As an international aviation company Lufthansa is exposed to macroeconomic, sector-specific and Company risks. Our management systems are constantly updated and enable us to identify both risks and opportunities at an early stage and act accordingly. Our proven risk strategy allows us to take advantage of business opportunities as long as a risk-adjusted return can be realised on market terms.
The calculated management of opportunities and risks is an integral factor in the management of our Company. Our risk management is therefore integrated into our business processes. The system enabling operational risks to be identified and managed at an early stage is composed of several modules. These modules are linked systematically with each other – with the exception of financial risk management, for which responsibility is organised centrally. This enables homogenous risks to be identified in their entirety and responsibly managed with the necessary economic competence. The functions of trading, settlement and financial controlling are strictly separated and are based in independent organisational units. The risk management system for financial instruments is part of central financial management. It is described in the section and in the Notes to the consolidated financial statements under .
Our Risk Management Committee ensures on behalf of the Executive Board that business risks are permanently identified and evaluated across all functions and processes. The committee is made up of the eight directors of Corporate Controlling, Legal Affairs, Corporate Finance, Corporate Accounting, Corporate Audit (permanent member without voting rights), Corporate IT, Controlling Lufthansa Passenger Airlines and Delvag Group. It is responsible for continuously improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the risk management system.
An important instrument for doing so is the risk map: it lists all material risks which could endanger the Company’s earnings and its continued existence. At the same time it identifies all the instruments for managing these risks. Risks count as material if they are capable of causing damage of at least one third of the operating result necessary for maintaining the value of the Company. For 2011 this amount was again determined to be EUR 300m for the Lufthansa Group. The materiality threshold is calculated individually for each of the business segments according to the same principle.
The risk map is updated regularly and its structure is aligned with the entire process of risk management, identification, coordination, communication and control. Lufthansa applies uniform risk management standards throughout the Group. The managing directors of all Group companies also appoint risk managers in all business segments. They are responsible for implementing the Group guidelines within their respective companies and are in close, regular contact with the Risk Management Committee. This also enables the rapid integration of new subsidiaries, as occurred with Austrian Airlines for instance.
Opportunity and risk controlling in the course of the planning and coordination processes is a further component of the system. This primarily identifies the potential risks and opportunities that could impact earnings targets in an analysis of the market and competition landscape, evaluates them and initiates steps to manage them.
As both positive and negative departures from plan are covered, this means that the same instruments are used to identify, evaluate, manage and control risks and opportunities.
Over the course of the year we track the opportunities and risks identified in relation to the planned result with the help of the quarterly Opportunity and Risk Report. Potential departures from the planned operating result are quantified by the risk experts in order to focus attention on the most important risks. Both positive and negative variations, i.e. opportunities and risks, are evaluated in the form of a best case/worst case analysis. A discussion of risks and opportunities is also a fixed element of the regular meetings between Group controlling and the managing directors of Group companies.
Additionally, the potential departures from plan are also examined in separate meetings with departments exposed to risk. The focus here is on identifying the action required and the status of steps taken to manage the corresponding opportunities and risks systematically.
The auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers Aktiengesellschaft Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft (PwC) examined the early risk warning system in place at Deutsche Lufthansa AG in the light of statutory requirements during the annual audit. It satisfies all the statutory requirements made of such a system.