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Home > Reports > Annual Report 2019 > Outlook > Risk Factors

RISK FACTORS

SABIC’s Enterprise Risk & Data Management is designed to safeguard the interests of SABIC stakeholders, including customers and employees, and to manage SABIC’s risks in a way that promotes our strategy of becoming the world’s preferred leader in chemicals.

All functions regularly provide coordinated reports to SABIC’s Executive Risk Management Committee. The SABIC Board of Directors & Risk and Sustainability Committee oversees the activities of the Enterprise Risk & Data Management department in assessing key business risks for the company.

Our risk management policy is to proactively identify assets and manage risks facing the company. In addition, we seize to evaluate their impact on our performances and take preventive measures to manage them. At the same time, we are leveraging opportunities in pursuit of our goals to meet our strategic objectives. The policy covers all our operations worldwide.

The responsibility for implementing our risk management policy rests with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), whilst the responsibility for monitoring the implementation of this policy lies with the Board of Directors, supported by the Risk and Sustainability Committee. We have established an Integrated governance system to effectively identify, understand and manage the risks facing the company. It starts with our employees and management by developing detailed reports on the risks facing the company for the Risk and Sustainability Committee, which monitors these reports on a regular basis. The Risk and Sustainability Committee then makes recommendations to the Board of Directors on the efficiency of measures taken to minimize the impact of all risks. In addition, it recommends the same measures to be taken if needed, or take additional measures to control these risks.

Principally, we are exposed to inherent risks, such as strategic risks, limiting our ability to achieve our strategic objectives. Operational risks derived from the nature of our operations and financial risks affect our profitability. Simultaneously, we are exposed to several risk factors.

Below are the main risks relating to our business and detailed description of the main risk factors:

  • Insurance policies may not be sufficient to cover all risks that we face.
  • We are exposed to customer credit risk.
  • We need to maintain high capacity utilization rates in manufacturing facilities in order to maintain profit margins.
  • We are exposed to risks relating to EHSS liabilities.
  • We are exposed to risks in connection with projects under development.
  • Oil and gas price fluctuations and a substantial or extended decline in cracking margins would negatively influence our financial results.
  • We may experience difficulties in fulfilling our financial obligations or funding our planned capital expenditure.
  • We are exposed to interest rate risk and foreign exchange risk.
  • We are reliant on the performance of, and dividend distributions and other revenue flows from, our subsidiaries, joint ventures and affiliates.
  • We are subject to global economic market conditions.
  • The industries in which we operate are highly competitive.
  • The cyclical nature of the petrochemicals industry may have a material and adverse impact on our business.
  • Conditions affecting transportation of products may adversely affect the performance of our operations.
  • Our Agri-Nutrients business is dependent on weather conditions and agricultural policies.
  • We are subject to risks arising from international trade controls.
  • Changes in laws or regulations, or a failure to comply with any laws and regulations, may materially and adversely affect our business.
  • We are exposed to risks resulting from disputes and/or litigation.
  • We are exposed to risks associated with the use of intellectual property and technology licenses.
  • We are exposed to risks associated with the use of information technology.
  • We are highly dependent on our personnel and management teams.
  • We are exposed to risks arising from pension obligations.

INSURANCE POLICIES MAY NOT BE SUFFICIENT TO COVER ALL RISKS THAT WE FACE

The operations of SABIC companies are subject to hazards and risks inherent in, among other things, refining and petrochemicals operations. Such hazards and risks include fires, explosions, pipeline ruptures and spills, storage tank leaks, chemical spills, discharges or releases of hazardous substances or gases, environmental risks, mechanical failure of equipment at SABIC’s facilities, war, terrorism, sabotage and natural disasters. In addition, many of these risks may cause personal injury and loss of life, severe damage to or destruction of SABIC’s properties and the properties of others including environmental pollution which may result in the suspension of operations and the imposition of civil or criminal penalties.

