SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT
SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE
Commission file number
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)
Federative Republic of
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip code)
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
Name of each exchange in which registered
Preferred Shares, no par value per share, each represented by
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act: None
The total number of issued shares of each class of stock of GERDAU S.A. as of December 31, 2021 was:
1,146,031,245 Preferred Shares, no par value per share
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
◻ Yes ⌧
Note — Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those Sections.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or an emerging growth company. See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Accelerated filer ◻
Non-accelerated filer ◻
Emerging growth company ◻
If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards† provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act.
†The term "new or revised financial accounting standard" refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management's assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.
Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:
U.S. GAAP ☐
If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.
☐ Item 17 ☐ Item 18
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Unless otherwise indicated, all references herein to:
|(i)||“CPI” means consumer price index, “CDI” means Interbanking Deposit Rates (Certificados de Depósito Interfinanceiro), “IGP-M” means Consumer Prices Index (Índice Geral de Preços do Mercado), measured by FGV (Fundação Getulio Vargas), “LIBOR” means London Interbank Offered Rate, “GDP” means Gross Domestic Product;|
|(ii)||“Gerdau Açominas” is a reference to Gerdau Açominas S.A.|
|(iii)||“Installed capacity” means the annual projected capacity for a particular facility (excluding the portion that is not attributable to our participation in a facility owned by a joint venture), calculated based upon operations for 24 hours each day of a year and deducting scheduled downtime for regular maintenance;|
|(iv)||“Preferred Shares” and “Ordinary Shares” refer to the Company’s authorized and outstanding preferred stock and ordinary stock, designated as ações preferenciais and ações ordinárias, respectively, all without par value. All references herein to the “real”, “reais” or “R$” are to the Brazilian real, the official currency of Brazil. All references to (i) “U.S. dollars”, “dollars”, “U.S.$” or “$” are to the official currency of the United States, (ii) “Euro” or “€” are to the official currency of members of the European Union, (iii) “billions” are to thousands of millions, (iv) “km” are to kilometers, and (vi) “tonnes” are to metric tonnes;|
|(v)||“proven” or” probable mineral reserves” have the meanings defined by SEC in Regulation S-K, ⸹229.1300.|
|(vi)||“Shipments” means the volumes shipped and “Consolidated shipments” means the combined volumes shipped from all our operations in Brazil, South America, North America and Asia, excluding our joint ventures and associate companies;|
|(vii)||the “Company”, “Gerdau”, “we” or “us” are references to Gerdau S.A., a corporation organized under the laws of the Federative Republic of Brazil (“Brazil”) and its consolidated subsidiaries;|
|(viii)||“Tonne” means a metric tonne, which is equal to 1,000 kilograms or 2,204.62 pounds;|
|(ix)||“Worldsteel” means World Steel Association, “IABr” means Brazilian Steel Institute (Instituto Aço Brasil) and “AISI” means American Iron and Steel Institute;|
The Company has prepared the Consolidated Financial Statements included herein in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). The following investments are accounted following the equity method: Bradley Steel Processor and MRM Guide Rail, all in North America, of which Gerdau Ameristeel holds 50% of the total capital, the investment in the holding company Gerdau Metaldom Corp., in which the Company holds a 50% stake, in the Dominican Republic, the investment in Gerdau Corsa S.A.P.I. de C.V., in Mexico, in which the Company holds a 75% stake, the investment in Dona Francisca Energética S.A, in Brazil, in which the Company holds a 51.82% stake, the investment in Diaco S.A., in Colombia, in which the Company holds a 49.87% stake, the investment in Gerdau Summit Aços Fundidos e Forjados S.A., in Brazil, in which the Company holds a 58.73% stake and the investment in Juntos Somos Mais Fidelização S.A., in Brazil, in which the Company holds a 27.50% stake.
Unless otherwise indicated, all information in this Annual Report is stated as of December 31, 2021.
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT WITH RESPECT TO FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
This Annual Report contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Act of 1995. These statements relate to our future prospects, developments and business strategies.
Statements that are predictive in nature, that depend upon or refer to future events or conditions or that include words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “intends,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates” and similar expressions are forward-looking statements. Although we believe that these forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumptions, these statements are subject to several risks and uncertainties and are made considering information currently available to us.
It is possible that our future performance may differ materially from our current assessments due to several factors, including the following:
|●||general economic, political and business conditions in our markets, both in Brazil and abroad, including demand and prices for steel products;|
|●||interest rate fluctuations, inflation and exchange rate movements of the real in relation to the U.S. dollar and other currencies in which we sell a significant portion of our products or in which our assets and liabilities are denominated;|
|●||our ability to obtain financing on satisfactory terms;|
|●||prices and availability of raw materials;|
|●||changes in international trade;|
|●||changes in laws and regulations;|
|●||electric energy shortages and government responses to them;|
|●||the performance of the Brazilian and the global steel industries and markets;|
|●||global, national and regional competition in the steel market;|
|●||protectionist measures imposed by steel-importing countries; and|
|●||other factors identified or discussed under “Risk Factors.”|
Our forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, and actual results or developments may differ materially from the expectations expressed in the forward-looking statements. As for the forward-looking statements that relate to future financial results and other projections, actual results will be different due to the inherent uncertainty of estimates, forecasts and projections. Because of these uncertainties, potential investors should not rely on these forward-looking statements.
We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
ITEM 1. IDENTITY OF DIRECTORS, SENIOR MANAGEMENT AND ADVISERS
Not applicable, as the Company is filing this Form 20-F as an annual report.
ITEM 2. OFFER STATISTICS AND EXPECTED TIMETABLE
Not applicable, as the Company is filing this Form 20-F as an annual report.
ITEM 3. KEY INFORMATION
B. CAPITALIZATION AND INDEBTEDNESS
Not required, as the Company is filing this Form 20-F as an annual report.
C. REASONS FOR THE OFFER AND USE OF PROCEEDS
Not required, as the Company is filing this Form 20-F as an annual report.
