Financial risks are managed in respect of guidelines issued by the Board of Directors of Eni SpA in its role of directing and setting the risk limits, targeting to align and centrally coordinate Group companies’ policies on financial risks ("Guidelines on financial risks management and control"). The "Guidelines" define for each financial risk the key components of the management and control process, such as the aim of the risk management, the valuation methodology, the structure of limits, the relationship model and the hedging and mitigation instruments.
Market risk is the possibility that changes in currency exchange rates, interest rates or commodity prices will adversely affect the value of the Group’s financial assets, liabilities or expected future cash flows.
The Company actively manages market risk in accordance with a set of policies and guidelines that provide a centralized model of handling finance, treasury and risk management transactions based on the Company’s departments of operational finance: the parent company’s (Eni SpA) finance department, Eni Finance International SA, Eni Finance USA Inc and Banque Eni SA, which is subject to certain bank regulatory restrictions preventing the Group’s exposure to concentrations of credit risk, and Eni Trading & Shipping that is in charge to execute certain activities relating to commodity derivatives.
In particular, Eni Corporate finance department, Eni Finance International SA and Eni Finance USA Inc manage subsidiaries’ financing requirements in and outside Italy and in the United States of America, respectively, covering funding requirements and using available surpluses.
Exchange rate risk derives from the fact that Eni’s operations are conducted in currencies other than euro (mainly US dollar).
Revenues and expenses denominated in foreign currencies may be significantly affected by exchange rate fluctuations due to conversion differences on single transactions arising from the time lag existing between execution and definition of relevant contractual terms (economic risk) and conversion of foreign currency-denominated trade and financing payables and receivables (transactional risk).
Exchange rate fluctuations affect the Group’s reported results and net equity as financial statements of subsidiaries denominated in currencies other than euro are translated from their functional currency into euro. Generally, an appreciation of US dollar versus euro has a positive impact on Eni’s results of operations, and vice versa.
Eni’s foreign exchange risk management policy is to minimize transactional exposures arising from foreign currency movements and to optimize exposures arising from commodity risk. Eni does not undertake any hedging activity for risks deriving from the translation of foreign currency denominated profits or assets and liabilities of subsidiaries, which prepare financial statements in a currency other than euro, except for single transactions to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Effective management of exchange rate risk is performed within Eni’s finance departments, which pool Group companies’ positions, hedging the Group net exposure by using certain derivatives, such as currency swaps, forwards and options.
For further details, please refer to Annual Report 2019 Section “Market risk - Exchange Rate” pg 209.
Changes in interest rates affect the market value of financial assets and liabilities of the Company and the level of finance charges. Eni’s interest rate risk management policy is to minimize risk with the aim to achieve financial structure objectives defined and approved in management’s finance plans.
The Group’s finance departments pool borrowing requirements of the Group companies in order to manage net positions and fund portfolio developments consistent with management plans, thereby maintaining a level of risk exposure within prescribed limits.
Eni enters into interest rate derivative transactions, in particular interest rate swaps, to manage effectively the balance between fixed and floating rate debt. Such derivatives are evaluated at fair value based on market prices provided from specialized sources. VaR deriving from interest rate exposure is measured daily based on a variance/covariance model, with a 99% confidence level and a 20-day holding period.