SABIC maintains insurance coverage in amounts that are consistent with relevant industry practice, including coverage for the risk of property damage, business interruption resulting from, among other things, fire or machinery breakdown and third-party liability. SABIC could be subject to a material loss to the extent that a claim is made against SABIC which is not covered in whole or in part by insurance and for which third party indemnification is not available.

If SABIC’s companies suffer large uninsured losses or if any insured loss suffered by any such company significantly exceeds its insurance coverage, the business, results of operations or financial condition of such companies may be materially and adversely affected. This would in turn affect the ability of the portfolio companies within SABIC to pay dividends and make other distributions to SABIC and could have a material and adverse effect on SABIC’s business, results of operations or financial condition.

We are exposed to customer credit risk

SABIC provides services and products to a variety of customers and is subject to the risk of non-payment for the services and products that it has supplied, primarily through trade receivables. These risks are heightened when conditions in the industries in which its customers operate, or general economic conditions, deteriorate. SABIC has procedures in place to monitor credit risk on their receivables and continuously monitors customers’ credit limits and risk associated with it.

WE NEED TO MAINTAIN HIGH CAPACITY UTILIZATION RATES IN MANUFACTURING FACILITIES IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN PROFIT MARGINS

Earnings in the petrochemicals business are closely tied to global demand, industry inventory levels and plant capacity utilization. As higher production rates enable it to allocate fixed costs across larger production volumes and consequently impact profit margins, maximizing production rates is key to the profitability of SABIC’s petrochemicals operations.

SABIC’s manufacturing facilities are subject to a number of operational risks, including reduced utilization rates due to planned activities such as maintenance or shutdowns; unplanned outages which may, for example, be due to equipment or human failure; availability of skilled resources; lower than expected recovery rates; performance of SABIC’s contractors; strikes and civil unrest; corrosion problems impacting the plant and pipelines; health and safety incidents caused by third-party contractors; and exposure to natural hazards, such as extreme weather events. Any such incident could be expected to adversely affect SABIC’s business, results of operations or financial condition.

WE ARE EXPOSED TO RISKS RELATING TO EHSS LIABILITIES

SABIC companies must comply with all EHSS related laws and regulations, which are applicable to their operations. These laws and regulations set various standards regulating certain aspects of EHSS. In addition, special provisions may be applicable in environmentally sensitive areas of operation.

Accidents involving SABIC’s products could cause severe damage or injury to property, the environment and human health, which could adversely affect SABIC’s business. SABIC’s business is inherently subject to the risk of spills, discharges or other releases of hazardous substances into the environment. SABIC uses feedstock for production, stores and transports chemical products that are volatile, explosive and/or the release of which may have an adverse impact on the environment. Environmental risks associated with SABIC’s operations include:

  • Fire/explosions at SABIC’s production or logistics facilities;
  • Discharges of toxic gases into the atmosphere; and
  • Discharge of hazardous chemicals on land or in waterways.

Accidents involving these or other substances could result in fire, explosions, severe pollution or other catastrophic circumstances, which could cause severe damage or injury to persons, property or the environment as well as disruptions to SABIC’s business. Such events could result in equipment failures or shutdowns, civil lawsuits, criminal investigations and regulatory enforcement proceedings, any of which could lead to significant liabilities for SABIC. Any damage to persons, equipment or property or other disruption to SABIC’s ability to produce or distribute its products could result in a significant decrease in SABIC revenues and profits and significant additional cost to replace or repair SABIC’s assets.

WE ARE EXPOSED TO RISKS IN CONNECTION WITH PROJECTS UNDER DEVELOPMENT

SABIC has a number of significant capital projects (such as investment in new production plants, expansion of existing plants and the upgrading of existing plants) under development or in the planning stages. Other additional capital projects may be undertaken during the term of the Report. Each of these projects entails a number of risks during construction such as the risk of investment cost over-run, the risk of delayed or incomplete start-up, the risk of any default by any appointed contractor or sub-contractor or their ability to comply with their contractual obligations, shortages or increases in the costs of equipment, breakdown or failure of equipment, processes or technology, difficulties in connecting any related upstream or downstream facility, timely availability of the required feedstock at the time of commencement of commercial operations, start-up or commissioning problems, problems with effective integration of operations, increased operating costs, exposure to unanticipated liabilities, changes in taxes or duties, difficulties in achieving projected efficiencies, synergies and cost savings, and changes in market conditions. If any of these risks materializes, the overall profitability of the relevant project would be materially adversely affected. If any new project fails to achieve the expected levels of performance or profitability, this could have a material and adverse effect on SABIC’s business, results of operations or financial condition.