D. RISK FACTORS
We are subject to various risks and uncertainties resulting from changing competitive, economic, political and social conditions that could harm our business, results of operations or financial condition. The risks described below could adversely affect our business, consolidated financial position, results of operations or cash flows. These risks are not the only ones we face. Other risks that we do not presently know about or that we presently believe are not material could also adversely affect us.
Risks Relating to our Business and the Steel Industry
Demand for steel is cyclical and a reduction in prevailing world prices for steel could adversely affect the Company’s results of operations.
The steel industry is highly cyclical. Consequently, the Company is exposed to substantial swings in the demand for steel products, which in turn causes volatility in the prices of most of its products and eventually could cause write-downs of its inventories. In addition, the demand for steel products, and hence the financial condition and results of operations of companies in the steel industry, including the Company itself, are generally affected by macroeconomic changes in the world economy and in the domestic economies of steel-producing countries, including general trends in the steel, construction and automotive industries. Slow growth in steel consumption was not accompanied by a corresponding slowdown in capacity expansion over the last few years, resulting in an even greater excess of global steel capacity. Since then, the price has experienced a high volatility. A material decrease in demand for steel or exports by countries not able to consume their production could have a significant adverse effect on the Company’s financial condition and results of operations.
Global crises and subsequent economic slowdowns may adversely affect global steel demand. As a result, the Company’s financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.
Historically, the steel industry has been highly cyclical and deeply impacted by economic conditions in general, such as world production capacity and fluctuations in steel imports/exports and the respective import duties. After a steady period of growth between 2004 and 2008, the marked drop in demand resulting from the global economic crisis of 2008-2009 once again demonstrated the vulnerability of the steel market to volatility of international steel prices and raw materials. That crisis was caused by the dramatic increase of high risk real of estate financing defaults and foreclosures in the United States, with serious consequences for bank and financial markets throughout the world. Developed markets, such as North America and Europe, experienced a strong recession due to the collapse of real estate financings and the shortage of global credit. As a result, the demand for steel products suffered a decline in 2009, but since 2010 has been experiencing a gradual recovery, principally in the developing economies. For the last ten years to 2021, driven by population and GDP growth, global demand for steel has been growing strongly in recent years and is expected to
continue to increase, especially because of economic expansion in India, ASEAN countries and Africa, even as demand in China gradually declines.
The global economy can negatively impact the consuming markets, affecting the business environment with respect to the following:
|●||Decrease in international steel prices;|
|●||Slump in international steel trading volumes;|
|●||Crisis in automotive industry and infrastructure sectors; and|
|●||Lack of liquidity in the international market.|
If the Company is not able to remain competitive in these shifting markets, our profitability, margins and income may be negatively affected. A decline in this trend could result in a decrease in the Company’s shipments and revenues. As a result, the Company’s financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.
Our results and financial condition are affected by global and local market conditions that we do not control and cannot predict
We are subject to the risks arising from adverse changes in domestic and global economic and political conditions. Our industry is cyclical by nature and fluctuates with economic cycles, including the current global economic instability. Recessions and significant disruptions in the global financial markets may affect the Company. Our operations experienced significant disruptions in 2008 and the United States, Europe and other economies went into recession. New challenges including the uncertain effects of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union (BREXIT) and increasing political uncertainty and instability in a number of countries. In 2020, the COVID-19 Pandemic, as explained below, resulted in the temporary closing of several industries, including the steel industry. Measures were taken to contain the virus spread among employees, in accordance with regulations promulgated by local authorities. The effects extended to operations and impacted the Company’s results, mainly in April, May and June. There continues to be considerable uncertainty over the long-term effects of the expansionary monetary and fiscal policies that have been adopted by the central banks and financial authorities of some of the world’s leading economies, including China. These policies may have a negative impact on the global and local economy, and consequently our business, financial condition and results of operations. We cannot predict if the actions taken in the United States, Europe, China and elsewhere in the world to address the adverse effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic will be successful in reducing the duration and impact of the economic instability, inflation and political uncertainty. More recently, the risk of trade protection measures in favor of local producers of competing products and the disruption in existing trade agreements or increased trade friction between countries (e.g., the U.S. and China) could have a negative effect on our business and results of operations by restricting the free flow of goods and services across borders and exacerbating global economic conditions. Global economic weakness may prompt banks to limit or deny lending to us or to our customers, which could have a material adverse effect on our liquidity, on our operations and on our ability to carry out our announced capital investment programs and may prompt our customers to slow down or reduce the purchase of our products. We may experience longer sales cycles, difficulty in collecting sales proceeds and lower prices for our products. We cannot provide any assurance that any of these events will not have a material adverse effect on market conditions, the prices of our securities, our ability to obtain financing and our results of operations and financial condition.
Gerdau faces significant competition in relation to their steel products, including with regard to prices of other domestic and foreign producers, which may adversely affect its profitability and market share.
The global steel industry is highly competitive with respect to price, quality of products and customer service, as well as in relation to technological advances that allow the reduction of production costs. Brazilian exports of steel products are influenced by several factors, including protectionist policies of other countries, foreign exchange policy of the Brazilian government and growth rate of the world economy. Moreover, continuous advances in material sciences and the resulting technologies facilitate the improvement of products such as plastic, aluminum, ceramics and glass, allowing them to replace steel.
Due to the high initial investment costs, the operation of a steel plant on a continuous basis may encourage mill operators to maintain high production levels, even in periods of low demand, which would increase the pressure on industry profit margins. A competitive pressure that forces the fall in steel prices can also affect the profitability of Gerdau.
The steel industry has historically suffered from excess production capacity, which has recently worsened due to a substantial increase in production capacity in emerging countries, particularly China and India and other emerging markets. China is currently the largest global steel producer. In addition, China and certain steel exporting countries have favorable conditions (excess steel capacity, devalued currency or high market prices for steel products in markets outside these countries) which may significantly impact the price of steel in other markets. If Gerdau is unable to remain competitive with China and other steel-producing countries, its financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected in the future.