Eni’s results of operations are affected by changes in the prices of commodities. A decrease in Oil & Gas prices generally has a negative impact on Eni’s results of operations and vice versa, and may jeopardize the achievement of the financial targets preset in the Company’s four-year plans and budget. The commodity price risk arises in connection with the following exposures:
- strategic exposure: exposures directly identified by the Board of Directors as a result of strategic investment decisions or outside the planning horizon of risk. These exposures include those associated with the program for the production of proved and unproved Oil & Gas reserves, long-term gas supply contracts for the portion not balanced by ongoing or highly probable sale contracts, refining margins identified by the Board of Directors of strategic nature (the remaining volumes can be allocated to the active management of the margin or to asset-backed hedging activities) and minimum compulsory stocks;
- commercial exposure: includes the exposures related to the components underlying the contractual arrangements of industrial and commercial activities and, if related to take-or-pay commitments, to the components related to the time horizon of the four-year plan and budget and the relevant activities of risk management. Commercial exposures are characterized by a systematic risk management activity conducted based on risk/return assumptions by implementing one or more strategies and subjected to specific risk limits (VaR, revision strategy limits and stop loss). In particular, the commercial exposures include exposures subjected to asset-backed hedging activities, arising from the flexibility/optionality of assets;
- proprietary trading exposure: includes operations independently conducted for profit purposes in the short term, and normally not for the purpose of delivery, both within the commodity and financial markets, with the aim to obtain a profit upon the occurrence of a favorable result in the market, in accordance with specific limits of authorized risk (VaR, stop loss). Origination activities are included in the proprietary trading exposures, if not connected to contractual or physical assets.
For further details, please refer to Annual Report 2019 Section “Market risk - Commodity” pg 209.
Market risk deriving from liquidity management is identified as the possibility that changes in prices of financial instruments (bonds, money market instruments and mutual funds) would affect the value of these instruments when valued at fair value.
The setting up and maintenance of the liquidity reserve is mainly aimed to guarantee a proper financial flexibility. Liquidity should allow Eni to fund any extraordinary need (such as difficulty in access to credit, exogenous shock, macroeconomic environment, as well as merger and acquisitions) and must be dimensioned to provide a coverage of short-term debts and a coverage of medium and long-term finance debts due within a time horizon of 24 months. In order to manage the investment activity of the strategic liquidity, Eni defined a specific investment policy with aims and constraints in terms of financial activities and operational boundaries, as well as Governance guidelines regulating management and control systems. In particular, strategic liquidity management is regulated in terms of VaR (measured based on a parametrical methodology with a one-day holding period and a 99% confidence level), stop loss and other operating limits in terms of concentration, issuing entity, business segment, Country of emission, duration, ratings and type of investing instruments in portfolio, aimed to minimize market and liquidity risks.
For further details, please refer to Annual Report 2019 Section “Market risk – Strategic Liquidity” pg 210.
Credit risk is the potential exposure of the Group to losses in case counterparties fail to perform or pay amounts due. Eni defined credit risk management policies consistent with the nature and characteristics of the counterparties of commercial and financial transactions with regard to the centralized finance model.
The Company adopted a model to quantify and control the credit risk based on the evaluation of the expected loss which represents the probability of default and the capacity to recover credits in default that is estimated through the so-called Loss Given Default.
In the credit risk management and control model, credit exposures are distinguished by commercial nature, in relation to the structured contracts on commodities related to Eni's core business, and by financial nature, in relation to the financial instruments substantially used by Eni, such as deposits, derivatives and securities.
For further details, please refer to Annual Report 2019 Section “Market risk –Credit Risk” pg 211.
Liquidity risk is the risk that suitable sources of funding for the Group may not be available, or the Group is unable to sell its assets in the marketplace in order to meet short-term finance requirements and to settle obligations. Such a situation would negatively affect Group results, as it would result in the Company incurring higher borrowing expenses to meet its obligations or under the worst of conditions the inability of the Company to continue as a going concern. Eni's risk management targets include the maintaining of an adequate level of liquidity readily available to deal with external shocks (drastic changes in the scenario, restrictions on access to capital markets, etc.) or to ensure an adequate level of operational flexibility for the development programs of the Company. The strategic liquidity reserve is employed in short-term marketable financial instruments, favouring investments with very low risk profile.
At present, the Group believes to have access to sufficient funding to meet the current foreseeable borrowing requirements as a consequence of the availability of financial assets and lines of credit and the access to a wide range of funding at competitive costs through the credit system and capital markets.
For further details, please refer to Annual Report 2019 Section “Market risk – Liquidity Risk” pg 211.