OIL AND GAS PRICE FLUCTUATIONS AND A SUB SUBSTANTIAL OR EXTENDED DECLINE IN CRACKING MARGINS WOULD NEGATIVELY INFLUENCE OUR FINANCIAL RESULTS

SABIC’s financial results are significantly impacted by the margin between the prices at which SABIC sells products and the prices at which SABIC purchases feedstock for use, particularly in its petrochemicals business. However, the price of SABIC’s feedstock and the price of the product sold to customers depend on the type of product, the location of the production and the location of the customer.

SABIC’s results of operations can be significantly impacted by fluctuations in the prices of a number of commodities, primarily oil, its derivatives and gas. SABIC’s two main feedstocks in Saudi Arabia (methane and ethane) are based on prices set by the Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources in Saudi Arabia. The rest of SABIC’s feedstocks are subject to various fluctuations in feedstock prices. SABIC’s petrochemicals manufacturing operations outside Saudi Arabia generally use oil-derivatives (mainly naphtha) as feedstock and purchase such feedstock in the international markets at market prices. Many of SABIC’s sales relate to petrochemical products and sales prices for petrochemical products generally change in tandem with changes in oil prices, albeit sometimes with a time delay and with different dynamics in different regions.

Therefore, during times of increasing oil prices, as manufacturers are unable to shift all such increases to their customers, the cracker margin of SABIC’s operations outside Saudi Arabia decrease in comparative terms. As a result, the margins in the SABIC’s gas-based operations (mostly in Saudi Arabia) improve significantly in periods with higher oil prices (and higher petrochemical prices) and decline in periods of low oil prices while the margins in SABIC’s operations (mostly outside Saudi Arabia and some of the operations in Saudi Arabia) increase profitability in periods of low oil prices.

WE MAY EXPERIENCE DIFFICULTIES IN FULFILLING OUR FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS OR FUNDING OUR PLANNED CAPITAL EXPENDITURE

Any disruption in the global credit markets, re-pricing of credit risk and any difficulties in the conditions of the financial market may impact SABIC’s ability to fund its businesses or projects at all or in a similar manner, and at a similar cost, to the funding raised in the past. If the repayment of any loans or other debt instruments in respect of financing taken by SABIC or its subsidiaries cannot be refinanced or extended at acceptable terms, or paid with the proceeds of other transactions, SABIC’s cash flows and financial results would be adversely affected. If prevailing financing costs or other factors at the time of any such refinancing result in higher financing costs, such increased financing costs would adversely affect SABIC’s financial results.

In addition, SABIC is engaged in a number of significant projects, which will require significant capital expenditure to complete. The ability of SABIC to obtain external financing and the cost of such financing depends on numerous factors, including the general economic and market conditions, international interest rates, credit availability from banks or other financiers, investor sentiment towards emerging markets, investor confidence in SABIC and the credit rating and financial condition of the relevant borrower. External funding may not be available to SABIC on acceptable terms.

If SABIC raises additional debt in the future, it may become subject to additional or more restrictive financial covenants and ratios or may be required to extend security over its assets for the benefit of lenders. Any such increased indebtedness may require a substantial portion of cash flow from operations to be dedicated to the payment of principal and interest (to the extent payable) on SABIC’s indebtedness, thereby reducing the SABIC’s ability to use its cash flow to fund its operations and future business opportunities. Additionally, this may limit SABIC’s ability to raise capital to fund any future capital expenditure or operations, expose SABIC to the risk of increased interest rates and/or increased costs to hedge interest rates and expose SABIC to refinancing risk, to the extent that SABIC is unable to repay its borrowings out of internally generated cash flow. If SABIC is not able to obtain adequate financing or other capital contributions to fund capital and investment expenditures in the future, this could require SABIC to alter, reduce the scope of, defer or cancel such projects which may, in turn, affect the profitability and competitiveness of SABIC’s operations.