An increase in China’s steelmaking capacity or a slowdown in China’s steel consumption could have a material adverse effect on domestic and global steel pricing and could result in increased steel imports into the markets in which the Company operates.
One significant factor in the global steel market has been China’s high steel production capacity, which has been exceeding its domestic consumption needs. This has made China a net exporter of steel products, increasing its importance in different countries of the transoceanic market and consequently pushing down international steel prices. Moreover, China’s lower growth rate has resulted in a slower pace of steel consumption in the country, consequently reducing demand for imported raw materials and putting pressure on global commodity prices. Any intensification of these factors could adversely affect the Company’s exports, results of operations and financial condition.
Higher steel scrap prices or a reduction in supply could adversely affect production costs and operating margins.
The main metal input for the Company’s mini mills is steel scrap. Although international steel scrap prices are determined essentially by scrap prices in the U.S. local market, because the United States is the main scrap exporter, scrap prices in the Brazilian market are set by domestic suppliers and demand. The price of steel scrap in Brazil varies from region to region and reflects demand and transportation costs. Should scrap prices increase significantly without a corresponding increase in finished steel selling prices, the Company’s profits and margins could be adversely affected. An increase in steel scrap prices or a shortage in the supply of scrap to its units would affect production costs and potentially reduce operating margins and revenues. As a result, the Company’s financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.
Increases in iron ore and coal prices, or reductions in market supply, and price increases in other inputs, could adversely affect the Company’s operations.
When the prices of raw materials, particularly iron ore and coking coal, increase, and the Company needs to produce steel in its integrated facilities, the production costs in its integrated facilities also increase. The Company uses iron ore to produce hot pig iron at its Ouro Branco, Barão de Cocais and Divinópolis mills located in the state of Minas Gerais.
The Ouro Branco mill is the Company’s largest mill in Brazil, and its main metal input for the production of steel is iron ore. This unit represented 55% of the total crude steel output (in volume) of the Brazil Business Segment. A shortage of iron ore in the domestic market may adversely affect the steel producing capacity of the Brazilian units, and an increase in iron ore prices could reduce profit margins.
The Company has iron ore mines in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. To mitigate its exposure to the volatility in iron ore prices, the Company invested in expanding the production capacity of these mines.
All of the Company’s coking coal requirements for its Brazilian units are imported due to the low quality of Brazilian coal. Coking coal is the main energy input at the Ouro Branco mill and is used at the coking facility. Although this mill is not dependent on coke supplies, a contraction in the supply of coking coal could adversely affect the integrated operations at this site. The coking coal used in this mill is imported from Canada, the United States, Australia, Mozambique, Peru, Russia and Colombia. Although the market for the supply of coking coal is relatively balanced at the moment, and we have entered into long-term contracts with negotiable prices periodically to minimize the risks of shortages, a shortage of coking coal in the international market would adversely affect the steel producing capacity of the Ouro Branco mill. In addition, an increase in prices could reduce profit margins. Another related risk is the currency depreciation to which the Ouro Branco Mill is exposed, since all coking coal consumed by the operation is imported.
Volatility in the supply and prices of these and other raw materials, energy and transportation, could adversely affect the Company’s results of operations. We are increasingly vulnerable to inflationary cost pressures, especially in relation to the prices of electricity, natural gas and CO2. These inflationary cost pressures could become exacerbated as a consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the resulting disruption of markets and supply chains and the uncertain impact of sanctions.
As a result, the Company’s financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, international responses to it including sanctions and any regional or global escalation of the conflict, could adversely affect the Company’s business, results of operations and financial condition.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine could have a material adverse effect on the overall macroeconomic environment, which might include demand for steel and iron ore and prices, as well as increasing energy costs. Both the conflict itself and the sanctions imposed (and further sanctions that may be imposed), as well as potential Russian responses to sanctions, have had and could have further destabilizing effects on financial markets and certain commodity markets. The conflict could escalate militarily both regionally and globally; any substantial escalation would have a material adverse effect on macroeconomic conditions. In addition, sanctions may remain in place beyond the duration of any military conflict and have a long-lasting impact on the region and globally, and could adversely impact the Group’s Company’s results of operations and financial condition.
Risks Relating to our Operations
The Company’s projects are subject to risks that may result in increased costs or delay or prevent their successful implementation.
The Company invested to further increase productivity of its operations. These projects are subject to several risks that may adversely affect the Company’s growth prospects and profitability, including the following:
|●||the Company may encounter delays, availability problems or higher than expected costs in obtaining the necessary equipment, services and materials to build and operate a project;|
|●||the Company’s efforts to develop projects according to schedule may be hampered by a lack of infrastructure, including availability of overburden and waste disposal areas as well as reliable power and water supplies;|
|●||the Company may fail to obtain, lose, or experience delays or higher than expected costs in obtaining or renewing the required permits, authorizations, licenses, concessions and/or regulatory approvals to build or continue a project; and|
|●||changes in market conditions, laws or regulations may make a project less profitable than expected or economically or otherwise unfeasible.|
Any one or a combination of the factors described above may materially and adversely affect the Company’s financial condition and results of operations.
Unexpected equipment failures may lead to production curtailments or shutdowns.
Unexpected interruptions in the production capabilities at Gerdau’s principal sites and installations would increase production costs, reducing shipments and earnings for the affected period. These interruptions result from: (i) unpredictable/periodic equipment failures, which are essential to the development of the production processes of Gerdau, such as steelmaking equipment, such as its electric arc furnaces, continuous casters, gas-fired reheat furnaces, rolling mills and electrical equipment, including high-output transformers; and/or (ii) unanticipated events such as fires, explosions or violent weather conditions. As a result, Gerdau has experienced and may in the future experience material plant shutdowns or periods of reduced production. Unexpected interruptions in production capabilities would adversely affect Gerdau’s productivity and results of operations. Moreover, any interruption in production capability may require Gerdau to make additions to fixed assets to remedy the problem, which would reduce the amount of cash available for operations. Gerdau’s insurance may not cover the losses. In addition, long-term business disruption could harm the Company’s reputation and result in a loss of customers, which could adversely affect the business, results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.
