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.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and associated community shutdowns have a widespread and severe impact on worldwide economic activity. Despite gradual relaxation or lifting of most lockdown measures in certain nations, the pace of recovery is constrained by the spread of new coronavirus variants and uneven vaccination across countries. The global economic outlook still depends on the development of the health crisis, including the duration, spread, severity and any recurrence of the pandemic, the efficacy and availability of vaccines, and the nature and severity of measures adopted by governments. International trade relations, uncertainties following Brexit, the fluctuation of major currencies, the increasing geopolitical tensions, as well as the development of global inflation, interest rate and oil prices, all have created uncertainties in the world economy and global financial market. A severe 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 has investments in different countries and cities around the world. Any adverse economic conditions in those countries and cities in which the Group operates may potentially impact on the Group’s businesses, financial conditions or results of operations, asset value and liabilities.
The continuing COVID-19 pandemic in different parts of the world, including the places of businesses at which the Group operates, has a significant adverse impact on most economies due to the community standstill, disruption of business activities, behavioral change, weakened sentiment in consumption, restricted labour supply and production and confidence effects, in addition to travel restrictions. The situation of COVID-19 outbreak has stabilised following the rollout of vaccines, but the development of the pandemic remains highly volatile and unpredictable. The rapid spread of new COVID-19 variants and any resurgence of the pandemic may cause disruption of operational activities and loss of life, and may pose a negative impact on the Group’s businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects. There can be no assurance that there will not be another significant global outbreak of a severe communicable disease, and if such an outbreak were to occur, it may have an adverse impact on the operations of the Group and its results of operations may suffer.
The Group’s principal business operations face significant competition and rapid technological change across the markets in which they operate. New market entrants, intensified price competition among existing competitors, possible substitution of imports for locally manufactured products and the acceptability of the Group’s products by the market could adversely affect the Group’s businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects. Likewise, product innovation and technical advancement may render the Group’s existing and potential applications and products and its own research and development efforts obsolete or non-competitive.
Research and development conducted by the Group is a lengthy and expensive process involving a lot of trial testing in order to demonstrate that the products are effective and safe for commercial sale. Successful results in the early stage of the trial process may, upon further review, be revised or negated by regulatory authorities or by later stage trial results and there is no assurance that any of the research and development activities will produce positive results. There may be challenges in patient recruitment for the necessary trials, for example, in terms of the ability to recruit the necessary number of appropriate patients and the speed of enrollment to achieve the standard needed. There is no assurance of adequate funding to complete the trials required for regulatory approval. The regulatory authorities may also impose additional trials or other requirements before approval for commercial sale.
In addition, recruiting and retaining qualified scientific personnel to perform research and development work will be critical to the success of the Group and there can be no assurance that the Group will be able to attract and retain such personnel on acceptable terms given the competition for experienced scientists from numerous specialised biotechnology firms, pharmaceutical and chemical companies, universities and other research institutions. Failure to recruit and retain such skilled personnel could delay the research and development and product commercialisation programs of the Group.
Some of the Group’s operations are subject to extensive and rigorous government regulations relating to the development, testing, manufacture, safety, efficacy, record-keeping, labeling, storage, approval, advertising, promotion and sale and distribution of the products. The regulatory review and approval process (which requires the submission of extensive data and supporting information to establish the products’ safety, efficacy and potency) can be lengthy, expensive and uncertain and there can be no assurance that any of the Group’s products will be approved for marketing and sale. The policies or administrative standards of the relevant regulatory bodies may change from time to time and there can be no assurance that products that have been approved for marketing and sale do not need to be recalled at a later stage in order to comply with subsequent new requirements.
The success of the Group will depend in part on whether it is able to obtain and enforce patent protection for its products and processes. No assurance can be given as to whether patent rights may be granted to the Group and that the patents granted will be sufficiently broad in their scope to provide protection and exclude competitors with similar products. Even when granted the patents may still be susceptible to revocation or attack by third parties. It is also not possible to determine with certainty whether there are any conflicting third party rights which may affect the Group’s current commercial strategy and intellectual property portfolios. The Group may become involved in litigation in enforcing its intellectual property rights and/or be sued by third parties for alleged infringement and the result of such litigation is difficult to predict and may adversely affect the Group’s businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects.
The trends in the industries in which the Group operates, including market sentiment and conditions, the consumption power of the general public, mark to market value of investment securities, the currency environment and interest rate cycles, may pose significant risks to the Group’s businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects. There can be no assurance that the combination of industry trends and interest rates the Group experiences in the future will not adversely affect the Group’s businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects.
In particular, income from finance and treasury operations is dependent upon the capital market, 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 businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects. The volatility in the financial markets may also adversely affect the income to be derived by the Group from its finance and treasury activities.
The Group is partially financed by loans from banks and other sources. These loans have fixed terms and are subject to renewal or refinancing upon maturity. The success or otherwise in renewal or refinancing of the loans will affect the liquidity of the Group.