WE ARE EXPOSED TO INTEREST RATE RISK AND FOREIGN EXCHANGE RISK

SABIC is subject to interest rate risks in the ordinary course of business, primarily because of its long-term debt obligations with floating interest rates. Interest rate risks result from potential changes in prevailing market interest rates. These can cause a change in the present value of fixed-rate instruments and fluctuations in the interest payments for variable-rate instruments, which would positively or negatively affect earnings. Any future unhedged interest rate risk may result in an increase in SABIC’s interest expense and may have a material adverse effect on SABIC’s business, results of operation and financial condition.

Furthermore, SABIC operates internationally and is exposed to foreign exchange risk arising from various currency exposures, primarily with respect to fluctuations of other currencies against the Saudi riyal. This exposure is primarily through account receivables, trade payables and certain non-SAR denominated bank accounts and borrowings. However, as long as the Saudi riyal is pegged to the US dollar and SABIC’s business is primarily conducted in US dollars, SABIC does not have any significant exposure to US dollars. As a result, the most significant foreign currency to which SABIC is exposed is the euro. SABIC is also exposed but to a lesser extent to the British pound, Japanese yen and Chinese yuan. SABIC’s policies require subsidiaries to conduct a regular review of currency exposures, while SABIC manages all derivative executions centrally. However, there can be no assurance that any hedges will adequately protect SABIC or that any future currency exchange rate fluctuations may not have an adverse effect on SABIC’s business, results of operations or financial condition.

WE ARE RELIANT ON THE PERFORMANCE OF, AND DIVIDEND DISTRIBUTIONS AND OTHER REVENUE FLOWS, FROM OUR SUBSIDIARIES, JOINT VENTURES AND AFFILIATES

SABIC conducts its operations principally through, and derives most of its revenues from, its subsidiaries, joint ventures and affiliates, and has limited revenue-generating operations of its own. Consequently, SABIC’s cash flows and ability to meet its cash requirements, including its obligations depend upon the profitability and cash flows from its subsidiaries, joint ventures and affiliates. This includes their ability to make dividend distributions to SABIC, repay interest on intercompany loans extended to them by SABIC and pay fees to SABIC for any inter-company services provided to them (such as the sale of their products, providing/sub-licensing technology licenses and providing catalyst supplies as well as providing certain administrative and other technical services).

In particular, SABIC conducts certain business operations through joint ventures, which are not controlled by SABIC. SABIC may also enter into additional joint ventures in the future. Some of SABIC’s joint ventures with third parties are managed by the respective joint venture’s own board of directors who are mandated to make business, financial and management decisions by taking into account the corporate interest of the relevant joint venture company. Such decisions may therefore not be solely in the interests of SABIC and may reflect the interests of the other joint venture partners, including in relation to dividend distributions. In addition, SABIC’s joint venture partners may breach their obligations to SABIC or the joint venture, have economic or business interests inconsistent with SABIC’s or the joint venture’s interests and/or take actions contrary to SABIC’s objectives or policies, any of which may result in disputes between SABIC and its joint venture partners.

Any decline in such subsidiaries, joint ventures or affiliates profitability could affect their ability to pay dividends, interest and/or make other payments to SABIC and, in turn, could have a material and adverse effect on SABIC’s results of operations and financial condition.

