Financial statements I Notes to the consolidated financial statements continued
32. Financial risk management and financial instruments :ontinued
Market risk is the risk that changes in market prices, such as foreign exchange rates, interest rates, commodity prices and equity prices will affect
HEINEKEN's income or the value of its holdings of financial instruments. The objective of market risk management is to manage and control market
risk exposures within acceptable parameters, whilst optimising the return on risk.
HEINEKEN uses derivatives in the ordinary course of business, and also incurs financial liabilities, in order to manage market risks. Generally, HEINEKEN
seeks to apply hedge accounting or make use of natural hedges in order to minimise the effects of foreign currency fluctuations in profit or loss.
Derivatives that can be used are interest rate swaps, forward rate agreements, caps and floors, commodity swaps, spot and forward exchange
contracts and options. Transactions are entered into with a limited number of counterparties with strong credit ratings. Foreign currency, interest
rate and commodity hedging operations are governed by internal policies and rules approved and monitored by the Executive Board.
Foreign currency risk
HEINEKEN is exposed to foreign currency risk on sales, purchases and borrowings that are denominated in a currency other than the respective
functional currencies of HEINEKEN entities. The main currencies that give rise to this risk are the US dollar, euro and British pound.
In managing foreign currency risk, HEINEKEN aims to reduce the impact of short-term fluctuations on earnings. Over the longer term, however,
permanent changes in foreign exchange rates would have an impact on profit.
HEINEKEN hedges up to 90 per cent of its mainly intra-HEINEKEN US dollar cash flows on the basis of rolling cash flow forecasts in respect to
forecasted sales and purchases. Cash flows in other foreign currencies are also hedged on the basis of rolling cash flow forecasts. HEINEKEN mainly
uses forward exchange contracts to hedge its foreign currency risk. The majority of the forward exchange contracts have maturities of less than one
year after the balance sheet date.
The Company has a clear policy on hedging transactional exchange risks, which postpones the impact on financial results. Translation exchange
risks are hedged to a limited extent, as the underlying currency positions are generally considered to be long-term in nature. The result of the net
investment hedging is recognised in the translation reserve as can be seen in the consolidated statement of comprehensive income.
It is HEINEKEN's policy to provide intra-HEINEKEN financing in the functional currency of subsidiaries where possible to prevent foreign currency
exposure on subsidiary level. The resulting exposure at Group level is hedged by means of forward exchange contracts. Intra-HEINEKEN financing
in foreign currencies is mainly in British pounds, US dollars, Swiss franc and Polish zloty. In some cases HEINEKEN elects to treat intra-HEINEKEN
financing with a permanent character as equity and does not hedge the foreign currency exposure.
The principal amounts of HEINEKEN's British pound, Polish zloty, Mexican peso and Egyptian pound bank loans and bond issues are used to hedge
local operations, which generate cash flows that have the same respective functional currencies. Corresponding interest on these borrowings is also
denominated in currencies that match the cash flows generated by the underlying operations of HEINEKEN. This provides an economic hedge
without derivatives being entered into.
In respect of other monetary assets and liabilities denominated in currencies other than the functional currencies of the Company and the various
foreign operations, HEINEKEN ensures that its net exposure is kept to an acceptable level by buying or selling foreign currencies at spot rates when
necessary to address short-term imbalances.
Heineken N.V. Annual Report 2011