, the World Men's Handball Championship in Poland and the Men's Basketball World Cup in Japan/Indonesia/the Philippines. The major global interest in sporting events is likely to help support the growth of the sporting goods industry. We are also continuing to see an undiminished trend toward a healthier lifestyle, greater sporting participation and more casual clothing, which opens up corresponding opportunities for our industry.
In terms of the distribution structure, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly accelerated the growth of the e-commerce business, particularly with regard to local market coverage. In 2022, a dedicated PUMA shopping app was also developed for the global e-commerce business and successfully introduced in the USA, India and the United Kingdom. The introduction of the PUMA shopping app in other markets is planned for the coming years and will open up further opportunities regarding customer loyalty and sales growth. Stronger partnerships in the wholesale business also offer opportunities for future business development. New sales formats and improvements to the shopping experience in our own retail stores can also lead to positive business prospects. In terms of distribution, optimizing delivery capacity through new, state-of-the-art multi-channel distribution centers in key markets also continues to support business development.
In information technology, improved, tailored communication with customers via digital channels and new ways of presenting products, for example, offer opportunities. In addition, new or more efficient processes may add value or result in cost optimization. The digitalization of key business processes, for example relating to product design and the purchasing process of our wholesale customers, will continue to be advanced in order to take advantage of market opportunities through greater efficiency and effectiveness.
With end customers paying more attention to sustainability, there is an opportunity to make further progress with existing PUMA activities and improve communication in this area, which could increase demand for sustainable products. PUMA once again performed very well in key sustainability rankings in 2022 and was labeled the most sustainable brand by Business of Fashion, for example – this strong positioning, along with improved communication, opens up opportunities in this important area. For example, PUMA organized the "Conference of the People" for the first time in 2022 to discuss solutions with experts from across the industry and also with young consumers for achieving a more sustainable sporting goods industry.
The assessment of the overall risk and opportunity situation of the Group and PUMA SE is the result of a consolidated view of the risk and opportunity categories described above for the financial year 2022. Similar to the description in our 2021 Combined Management Report, our assessment of PUMA's overall risk situation this year is again predominantly influenced by geopolitical tensions and the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy as a whole, as described above, and is focused on the major challenges these pose. The Management Board is currently not aware of any material risks that, either individually, on an aggregated basis or in combination with other risks, could jeopardize the continued existence of the Group and PUMA SE.
However, we cannot exclude the possibility that in the future influencing factors, of which we are currently unaware or which we currently do not consider to be material, could have a negative impact on the continued existence of the Group or PUMA SE or individual consolidated companies. Also due to the extremely solid balance sheet and the positive business outlook, the Management Board does not see any significant threat to the continued existence of the PUMA Group and PUMA SE.
The Management Board of PUMA SE is responsible for the preparation and accuracy of the annual financial statements, the consolidated financial statements and the combined management report of PUMA SE. The consolidated financial statements were prepared in accordance with the International Financial Reporting Standards that apply in the EU, the requirements of the German Commercial Code (HGB), the German Stock Corporation Act (AktG) and the German SE Implementation Act (SEAG). Certain disclosures and amounts are based on current estimates by the Management Board and the management.
The Management Board is responsible for maintaining and regularly monitoring a suitable internal control and risk management system covering the consolidated financial statements and the disclosures in the combined management report. This control and risk management system is designed to ensure the compliance and reliability of the internal and external accounting records, the presentation and accuracy of the consolidated financial statements, and the combined management report and the disclosures contained therein. It is based on a series of process-integrated monitoring steps and encompasses the measures necessary to accomplish these, such as internal instructions, organizational and authorization guidelines, the relevant company guidelines and handbooks, a clear separation of functions within the Group and the dual-control principle. The adequacy and operating effectiveness of these measures are regularly reviewed by the Group Internal Audit, Risk Management & Internal Control Department.
For monthly financial reporting and consolidation, PUMA has a group-wide reporting and controlling system that makes it possible to regularly and quickly detect deviations from projected figures and accounting irregularities and, where necessary, to take countermeasures.
By means of established internal reporting channels, the risk management system can regularly identify events that could affect the Group's economic performance and its accounting process so that it can analyze and evaluate the resulting risks and take the necessary actions to counter them.
In preparing the consolidated financial statements and the combined management report, it is sometimes necessary to make assumptions and estimates based on the information available at the time the financial statements and management report are prepared that affect the amount, presentation and explanation of recognized assets and liabilities, income and expenses, contingent liabilities and other reportable information.
