The transactions completed in the course of financial management give rise to default risks. These are managed using a system of counterparty limits with which we constantly assess the risk of counterparty default. A maximum acceptable risk is determined for each counterparty. This is primarily derived from the rating given by recognised rating agencies. For oil companies without a rating the maximum credit limit is generally EUR 20m. The extent to which counterparty limits are taken up by existing financial market transactions is calculated and monitored daily. If limits are exceeded, a documented escalation procedure comes into play, requiring decisions to be taken on the action needed.
In times of high economic fluctuation the default risk for trade receivables increases. We track the performance of receivables closely at the level of the Group and the individual business segments. Preventive measures are also taken. Passenger and freight documents are largely sold via agents, whose credit rating is reviewed and partly secured by guarantees or similar instruments.
Counterparty risks in connection with credit card companies are also monitored closely and incoming payments reviewed daily. Furthermore, payment targets with some credit card companies have been significantly reduced to lessen default risk. Additional information and the credit risk positions existing at year-end 2011 can be found in the Notes to the consolidated financial statements, .