At the end of the reporting period, the Group reviews the carrying amounts of its tangible and intangible assets. If the recoverable amount of an asset is less than its carrying amount, an impairment loss is recognised in profit or loss. The result of the Group will be affected by such asset impairment tests which are carried out at the end of each reporting period.
The results of the Group are recorded in Hong Kong dollars but its various subsidiaries and joint ventures may receive revenue and incur expenses in other currencies. Any currency fluctuations on translation of the accounts of these subsidiaries 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. 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.
The Group invests in various listed and unlisted entities, which are carried on the balance sheet at fair value. The performance of the Group is therefore subject to the change in the fair value of these investments.
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 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 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 conditions.
Some of the businesses of the Group are conducted through non wholly-owned subsidiaries 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 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.
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, 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 have an impact on the Group’s businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects.
In the ordinary course of its operations, various businesses of the Group collect, store and use data that is protected by personal data protection laws in the different countries in which they operate. As regulatory focus on privacy issue continues to increase and worldwide laws and regulations concerning the handling of personal information expand and become more complex, potential risks related to personal data collection and use within the Group’s businesses are expected to intensify.
In the event that any relevant business of the Group is unable to meet its obligations under applicable data protection laws, it may be subject to regulatory action or civil claims. The cost of regulatory or legal action, and any monetary and/or reputational damage suffered as a result of such action, could have a material adverse effect on the Group’s financial conditions and results of operations.
The Group is among the largest vineyard owners in Australasia in terms of hectarage and top ten in the world. The vineyards of the Group are mostly leased to well-established wine industry operators and provide immediate and recurring cashflow to the Group. The continued success of the Group will depend in part on its ability to maintain such cashflow. There is no assurance that the Group’s tenants will observe the terms of the leases and continue to pay the rent during their existing lease term, or that the leases will be renewed at favorable terms upon their expiries. Tenants of the Group’s vineyards export wine to, amongst other countries, the United Kingdom (“UK”) and China. The exit of the UK from the European Union and the tension between China and Australia may have adverse effects affecting exports of wine by our tenants and their ability to keep up rental payment. Furthermore, the market value of the vineyard portfolio is subject to currency fluctuations which may impact on the Group’s income or financial position.
The Group is a diversified company with businesses in Asia, Australasia and North America. In recent years, a series of social incidents and terrorist activities occurred across the globe that resulted in economic losses, multiple deaths and casualties. There can be no assurance that countries in which the Group operates will not have any social incidents or they will be immune from terrorist threat, and if these events occur, it may have an adverse impact on the Group’s businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects.
The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (“HKICPA”) has from time to time issued a number of new and revised Hong Kong Financial Reporting Standards (“HKFRSs”). HKICPA may in the future issue new and revised standards and interpretations. In addition, interpretations on the application of the HKFRSs will continue to develop. These factors may require the Group to adopt new accounting policies. The adoption of new accounting policies or new HKFRSs might or could have a significant impact on the Group’s financial position, results of operations or profit growth.
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 (“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 has undertaken merger and acquisition activities in the past and may continue to do so if there are appropriate acquisition opportunities in the market. In pursuit of new business opportunities, the Group is experiencing more intense competition where competing bidders are more aggressive in the valuation of the assets on the back of abundant market liquidity and lower return requirements. The pressure to deploy capital has been significant. Although due diligence and detailed analysis are conducted before merger and acquisition activities are 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 Group 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. COVID-19 has introduced more market uncertainty and has also imposed logistical restrictions on the ability to conduct due diligence according to the Group’s usual procedures. Some of these merger and acquisition 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 Group 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 acquisition activities undertaken overseas, the Group may also be exposed to different and changing political, social, legal and regulatory requirements at the local, national and international level. The Group may also need to face different cultural issues when dealing with local employees, customers, governmental authorities and pressure groups.
Some of the Group’s assets and businesses, and many of the Group’s customers and suppliers are located in areas at risk of damage from earthquakes, floods, drought, fire, frost and similar disasters and the occurrence of any of these disasters could disrupt the Group’s business and materially and adversely affect the Group’s businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects.
There can be no assurance that earthquakes, floods, drought or other natural disasters will not occur and result in major damage to the Group’s assets or facilities, which could adversely affect the Group’s businesses, financial conditions, results of operations or growth prospects.
Climatic changes affect demand, availability, quality and pricing of many of our products as well as those of our customers, especially in the agriculture-related sector, affecting business performance. Furthermore, on-going climate change may trigger off serious natural events like drought and bushfires that may destroy or damage the Group’s assets such as land and vineyards.
Changes in environmental conditions, such as increase in pollution, may affect the performance of some of our assets. For example, pollution of sea water may have an impact on the productivity of solar salt fields.
The past performance and the results of operations of the Group 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.