The Audit Committee of the Supervisory Board meets on a regular basis with the independent statutory auditors, the Management Board and the Group Internal Audit, Risk Management & Internal Control Department to discuss the results of the internal audits and statutory audits with reference to the internal control and risk management system as it relates to the accounting process. At the annual meeting on the financial statements, the auditor reports to the Supervisory Board (including the Audit Committee) on the results of the audit of the annual and consolidated financial statements.
PUMA's internal control system applies to all employees throughout the Group as it incorporates the principles, procedures and measures established by PUMA Group management. All essential business processes that support the organizational implementation of management decisions must be taken into account.
Within the PUMA Group, the methodology of the internal control system is based on the COSO Framework, which describes internal management and monitoring considerations for key processes within the company. Its purpose is to support the objectives of ensuring proper financial reporting, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the processes and maintaining compliance with legal framework conditions.
The PUMA control framework is applied uniformly to the entire Group. The requirement here is to manage the significant risks through appropriate control activities. The objective is to continuously improve the internal control system and to identify specific risks and potential for improvement in the control environment at process level in order to define appropriate recommendations for action and enable these to be timely implemented by the process owners. Independent monitoring bodies such as the Supervisory Board and the Audit Committee help ensure that the control environment remains up-to-date. The Management Board of PUMA SE bears overall responsibility for the internal control system. The Management Board regularly updates the Audit Committee of the Supervisory Board of PUMA SE. The internal control function of the Group Internal Audit, Risk Management & Internal Control Department has been tasked with preparing regular reports for the Management Board in order to help coordinate the internal control system from an operational perspective. The responsibilities, tasks and processes of the internal control system are defined in guidelines.
With regard to the PUMA control framework, the following five core components must be kept in mind: control environment, risk assessment, control activities, information and communication, and monitoring activities.
The internal control system is based on the control environment established within the PUMA Group, in that it lays out principles for employee and management behavior within the company. The standards practiced are underpinned by internally formalized procedures and by clear guidelines on giving instructions and authorizations to do so. Together with external regulations, these internal standards form a control environment that applies to all employees of the PUMA Group.
As described in the previous section headed "Risk Management," the PUMA Group is also subject to a large number of risks that may potentially impact on company goals. Risk identification and assessment is carried out every six months in order to manage material risks at Group level. Using the resulting risk portfolio, the objective of the internal control system is to ensure that the compensating control measures fully correspond to the risk assessment/evaluation. In addition, the internal control system's risk assessment also includes a large number of more detailed risks in day-to-day operations – for example, operational activities in accordance with compliance regulations.
Control activities serve to counteract the identified business risks. In order to ensure that the control framework is continuously up-to-date and to monitor its application in business processes, an annual "Internal Control Self-Assessment" (ICSA) is completed by the key business units of the PUMA Group. The internal control function ensures that the key business units - at parent and subsidiary company level - are included in the ICSA. The managers of these business units evaluate the specified control objectives of the PUMA Group in relation to their business area. When doing so, the existing control framework is assessed based on internal and external guidelines and best-practice standards. The response indicates the degree to which the control objectives have been implemented. This is communicated to the Management Board via established reporting channels. The results of the ICSA are also reported to the Audit Committee and the statutory auditors, and are used by the internal audit function of the Group Internal Audit, Risk Management & Internal Control Department in risk-oriented audit planning.
The purpose of informing and communicating potential business risks and control activities is to help make sound business decisions, with the information required to do so being accessible within an appropriate and timely framework. Established communication channels are continuously used in the PUMA Group to achieve this. The internal control function coordinates awareness training and regular coordination meetings in order to continuously guarantee, and also strengthen, its cooperation with the Management Board and other managers of business units.
The use of a standardized software system as the basis for monitoring activities is intended to ensure the systematic and uniform implementation of ICSA across the entire company. The internal control function analyses the results of the ICSA and derives recommended actions, which are coordinated with the managers of the business units and the implementation status of which is reviewed continuously.
The Management Board also monitors the effectiveness of the risk management and internal control system in a holistic manner. Accordingly, key aspects of the systems are reviewed on a quarterly basis as part of cyclical reporting. This is to ensure that material risks are managed with an appropriate level of transparency, that individual issues are discussed in an appropriate form and can be tracked, and that possible improvements to the systems are considered. Supported by an established control environment, the continuous system monitoring and improvement reflects the PUMA Group's open risk culture. During the reporting period, PUMA SE was not aware of any relevant circumstances that cast doubt on the adequacy and effectiveness of the risk management and internal control systems nor that had not been rectified by the balance sheet date. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that even systems that have been characterized as appropriate and effective are subject to inherent limitations. As such, it is not possible to guarantee the complete prevention of any procedural violations and/or risks actually arising.