Failure to obtain the necessary permits and licenses could adversely affect our operations.
We depend on the issuance of permits and licenses from governmental agencies in order to undertake some of our activities that are considered polluting or potentially polluting. For the purpose of obtaining said licenses, certain investments in conservation are required to offset any such impact. The operational licenses require, among other things, that we periodically report our compliance with emissions standards set by environmental agencies. Failure to obtain, renew or comply with our operating licenses
may cause delays in our deployment of new activities, increased costs, monetary fines or even suspension of the affected activity, which may materially adversely affect us.
Climate change may negatively affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
A significant number of scientists, environmentalists, international organizations, regulators and other commentators sustain that global climate change has contributed, and will continue to contribute, to the increasing unpredictability, frequency and severity of natural disasters (including, but not limited to, hurricanes, droughts, tornadoes, freezes, other storms and fires) in certain parts of the world. As a result, a number of legal and regulatory measures as well as social initiatives have been introduced in numerous countries in an effort to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions and combat global climate change. Such reductions in greenhouse gas emissions could result in increased energy, transportation and raw material costs and may require us to make additional investments in facilities and equipment. Although we cannot predict the impact of changing global climate conditions, if any, or of legal, regulatory and social responses to concerns about global climate change, any such occurrences may negatively affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
Laws and regulations seeking to reduce greenhouse gases can be enacted in the future, which could have a significant adverse impact on the operating results, cash flows, and the financial condition of the Company.
One of the possible effects of the increasing requirements related to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions is the increase in costs, mainly due to the demand to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and the implementation of new technologies in the production chain.
The Company believes that the operations in the countries where it operates may be affected in the future by federal, state and municipal initiatives related to climate change, intended to deal with the issue of greenhouse gases (GHG).
In Brazil, Bill 528/21 is being considered in the Congress, establishing the Brazilian Emissions Reduction Market, which regulates the purchase and sale of carbon credits in the country. The proposal regulates the main points of the new market, such as legal nature, registration, certification and accounting of carbon credits. It also sets a deadline (five years) for the government to regulate the mandatory national program to offset greenhouse gas emissions. The text provides for the creation of a voluntary carbon credits market, which is intended for negotiation with companies or governments that do not have mandatory GHG reduction targets, but wish to offset the environmental impact of their activities. At state levels, there are demands for accounting for the inventory of greenhouse gases and reporting to regulatory bodies in the states of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais.
In the U.S., future federal and/or state carbon regulation potentially presents a significantly greater impact to our operations. To date, the U.S. Congress has not legislated carbon constraints. In the absence of comprehensive federal carbon legislation, numerous state, regional and federal regulatory initiatives are under development or are becoming effective, thereby creating a disjointed approach to GHG control and potential carbon pricing impacts.
In Canada, the Output Based Pricing System Regulation requires the three Gerdau sites to report on their greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions, along with production data, are required by legislation to be verified by a third party. The objective of this regulatory activity is to compare the individual site’s emissions intensity against a performance standard, called the Output Based Standard. Since there is a price on carbon ($40/t CO2e in 2021), a site owes the government if the intensity of its emissions is greater than the Output Based Standard. However, if the emissions’ intensity is less than the Output Based Standard, then there is an opportunity to be awarded credits that can be banked for future compliance or sold to others within the same program.
The Company’s operations are energy-intensive, and energy shortages or higher energy prices could have an adverse effect.
Crude steel production is an energy-intensive process, especially in melt shops with electric arc furnaces. Electricity represents an important production component at these units, as also does natural gas, although to a lesser extent. Electricity cannot be replaced at Gerdau’s mills and power rationing or shortages could adversely affect production at those units. As a result, the Company’s financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.
Layoffs in the Company’s labor force could generate costs or negatively affect the Company’s operations.
A substantial number of our employees are represented by labor unions and are covered by collective bargaining or other labor agreements, which are subject to periodic negotiation. Strikes or work stoppages have occurred in the past and could reoccur in
connection with negotiations of new labor agreements or during other periods for other reasons, including the risk of layoffs during a down cycle that could generate severance costs. Moreover, the Company could be adversely affected by labor disruptions involving unrelated parties that may provide goods or services to the Company. Strikes and other labor disruptions at any of the Company operations could adversely affect the operation of facilities and the timing of completion and the cost of capital of our projects.
We could be harmed by a failure or interruption of our information technology systems or automated machinery.
In addition, our information technology systems and automated machinery may be vulnerable to damage or interruption from circumstances beyond our control, including fire, natural disasters, systems failures, viruses, cyber-attacks and other security breaches, including breaches of our production processing systems that could result in damage to our automated machinery, production interruptions or access to our confidential financial, operational or customer data. Any such damage or interruption could have a material adverse effect on our business results, including as a result of our facing significant fines, customer notice obligations or costly litigation, harming our reputation with our customers or requiring us to expend significant time and expense developing, repairing or upgrading our information technology systems and automated machinery.
Further, while we have some backup data-processing systems that could be used in the event of a failure of our primary systems, we do not yet have a disaster recovery plan or a backup data center that covers all of our units. While we endeavor to prepare for failures of our network by providing backup systems and procedures, we cannot guarantee that our current backup systems and procedures will operate satisfactorily in the event of a regional emergency. Any substantial failure of our backup systems to respond effectively or on a timely basis could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations.
We are subject to information technology risks related to breaches of security pertaining to sensitive company, customer, employee and vendor information as well as breaches in the technology used to manage operations and other business processes.
Cybersecurity is a significant concern due to the importance of information technology to the successful conduct of our business operations.We have an executive dedicated to leading the Information Security and Data Protection effort as well as an internal team with qualified specialists and analysts to conduct and evaluate the adequacy of the security and data protection controls. Additionally, we also have an incident response service provider to support our team to prevent and respond to cyber incidents.