WE ARE SUBJECT TO GLOBAL ECONOMIC MARKET CONDITIONS

SABIC faces risks attendant to changes in the economic environment globally and in the main regions where it conducts its business. In particular, SABIC’s performance is particularly influenced by economic cycles affecting end-user industries, such as the construction and automotive industries, since the products manufactured by SABIC are used as intermediates in the manufacturing of the products utilized by such companies. In the last decade, the global economy has continued to experience periods of slowdown, high volatility, reduced business activity, unemployment, decline in interest rates and erosion of consumer confidence, that have affected downstream demand for chemical and plastic products in certain industry sectors and regions.

Any downturn in regional or worldwide economies, market crisis or prolonged periods of instability could have a material and adverse effect on SABIC’s business, results of operations or financial condition. In particular, a worsening economic climate can result in decreased industrial output and decreased consumer demand for products including automotive products, consumer goods, packaging, industrial goods, textiles and agricultural goods, all of which incorporate SABIC’s products globally or in some regions where SABIC conducts its business.

THE INDUSTRIES IN WHICH WE OPERATE ARE HIGHLY COMPETITIVE

The markets for most of SABIC’s products are highly competitive. SABIC is exposed to the competitive characteristics of several different geographic markets and industries. SABIC’s principal competitors vary from product to product and range from large global petrochemical companies to numerous smaller regional companies. Some of SABIC’s competitors are larger and more vertically integrated than SABIC (in terms of their upstream and/or downstream productions) and therefore may be able to manufacture products more economically than SABIC.

A key component of SABIC’s strategy is to introduce new products and applications that offer distinct value for customers. SABIC intends to continue to devote substantial resources to the development of new technologically advanced products and processes and to continue to devote a substantial amount of expenditure to the research and development functions of its business.

SABIC’s financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected if competitors develop or acquire intellectual property rights to technology specially if SABIC’s innovation lags behind the rest of the industry or if SABIC fails to innovate and introduce successful new products.

The cyclical nature of the petrochemicals industry may ha ve a material and adverse impact on our business

The petrochemicals industry is subject to the cycles of expansion and contraction in line with movements in the global economy, which create swings in the supply and demand of petrochemicals products and volatility in the prices of feedstock as well as finished petrochemical products. Due to this cyclicality, historically the international petrochemical markets have experienced alternating periods of limited supply (which has caused prices and margins to increase), followed by an expansion of production capacity (which has resulted in oversupply, lower prices and reduced margins).

Conditions affecting transportation of products may adversely affect the performance of our operations

SABIC’s operations rely on the transportation of materials, primarily exports of finished products, by sea and by railcars and trucks overland. Although SABIC seeks cost efficiencies in the distribution of its finished products, there can be no assurance that these transportation costs will not significantly increase in the future, which may reduce SABIC’s competitive advantage compared to regional producers.

Any issue affecting cargo transportation by sea, such as special taxes, dangerous conditions or natural disasters, among others, could adversely affect SABIC’s results of operations or financial condition. Further, some of the products that are required for transportation are classified as hazardous. SABIC’s production facilities in Saudi Arabia are reliant on cargo transportation from the Arabian Gulf. SABIC’s operations elsewhere around the world also rely on various forms of transportation to get the finished products to customers. Geopolitical issues, acts of war, trade blockades and piracy affecting these transportation routes could adversely affect SABIC’s business, results of operation and financial condition.

OUR AGRI-NUTRIENTS BUSINESS IS DEPENDENT ON WEATHER CONDITIONS AND AGRICULTURAL POLICIES

The agricultural industry is heavily influenced by local weather conditions. Significant deviations from typical weather patterns of a given region, variations in local climates or major weather-related disasters may reduce demand for the products of the SABIC’s Agri-Nutrients business, particularly in the short term, if agricultural products or the land on which they grow are damaged or if such deviations, variations or disasters reduce the incomes of growers and thus their ability to purchase the SABIC’s products. The effects of adverse weather conditions, in particular, can be very significant, resulting in delays or intermittent disruptions during the planting and growing seasons, which may, in turn, cause agricultural customers to use different forms of fertilizer, because fertilizers are applied at specific times. Similarly, adverse weather conditions following harvest may delay or eliminate opportunities to apply fertilizer in the autumn, which is the season when fertilizers are applied in certain geographies. Weather can also have an adverse effect on crop yields, which lowers the income of growers and could impair their ability to purchase fertilizers.

