The major risks to which Calbee Group (hereinafter “Calbee”) is exposed in its operations are described below. In the interests of full disclosure, information has also been provided on risks that are not anticipated to necessarily have a major impact on the business but have been deemed important to facilitate a better understanding of Calbee’s business activities. Recognizing the possibility that such risks may materialize, Calbee’s policy is to avoid these risks where possible and to mitigate any impact in the event that they materialize.
1. Product Development
Calbee conducts research and development activities to provide customers with unique, value-added products that maximize the nutritional content and flavor of natural ingredients. Meanwhile, there is considerable change underway in Calbee’s operating environment owing to diversifying customer tastes, growing health awareness, and Japan’s low birthrate and aging society. The ability to rapidly respond to these changes and develop high-value-added products is becoming an increasingly important factor in Calbee’s business expansion. As such, Calbee conducts research and development activities in accordance with annual plans in the areas of new product development, existing product improvement, cost reduction, and analysis of ingredients and nutrients. However, there is no guarantee that investment in these development activities will result in the successful launch of new products, and any divergence between research and development themes and market needs could have an impact on Calbee’s operating results and financial position.
2. Ingredient Procurement
In principle, imports of raw potatoes, the main ingredient of potato snacks such as Potato Chips, Jagarico, and Jagabee, are not permitted into Japan under the Plant Protection Act. In order to secure sufficient supplies of domestically produced highquality potatoes at a stable price, Calbee has sought to build a procurement system based on ongoing grower contracts concluded since launching its first potato snacks. Although these grower contracts enable stable supplies, harvest conditions could prevent Calbee from securing sufficient supplies of raw potatoes, resulting in sales opportunity losses and increased costs due to emergency procurement that could have an impact on Calbee’s operating results and financial position. Moreover, changes in demand trends and fluctuations in the price of crude oil and in foreign exchange markets could affect procurement costs for a wide range of raw materials such as edible oils, other ingredients, and product packaging, which could also have an impact on Calbee’s operating results and financial position.
3. Product Safety
Consumer demand for greater food safety has increased in recent years. In assuming responsibility for responding to this demand, Calbee strictly monitors the quality of ingredients and manufacturing processes and takes all possible precautions to ensure product quality and prevent contamination. However, unforeseen problems related to ingredients and manufacturing processes could have an impact on Calbee’s operating results and financial position. Furthermore, in April 2002, the Swedish government released the results of research showing that grilling or frying foods with high carbohydrate content can generate acrylamide, a carcinogen. Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare has said it does not foresee any health impact from this substance for people who consume average amounts of this type of food, and, at this point, there has been no impact on Calbee’s operating results. Nevertheless, this issue could develop in the future to the point where it has an impact on the entire snack food industry.
4. Competitive Risk
Calbee has a large and stable share of the domestic snack food and cereal markets. However, intensifying competition from rival domestic companies, a significant influx of foreignowned companies into the market, or sector realignment due to M&A deals could have an impact on Calbee’s operating results and financial position. In addition, choosing to lower prices in response to price reductions implemented by competitors could result in lower profit margins and other outcomes, which in turn could have an impact on Calbee’s operating results and financial position.
5. Global Expansion
Calbee is using subsidiaries overseas to expand its operations outside the Japanese market. Calbee believes it is necessary to strengthen and expand overseas business to deliver growth over the longer term. Going forward, Calbee intends to expand its operations more rapidly and boost its competitiveness. However, if efforts to develop its presence in global markets do not proceed as anticipated, it may be necessary for Calbee to review its growth strategies. In addition, as Calbee expands its operations, changes in the political and economic conditions of a variety of countries and regions, as well as fluctuations in foreign exchange markets, could have an impact on Calbee’s operating results and financial position.
6. Relationship with Major Shareholder
As of March 31, 2019, Frito-Lay Global Investments B.V. (FLGI), a wholly owned subsidiary of PepsiCo, Inc. (PepsiCo), owned 20.01% of Calbee, Inc. shares (after full dilution), making Calbee (the Company) an equity-method affiliate of PepsiCo. FLGI, which directly owns the shares of the Company, is a wholly owned PepsiCo subsidiary, so PepsiCo effectively makes all decisions regarding the exercise of common share voting rights. PepsiCo is one of the world’s largest food and beverage makers and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Also, PepsiCo operates globally in the same snack food field as the Company via group companies, primarily its subsidiary Frito-Lay North America, Inc. On June 24, 2009, the Company and PepsiCo concluded a strategic alliance agreement, based on the understanding that combining management capabilities to generate synergies was necessary to deliver sustained growth for both companies. In order to reinforce the partnership with PepsiCo, the Company allocated new shares to PepsiCo’s wholly owned subsidiary FLGI via a private placement and, at the same time, acquired all the shares of PepsiCo’s subsidiary Japan Frito-Lay Ltd. Under the strategic partnership, PepsiCo has agreed not to operate a snack food business in the Japanese market and therefore does not compete with the Company in Japan. Also, because no restrictions have been placed on overseas business development, the Company believes there are no limits on its management decisions or business development under the agreement. The Company intends to maintain this strategic partnership and work toward boosting corporate value. However, in the future it may no longer be possible to generate synergies from the partnership in the event that PepsiCo makes changes to its management policy and business strategy. In addition, the PepsiCo Group could become a competitor in the Japanese market in the event that the partnership is dissolved for any reason. Any of these developments could have an impact on Calbee’s operating results and financial position.
As of March 31, 2019, no significant personnel relationship existed between Calbee and PepsiCo Group.
The Company’s subsidiary Japan Frito-Lay Ltd. Receives imports of snack foods from Frito-Lay, Inc., a PepsiCo Group company. In addition, the Company’s subsidiary Calbee North America, LLC sells snack foods to PepsiCo Group’s Frito-Lay North America, Inc.
In future, PepsiCo’s ownership ratio in the Company may be subject to change, owing to changes in the management policies or business strategies of PepsiCo or the Company, or as a result of other factors such as changes in the Company’s business environment.
7. Legal Regulations
In the course of its business activities, Calbee is subject to a range of legal regulations, including the Food Sanitation Act, Act against Unjustifiable Premiums and Misleading Representations, Measurement Act, Unfair Competition Prevention Act, Plant Protection Act, and Consumer Product Safety Act. Calbee may incur additional costs to respond to revisions to these regulations or their abolishment and the implementation of new regulations, and this could have an impact on Calbee’s operating results and financial position. Calbee has also received a variety of permits and licenses necessary to conduct its business activities. However, Calbee’s business activities may be restricted if these permits and licenses are withdrawn due to legal infringements or other reasons, which could have an impact on Calbee’s operating results and financial position.
8. Natural Disaster Risk
Calbee conducts necessary periodic inspections of its manufacturing lines to avoid the risk of shutdowns to these lines. It has also built a stable product supply framework by dispersing its manufacturing sites. However, there is no guarantee that manufacturing facilities will not be damaged as a result of a natural disaster or other event. Any such damage to facilities could lead to a drop in sales and an increase in costs, which could have an impact on Calbee’s operating results and financial position.