We rely upon secure information technology systems for data capture, processing, storage and reporting. Despite careful security and controls design, implementation, updating and independent third-party verification, that also includes specific policies, procedures, and specialized software tools for cybersecurity and data protection, our information technology systems, and those of our third-party providers, could become subject to employee error or malfeasance, natural disasters or be susceptible to cyberattacks. Network, system, application, and data breaches could result in operational disruptions or information misappropriation. Access to internal applications required to plan our operations, source materials, manufacture and goods and account for orders could be denied or misused. Theft of intellectual property or trade secrets, and inappropriate disclosure of confidential company, employee, customer or vendor information, could stem from such incidents. Any of these operational disruptions and/or misappropriation of information could result in lost sales, business delays, negative publicity and could have a material effect on our business. We also could be required to spend significant financial and other resources to remedy the damage caused by a security breach, including to repair or replace networks and information technology systems, liability for stolen information, increased cybersecurity protection costs, litigation expense and increased insurance premiums.
Outbreaks of disease and health epidemics could have a negative impact on our business revenues and results of operations.
In late December 2019 a notice of pneumonia of unknown cause originating from Wuhan, Hubei province of China was reported to the World Health Organization. A novel corona virus called COVID-19 virus was identified, with cases soon confirmed in
multiple provinces in China, as well as in several other countries. The Chinese government placed Wuhan and multiple other cities in Hubei province under quarantine, with approximately 60 million people affected. Since that time the virus has been identified in virtually every country, and travel to and from China, most Europe, India, the United States and other countries, including Brazil, has been suspended or restricted by certain air carriers and foreign governments. On March 2, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a “pandemic”, which is disease that is widespread around the world with an impact on society. The term has been applied to only a few diseases in history, including the deadly flu of 1918, the H1N1 flu in 2009 and HIV/AIDS. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in extended shutdowns of certain businesses and other activities in many countries, including the United States, Europe and Brazil.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact worldwide economic activity and pose the risk that we or our employees, contractors, suppliers, customers and other business partners may be prevented from conducting certain business activities for an indefinite period of time, including due to shutdowns that may be requested or mandated by governmental authorities or otherwise elected by companies as a preventive measure. In addition, mandated government authority measures or other measures elected by companies as preventative measures may lead to our customers being unable to complete purchases or other activities. COVID-19 may continue to have an adverse effect on trading and our operations and, given the uncertainty around the extent and timing of the potential future spread or mitigation and around the imposition or relaxation of protective measures, we cannot reasonably estimate the impact to our future results of operations, cash flows or financial condition.
The nature of our business is complex and, to keep operating, most of our work cannot be performed remotely. Our focus is on protecting the health of our employees: We encourage them to take two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to reduce the risk of spreading the virus at our operations, since operational continuity is key to people’s jobs, to local communities and to the economies of the countries and regions where we operate. Employees who must go to Gerdau’s units follow the standard mandatory hygiene procedure.
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the Company production and delivery of steel, resulting in interruption of production in some steel mills as of the second half of March, 2020. In the Brazil Segment, the electric steel mills resumed production throughout April and the Blast Furnace 2 in Ouro Branco - MG resumed production in July. In the North America Segment, the plants continued to operate normally, with production levels gradually adjusted according to the reduction in demand observed in the industry. Civil construction continued with healthy demand levels. In the Special Steel Segment, in Brazil and in the USA, there were scheduled shutdowns at its different electrical mills and rolling mills, considering the level of existing inventories and the demand requested by each customer. In the South America Segment, operations continue to operate with production levels gradually adjusted to the demand observed in the industry.
The Company is following all COVID-19 pandemic prevention guidelines issued by the competent health agencies in the countries in which it operates. For this reason, the Company has adopted a series of measures to mitigate the risk of transmission in the workplace, such as using home office, creating crisis committees, canceling national and international trips and participation in external events. The Company daily monitors the evolution of the pandemic scenario and the impacts that this situation brings to the routines of employees, their families and, also, to the business.
The extent to which COVID-19 may adversely impact our business depends on future developments, which are highly uncertain and unpredictable, including new variants of the virus, information concerning the severity of the pandemic, the adoption rate of vaccines, and the effectiveness of actions globally to contain or mitigate the effects of the pandemic.
Demand for our steel products is directly linked to overall economic activity within those international markets in which we sell our products. A decline in the level of activity in either the domestic or the international markets within which we operate as a consequence of future waves of the COVID-19 pandemic and related measures to contain them could adversely affect to a greater extent than experienced in 2020 and impact both the demand and the price of our products and have a material adverse effect on us.
The deterioration of Brazilian and global economic conditions could, among other things:
further negatively impact global demand for steel, or further lower market prices for our products, which could result in a continued reduction of our sales, operating income and cash flows;
make it more difficult or costly for us to obtain financing for our operations or investments or to refinance our debt in the future;
impair the financial condition of some of our customers, suppliers or counterparties, thereby increasing customer bad debts or non-performance by suppliers or counterparties; and
decrease the value of certain of our investments.
Risks Relating to our Mining Operations
Estimates of Gerdau’s mineral resources are based on interpretations and assumptions and may differ substantially from the quantities that actually can be extracted.
Gerdau’s mineral resources refer to estimated quantities of iron ore and minerals. There are a number of uncertainties that are inherent to such estimates of resources, including many factors that are beyond our control, such as geological and technological factors. The engineering of reserves involves estimating mineral deposits that have yet to be measured accurately, and the accuracy of any reserve estimates is directly related to the quality of the data available, geological interpretations and judgments and engineering. Moreover, estimates from different engineers may vary. As a result, the volume of mineral resources available that will or may be extracted at commercially feasible rates cannot be guaranteed, which could adversely affect the operating results and financial condition of the Company.