WE ARE SUBJECT TO RISKS ARISING FROM INTERNATIONAL TRADE CONTROLS

SABIC exports products to countries, which have adopted trade defense instruments such as anti-dumping and anti-subsidies laws and regulations. Failure to comply with such laws and regulations may result in anti-dumping or anti-subsidies duties being imposed on imports of products into such countries. Moreover, SABIC’s imports and exports are affected by discretionary import duties that may be imposed by some governments.

SABIC considers that the use of trade defense measures and other forms of trade controls by some countries is likely to increase in the future. Any trade defense measures or duties imposed on exports or imports from SABIC’s, its suppliers or customers could have a material and adverse effect on SABIC’s business, results of operations or financial condition.

WE ARE SUBJECT TO RISKS ARISING FROM DEFECTIVE PRODUCTS

A number of products produced by SABIC companies are developed from highly complex and technical manufacturing processes and, accordingly, there is a risk that defects may occur in any of such products. Such exposure is increased when customers integrate SABIC’s products into consumer products, which are then on-sold to consumers. While SABIC limits its liability to its customers for product defects under sale and purchase agreements, the legal systems in a number of countries impose a strict liability on the manufacturer or the importer of products, which cannot be limited. Defects in products manufactured by SABIC can give rise to significant costs, including expenses relating to recalling end-use products by downstream customers or their own customers, replacing defective items, writing down defective inventory and loss of potential sales. In addition, the occurrence of such defects may give rise to product liability and warranty claims, including liability for damages caused by such defects. Any or all of such events could have a material and adverse effect on SABIC’s business, results of operations or financial condition as well as its reputation.

CHANGES IN LAWS OR REGULATIONS, OR A FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH ANY LAWS AND REGULATIONS, MAY MATERIALLY AND ADVERSELY AFFECT OUR BUSINESS

SABIC is subject to various laws and regulations. Such laws and regulations may relate to licensing requirements, EHSS obligations, asset and investment controls, marketing guidelines and a range of other requirements. In particular, SABIC’s petrochemicals are subject to a variety of laws and governmental regulations relating to the use, discharge and disposal of toxic or otherwise hazardous materials used by such businesses. Compliance with such laws and regulations can be costly, and SABIC incurs and will continue to incur costs, including capital expenditures, to comply with these requirements. Furthermore, failure to comply with such regulations or any changes to such regulations, including the introduction of additional regulations, could have a material and adverse effect on SABIC’s business, results of operations or financial condition.

SABIC uses and manufactures hazardous chemicals that are subject to regulation by the EU and by many national, provincial and local governmental authorities in the countries in which SABIC operates. In order to obtain regulatory approval of certain new products and production processes, SABIC must, among other things, demonstrate to the relevant authorities that the product is safe for its intended uses and that SABIC is capable of manufacturing the product in accordance with applicable regulations. The process of seeking such regulatory approvals can be time-consuming and subject to unanticipated and significant delays. Regulatory approvals may not be granted to SABIC on a timely basis, or at all. Any delay in obtaining, or any failure to obtain or maintain, these regulatory approvals would adversely affect SABIC’s ability to introduce new products, to continue distributing existing products and to generate revenue from those products, which could have a material adverse effect on its business, results of operations or financial condition. In addition, new laws and regulations may be introduced in the future that could result in additional compliance costs, confiscation, recall or monetary fines, any of which could prevent or inhibit the development, distribution and sale of SABIC’s products. The regulation or reclassification of any of the SABIC’s raw materials or products could adversely affect the availability or marketability of such products, result in a ban on its import, purchase or sale, or require SABIC to incur increased costs to comply with notification, labelling or handling requirements, each of which could adversely affect SABIC’s business, results of operations or financial condition.