Moreover, in order to determine whether a project should advance to its development stage, Gerdau relies on estimates of the mineralized material occurring on its properties. Since Gerdau may not have conducted a feasibility study demonstrating proven or probable reserves, estimates of mineralized material content are less accurate than if they had been made in accordance with the definition of proven and probable reserves recognized by the SEC. Furthermore, until iron ore is effectively mined and processed, any reserves and grades of mineralization must be considered mere estimates. Such estimates are inaccurate and based on geological interpretation and statistical deduction drawn from analyses of drillings and samples, which may not be reliable. We cannot guarantee that such estimates on mineralized material are accurate and that such mineralized material can be extracted or processed profitably. Therefore, any decision to advance to the development stage is inherently risky. We also cannot guarantee that any minerals recovered in small-scale testing can be replicated in large-scale testing under actual conditions or on a production scale. Any material changes in the estimates of mineralized material will affect the financial feasibility of making a property productive, as well as the return on capital of such property.
Gerdau does not have any proven or probable mineral reserves, and Gerdau’s decision to start industrial production to supply its steelmaking activities and sell the surplus is not based on studies demonstrating the economic recovery of any mineral reserves, and therefore is inherently risky. Any resources employed in exploration or development may not be recovered.
Gerdau has not established any proven or probable mineral reserve on any of its properties. All exploration activities are based on mineral resources classified as mineralized materials, since they do not comply with the SEC definitions of proven or probable reserves. Gerdau is conducting comprehensive exploration studies to determine, in accordance with SEC definitions, the quantity of mineralized material that could be transformed into proven or probable reserves. Therefore, part of the volume of mineralized materials may never make it to the development or production stage.
To demonstrate the existence of proven or probable reserves, it is necessary to carry out additional exploration activities to prove the existence of sufficient mineralized material, with satisfactory continuity, and to obtain a positive feasibility study demonstrating, with reasonable certainty, that the deposits can be extracted and produced profitably and legally. The absence of proven or probable reserves makes it more probable that the Company’s properties cease to be profitable and that the financial resources employed for exploration and development are never recovered, which would adversely affect the operating results and financial condition of the Company.
Drilling and production risks could adversely affect the mining process.
After the discovery of mineral deposits, it could take several years from the initial drilling phase to the feasibility of production, and during such period the economic feasibility of production could suffer changes. Substantial time and investments are necessary to:
create mineral reserves through drilling;
establish adequate mining and metallurgical processes to optimize the recovery of the metal contained in the ore;
obtain environmental and other types of licenses;
build mining and processing facilities as well as the necessary infrastructure for greenfield properties; and
obtain ore or extract minerals from the ore.
If a mining project proves to be economically unfeasible when Gerdau reaches the profit-earning stage, we could incur substantial losses and be forced to write off mineral assets. Furthermore, potential changes or complications involving metallurgical or technological processes during a project cycle could cause delays and generate higher-than-expected costs, rendering the project economically unfeasible and adversely affecting the financial condition and operating results of the Company.
The Company has one mining dam for the disposal of tailings, and any accident or defect that affects the structural integrity of any of its dams could affect its image, operating results, cash flows and financial condition.
Gerdau has one mining dam for the disposal of tailings in the state of Minas Gerais, the Alemães Dam, which has been in operation since 2011 and is regularly monitored. The data from the monitoring instruments are within the safety limits, with the dam classified as Class B (low risk) in accordance with the National Mining Dam Registry available on the website of the National Mining Agency (ANM). Gerdau adopts rigorous standards for engineering control and environmental supervision and conducts a half-yearly Geotechnical Stability Audit to ensure the stability of the dam. Gerdau has Mining Dam Emergency Action Plans that are filed at the regulatory agencies, as required by applicable law.
The Company also has other structures that are treated as Mining Dams by the ANM: UTM 2 Bays, North Dike of Tailing Pile 01, and North and South Bays of Tailings Pile A. These are structures that receive stormwater runoff and/or effluents from drainage at the Ore Treatment Units to enable the sedimentation of solid waste before the water is returned to the environment.
They also undergo external audits that attest to their geotechnical stability, as well as regular inspections and monitoring.
An accident involving any of these dams could have serious adverse consequences, including:
Temporary/permanent shutdown of mining activities and consequently the need to buy iron ore to supply mills;
High expenditures on contingencies and on recovering the regions and people affected;
High investments to resume operations;
Payment of fines and damages;
Potential environmental impacts.
Any of these consequences could have a material adverse impact on the Company’s operating results, cash flow and financial condition.
Any downgrade in the Company’s credit ratings could adversely affect the availability of new financing and increase its cost of capital.
In 2007, the international rating agencies, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s, classified the Company’s credit risk as “investment grade”, enabling the Company to access more attractive borrowing rates. During reviews in 2021, the Company maintained its investment grade with S&P and Fitch, respectively, with stable outlook and was upgraded to Baa3 from Ba1 rating with Moody’s with stable outlook, reflecting the Company’s history of conservative capital allocation, combined with the expectation of strong operating performance throughout the year.
The loss of any one or more of Gerdau’s investment grade ratings could increase its cost of capital, impair its ability to obtain capital and adversely affect its financial condition and results of operations.
The Company’s level of indebtedness could adversely affect its ability to raise additional capital to fund operations, limit the ability to react to changes in the economy or the industry and prevent it from meeting its obligations under its debt agreements.
The Company’s degree of leverage, together with a resulting change in rating by the credit rating agencies, could have important consequences, including the following:
It may limit the ability to obtain additional financing for working capital, additions to fixed assets, product development, debt service requirements, acquisitions and general corporate or other purposes;
It may limit the ability to declare dividends on its shares;
A portion of the cash flows from operations must be dedicated to the payment of interest on existing indebtedness and is not available for other purposes, including operations, additions to fixed assets and future business opportunities;
It may limit the ability to adjust to changing market conditions and place the Company at a competitive disadvantage compared to its competitors that have less debt;
The Company may be vulnerable in a downturn in general economic conditions; and
The Company may be required to adjust the level of funds available for additions to fixed assets.
As a result, the Company’s financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.
Variations in the foreign exchange rates between the U.S. dollar and the currencies of countries in which the Company operates may increase the cost of servicing its debt denominated in foreign currency and adversely affect its overall financial performance.
The Company’s results of operations are affected by fluctuations in the foreign exchange rates between the Brazilian real, the currency in which the Company prepares its financial statements, and the currencies of the countries in which it operates.
For example, the North America Business Segment reports its results in U.S. dollars. Therefore, fluctuations in the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Brazilian real could affect its results of operations. The same occurs with all other businesses located outside Brazil with respect to the exchange rate between the local currency of the respective subsidiary and the Brazilian real.
Export revenue and margins are also affected by fluctuations in the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar and other local currencies of the countries where the Company produces in relation to the Brazilian real. The Company’s production costs are denominated in local currency, but its export sales are generally denominated in U.S. dollars. Revenues generated by exports denominated in U.S. dollars are reduced when they are translated into Brazilian real in periods during which the Brazilian currency appreciates in relation to the U.S. dollar.
The Brazilian real depreciated against the U.S. dollar by 4.0% in 2019, 28.9% in 2020 and 7.4% in 2021. To date in 2022, the real has appreciated by 7.9% by the end of February, 2022.
The Company held debt denominated in foreign currency, mainly U.S. dollars, in an aggregate amount of R$ 11.1 billion at December 31, 2021, representing 79% of its consolidated gross debt (loans, financings, and debentures). Significant further depreciation in the Brazilian real in relation to the U.S. dollar or other currencies could reduce the Company’s ability to service its obligations denominated in foreign currencies, particularly since a significant part of its net sales revenue is denominated in Brazilian reais. As a result, the Company’s financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.
Exchange rate instability also may adversely affect the amount of dividends we can distribute to our shareholders, including the holders of our ADSs and the market price of our shares and ADSs.
Unfavorable outcomes in judicial, administrative and regulatory litigation may negatively affect our results of operations, cash flows and financial condition.
We are involved in several tax, civil and labor disputes involving significant monetary claims.
The principal litigations are described more fully in “Legal Proceedings.” and in Note 19 to the Consolidated Financial Statements appearing elsewhere in this Annual Report. Among the material matters for which no provision has been established because they are considered as possible contingent liabilities (possibility of any outflow in settlement is possible):
The Company and its subsidiaries Gerdau Aços Longos S.A. and Gerdau Açominas S.A. have lawsuits related to the ICMS (state VAT) which are mostly related to credit rights and rate differences, representing claims that totaled R$ 498,889.
The Company and certain of its subsidiaries in Brazil are parties to claims related to: (i) Imposto sobre Produtos Industrializados - IPI, substantially related to IPI credit on inputs, whose demands total the updated amount of R$ 481,501; (ii) PIS and COFINS, substantially related to disallowance of credits on inputs totaling R$ 1,513,111, (iii) social security contributions in the total of R$ 135,625 and (iv) other taxes, the updated total amount of which is currently R$ 671,593.
The Company and its subsidiary Gerdau Aços Longos SA are parties to administrative proceedings related to Withholding Income Tax, levied on interest remitted abroad, linked to export financing formalized through “Prepayment of Exports Agreements “(PPE) or” Advance Export Receipt “(RAE), in the updated amount of R$ 1,362,842.
The Company is party to administrative proceedings related to goodwill amortization pursuant to articles 7 and 8 of Law 9,532/97, from the basis of calculation of Corporate Income Tax (IRPJ) and Social Contribution on net income (CSLL), resulting from a corporate restructuring started in 2010. The updated total amount of the assessments is R$ 471,829.
Gerdau S.A. (as successor of Gerdau Aços Especiais S.A.) and its subsidiary Gerdau Internacional Empreendimentos Ltda. are parties to administrative and judicial proceedings relating to IRPJ — Corporate Income Tax and CSLL — Social Contribution Tax, in the current amount of R$ 1,274,156.
Gerdau S.A. (as successor of Gerdau Aços Especiais S.A.) and its subsidiaries Gerdau Aços Longos S.A. and Gerdau Açominas S.A. are parties to administrative and judicial proceedings relating to the disallowance of goodwill amortization generated in accordance with Article 7 and 8 of Law 9,532/97 — as a result of a corporate restructuring carried out in 2004/2005 — from the tax base of the Corporate Income tax - IRPJ and Social Contribution on Net Income - CSLL. The total updated amount of the proceedings is R$ 8,221,463.
Brazilian federal authorities and the judiciary branch are investigating certain issues relating to CARF proceedings, as well as specific political contributions made by the Company, with the purpose of determining whether the Company engaged in any illegal conduct. The Company believes it is not possible at this time to predict the term or outcome of the proceedings in Brazil, and currently there is not enough information to determine whether a provision for losses is required or any additional disclosures.
The failure to be paid by our clients or not receiving amounts invested with financial institutions could adversely affect the Company’s financial condition.
Gerdau may suffer losses from the default of our clients. Gerdau has a broad base of active clients and, in the case of default of a group of clients, Gerdau may suffer an adverse effect on its business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows.
This risk arises from the possibility of the Company not receiving amounts arising from sales to customers or investments made with financial institutions, which could also have an adverse effect on the business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows of Gerdau.
Restrictive measures on trade in steel products may affect the Company’s business by increasing the price of its products or reducing its ability to export.
Gerdau is a steel producer that supplies both the domestic market in Brazil and several international markets. The Company’s exports face competition from other steel producers, as well as restrictions imposed by importing countries in the form of quotas, ad valorem taxes, tariffs or increases in import duties, any of which could increase the costs of products and make them less competitive or prevent Gerdau from selling in these markets. There are no assurances that importing countries will not impose quotas, ad valorem taxes, tariffs or increase import duties, which could adversely affect the Company’s financial condition and results of operations.
Costs related to compliance with environmental regulations could increase if requirements become stricter, which could have a negative effect on the Company’s results of operations.
The Company’s industrial units and other activities must comply with a series of federal, state and municipal laws and regulations regarding the environment and the operation of plants in the countries in which they operate. These regulations include procedures relating to control of air emissions, disposal of liquid effluents and the handling, processing, storage, disposal and reuse of solid waste, hazardous or not, as well as other controls necessary for a steel company.