WE ARE EXPOSED TO RISKS RESULTING FROM DISPUTES AND /OR LITIGATION

SABIC is subject to risks relating to legal and regulatory proceedings to which it or its subsidiaries, associates and joint ventures are currently a party or which could develop in the future. These may include, in particular, risks relating to product liability, competition and antitrust law, export control, data protection, patent law, procurement law, tax legislation and environmental protection in the countries where SABIC operates. SABIC’s involvement in litigation and regulatory proceedings may result in the imposition of fines or penalties or could adversely affect its reputation.

Any of the foregoing could have a material and adverse effect on SABIC’s business, results of operations or financial condition as well as on SABIC’s reputation.

WE ARE EXPOSED TO RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH THE USE OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND TECHNOLOGY LICENSES

SABIC depends upon a wide range of intellectual property to support its businesses and has obtained licenses for certain technologies which are used in its manufacturing facilities. SABIC’s petrochemical operations in Saudi Arabia are primarily based on technology process licenses from joint venture partners and other third parties. Any termination of a material technology license or dispute related to its use could require the relevant SABIC entity to cease using the relevant technology and therefore possibly adversely affect such entity’s ability to produce the relevant products. SABIC’s inability to maintain any license which is the subject of a sub-license of technology to any subsidiary of SABIC could require the relevant subsidiary to cease using the technology and to license such rights from other third parties on less favorable commercial terms or obtain substitute technology of lower quality or performance standards at greater cost. Any of the foregoing could have a material and adverse effect on SABIC’s business and results of operations.

WE ARE EXPOSED TO RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH THE USE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

SABIC relies on a number of information technology (IT) systems in order to carry out its day-to-day operations. With the increasing complexity of electronic information and communication technology, SABIC is exposed to various risks, ranging from the loss or theft of data, cyber-attacks, stoppages and interruptions to the business, to systems failure and technical obsolescence of IT systems.

Increased global information security threats and more cyber-crimes that are sophisticated pose a risk to the confidentiality, availability and integrity of data, operations and infrastructure of the IT systems, networks, facilities, products and services of SABIC. The non-availability, violation of confidentiality, or the manipulation of data in critical IT systems and applications can lead to the uncontrolled outflow of data and expertise and have a direct impact on the SABIC’s business operations.

SABIC relies on a number of information technology systems in order to carry out its day-to-day operations.

WE ARE HIGHLY DEPENDENT ON OUR PERSONNEL AND MANAGEMENT TEAMS

SABIC’s future success depends in part on its continued ability to hire, integrate and retain highly skilled employees. Experienced and capable personnel in the industries in which SABIC operates remain in high demand and there is continuous competition for their talents. SABIC may not be able to successfully recruit, train or retain the necessary qualified personnel in the future. SABIC is dependent upon its executive officers and key personnel, and the success of its business is driven by the performance of such officers and key employees and the ability of SABIC to retain them. The unexpected loss of the services of SABIC’s executive officers or key personnel could have a material and adverse effect on SABIC’s business, results of operations or financial condition.

WE ARE EXPOSED TO RISKS ARISING FROM PENSION OBLIGATIONS

SABIC has defined benefit pension plans in various countries (the largest of which are in the US and the United Kingdom). In the US, certain SABIC companies also have post-retirement plans that provide certain medical benefits and life insurance for retirees and eligible dependents. The relevant SABIC companies have funding and other obligations with respect to such pension, benefit plans in accordance with the rules applicable to the respective pension, or benefit plan. The accounting for these plans requires that management make certain assumptions relating to the long-term rate of return on plan assets, discount rates used to measure future obligations and expenses, salary scale inflation rates, health care cost trend rates, mortality and other assumptions. The selection of assumptions is based on historical trends and known economic, and market conditions at the time of valuation. However, these estimates are highly susceptible to change from period to period based on the performance of plan assets, actuarial valuations, market conditions and contracted benefit changes. Unfavorable changes of those estimates, as well as actual results substantially differing from the estimates, might result in a significant increase in SABIC’s obligations or future funding requirements. This in turn could have a material and adverse effect on SABIC’s results of operations and financial condition.

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