Non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations could result in administrative or criminal sanctions and closure orders, in addition to the obligation of repairing damage caused to third parties and the environment, such as clean-up of contamination. If current and future laws become stricter, spending on fixed assets and costs to comply with legislation could increase and negatively affect the Company’s financial condition. Moreover, future acquisitions could subject the Company to additional spending and costs in order to comply with environmental legislation. As a result, the Company’s financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.
Laws and regulations to reduce greenhouse gases and other atmospheric emissions could be enacted in the near future, with significant, adverse effects on the results of the Company’s operations, cash flows and financial condition.
One of the possible effects of the expansion of greenhouse gas reduction requirements is an increase in costs, mainly resulting from the demand for renewable energy and the implementation of new technologies in the productive chain. On the other hand, demand is expected to grow constantly for recyclable materials such as steel, which, being a product that could be recycled numerous times without losing its properties, results in lower emissions during the lifecycle of the product.
The Company expects operations overseas to be affected by future federal, state and municipal laws related to climate change, seeking to deal with the question of greenhouse gas (GHG) and other atmospheric emissions. Thus, one of the possible effects of this increase in legal requirements could be an increase in energy costs. As a result, the Company’s financial condition and results of operations may be adversely affected.
Our operations expose us to risks and challenges associated with conducting business in compliance with applicable anti-bribery anti-corruption and antitrust laws and regulations.
We have operations in Brazil and other countries in South America and North America. We face several risks and challenges inherent in conducting business internationally, where we are subject to a wide range of laws and regulations such as the Brazilian Anti-Corruption Law (Law 12,846/2013), Antitrust Law (Law 12,529/2011), the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, and similar anti-bribery, anti-corruption and antitrust laws in other jurisdictions. In recent years there has been an increased focus on corruption in Brazil and also the investigation and enforcement activities of the United States under the FCPA and by other governments under similar laws and regulations. These laws generally prohibit corrupt payments to governmental officials and certain payments, gifts or remunerations to or from clients and suppliers.
Violations of these laws and regulations could result in fines, criminal penalties and/or other sanctions against us, our officers or our employees, requirements to impose more stringent compliance programs, and prohibitions on the conduct of our business and our ability to participate in public biddings for contracts. We may incur expenses and recognize provisions and other charges in respect of such matters. In addition, the increased attention focused upon liability issues as a result of investigations, lawsuits and regulatory proceedings could harm our brand or otherwise impact the growth of our business. The retention and renewal of many of our contracts depends on creating a sense of trust with our customers and any violation of these laws and regulations may irreparably erode that trust and may lead to termination of such relationships and have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. If any of these risks materialize, our reputation, strategy, international expansion efforts and our ability to attract and retain employees could be negatively impacted, and, consequently our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected.
Brazilian federal authorities and the judiciary branch are investigating certain issues relating to Administrative Board of Tax Appeals (CARF) proceedings, as well as specific political contributions made by the Company, with the purpose of determining whether the Company engaged in any illegal conduct. The Company previously disclosed that, in addition to its interactions with Brazilian authorities, the Company was providing information requested by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”). The Company has since been informed by the SEC’s staff that it has closed its inquiry and therefore is not seeking any further information from the Company regarding these matters. The Company believes it is not possible at this moment to predict the term or outcome of the proceedings in Brazil, and that currently there is not enough information to determine whether a provision for losses is required or any additional disclosures.
Neither the Company, its controlling shareholders, board members and executive officers are part of any ongoing criminal publicly disclosed investigations, procedures or legal actions associated to the investigations made by the Brazilian federal authorities and judiciary branch related to CARF proceedings and political contributions made by the Company.
Our governance and compliance processes may fail to prevent regulatory penalties and reputational harm.
We operate in a global environment, and our activities extend over multiple jurisdictions and complex regulatory frameworks with increased enforcement activities worldwide. Our governance and compliance processes, which include the review of internal control over financial reporting, may not prevent future breaches of legal, accounting or governance standards. We may be subject to breaches of our Code of Ethics and Conduct, anti-corruption policies and business conduct protocols and to instances of fraudulent behavior, corrupt practices and dishonesty by our employees, contractors or other agents. Our failure to comply with applicable laws and other standards could subject us to fines, loss of operating licenses and reputational harm.
Risks Relating to Brazil
Any further downgrading of Brazil’s credit rating could adversely affect the price of our shares.
We can be adversely affected by investors’ perceptions of risks related to Brazil’s sovereign debt credit rating. Rating agencies regularly evaluate Brazil and its sovereign ratings, which are based on a number of factors including macroeconomic trends, fiscal and budgetary conditions, indebtedness metrics and the perspective of changes in any of these factors.
Brazil’s sovereign credit rating is currently rated below investment grade by the three main credit rating agencies. Consequently, the prices of securities issued by Brazilian companies have been negatively affected. A prolongation or worsening of the current Brazilian recession and continued political uncertainty, among other factors, could lead to further ratings downgrades. Any further downgrade of Brazil’s sovereign credit ratings could heighten investors’ perception of risk and, as a result, adversely affect the price of our shares.
Brazil continues to experience political instability, which may adversely affect the Company.
Brazil’s political environment has historically influenced, and continues to influence, the performance of the country’s economy. Political crises have affected and continue to affect the confidence of investors and the general public, which have historically resulted in economic deceleration and heightened volatility in the securities issued by Brazilian companies.
In addition, the Brazilian economy remains subject to government policies, which may affect our operations and financial performance. Governmental policies and actions, if unsuccessful or poorly implemented, may affect our operations and financial performance. Uncertainty regarding the implementation by the new administration of promised transformational changes in monetary, fiscal and pension policies, as well as the enactment of corresponding legislation, could contribute to economic instability.
Inflation and government actions to combat inflation may contribute significantly to economic uncertainty in Brazil and could adversely affect the Company’s business.
If Brazil experiences high levels of inflation once again, the country’s ra