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The following primary risk factors to which the Company and its Group are subject may exert a significant influence on investor decisions. Issues that may not necessarily be relevant as risk factors are also presented below in keeping with Company's vigorous efforts to disclose information to its investors.
The accident that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in March 2011 as a result of the Tohoku-Chihou-Taiheiyou-Oki Earthquake and subsequent tsunami has caused widespread anxiety with regard to such issues as the dispersal of radioactive substances and disruption in the stable supply of electricity. Also, the accident led to a significant deterioration in the Company and its Group's management conditions.
To address this adversity, the Company formulated the Revised Comprehensive Special Business Plan in tandem with the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation (hereinafter referred to as the "NDF") and obtained the approval of said plan from the government in charge in May 2017. In line with this plan, the Company has been rallying all its strengths to promote various management reform initiatives while placing the utmost priority on facilitating appropriate payment of compensation and steady decommissioning efforts, with the cooperation of its shareholders, investors and other stakeholders.
In addition, the Company has adopted a Holding Company System to fulfill the demands of "Responsibility" and "Competitiveness." Committed to fulfilling its responsibilities regarding compensation, the revitalization of Fukushima and decommissioning, the Company is striving to prevail over harsh market competition and enhance the corporate value of the entire Group. Specifically, the three core operating companies, namely, TEPCO Fuel & Power, Incorporated (fuel and thermal power generation), TEPCO Power Grid, Incorporated (general power transmission and distribution) and TEPCO Energy Partner, Incorporated (electricity retail) are engaging in autonomous business management to maximize their competitiveness, while the stockholding company Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Incorporated (the Company), is ensuring the optimal allocation of management resources based on solid corporate governance.
However, the operating environment surrounding the Company and its Group remains harsh and the Company's business operations may be significantly affected if the following risks materialize.
The forward-looking statements included in the following represent estimates as of the moment.
(1) Accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station
Putting the utmost emphasis on securing the safety of nuclear power generation, the Company is striving to push forward with decommissioning and other work at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in accordance with the Mid-and-long-Term Roadmap towards the Decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power (hereinafter the "Mid-and-long-Term Roadmap") and in cooperation with the government and relevant institutions. However, the execution of such steps entails a number of challenges. Among these challenges are those associated with contaminated water, including disposing of and storing such water as well as the implementation of measures aimed at preventing underground water from entering the power station's structures. At the same time, the removal of nuclear debris involves technical difficulties that the Company has never before encountered. Because of these challenges, the implementation of these steps may not progress in accordance with the Mid-and-long-Term Roadmap.
This could, in turn, impact the Group's business operations and performance as well as financial condition. Furthermore, in view of the deterioration in the Group's fund procurement capability due to the lowering of its ratings following the nuclear accident, the Group's business performance, financial condition and operations may be affected.
In addition, in view of the interim summary by the "Subcommittee for the Accomplishment of the Electricity Systems Reform" established by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, national measures concerning compensation and decommissioning expenses due to the nuclear accident are being promoted. However, if establishment/revisions of the laws and regulations required for implementing such measures do not proceed as planned, it may have an impact on the Company and its Group's financial standing and business operation.
(2) Stable Supply of Electric Power
Due to the Tohoku-Chihou-Taiheiyou-Oki Earthquake, the operations of all generators at the Fukushima Daini and Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Stations have been suspended. This, in turn, caused the Company and its Group's electricity supply capability to deteriorate. In response, the Company is implementing measures aimed at securing stability on both the electricity supply and demand sides. However, natural disasters, accidents at facilities, sabotage, including terrorist acts, and problems in obtaining fuel are among the contingencies that could cause large-scale, extended power outages, which could render the Company unable to provide a stable supply of electric power. Such cases could negatively affect the Company and its Group's business performance and financial condition, public trust and operations.
(3) Nuclear Power Generation and Nuclear Fuel Cycle
Based on the outcome of the nuclear accident at Fukushima, revisions are being made to Japan's national nuclear policy, while the Nuclear Regulation Authority has resolved to tighten safety regulations. The operations of the Company, as stockholding company of the Group, and its affiliates involving nuclear power generation and the nuclear fuel cycle might be affected by such revisions. These factors may, in turn, impact the Group's business performance and financial condition.
As for nuclear power plants, the Company is striving to further reinforce safety countermeasures while promoting corporate reforms, in line with its strong determination to prevent severe accidents from occurring no matter what the precipitating incident may be. In addition, the outlook remains uncertain about how long it will be before the resumption of operations at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station. Therefore, the Company and its Group's business performance and financial condition might be affected by the increase in thermal fuel costs and the generation of unnecessary nuclear fuel assets if the abovementioned circumstances surrounding nuclear power generation remain the same.
Moreover, the nuclear power generation and nuclear fuel cycle themselves pose various risks, such as those associated with reprocessing irradiated nuclear fuel, disposing of radioactive waste and decommissioning nuclear power plants and other facilities, all of which require substantial capital investment and long periods of operation. Initiatives such as the introduction of a national system for handling back-end business have reduced these risks, but issues such as revisions of this system, an increase in provisions to reserves for costs not included in this system, operating conditions at the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant and other facilities, and procedures for the decommissioning of the Rokkasho Uranium Enrichment Plant could affect the Company and its Group's business performance and financial condition.
(4) Business and Environmental Regulations
The possible regulatory environment changes closely related to the Company and its Group, such as changes in the structure of electric power business resulting from the revisions of national policy on energy and a tightening of regulations on global warming, could affect the Company and its Group's business performance and financial condition. In addition, such issues as a decrease in the quality of electric power due to a substantial increase in renewable energy resulting from stricter environmental regulations could disrupt the smooth execution of Group operations.
(5) Electricity Sales Volume
The volume of sales in the electric power business directly reflects economic and industrial activities and is subject to the influence of the economic environment. Moreover, demand for air conditioning and heating is subject to the influence of the weather, particularly in the summer and the winter. In addition, such factors as intensifying competition due to the full liberalization of the electricity retail market that took effect in April 2016, the popularization of energy conservation measures and the advancement of energy-saving technologies may impact the sales of electricity. These issues could affect the Company and its Group's business performance and financial condition.
(6) Customer Service
The Company and its Group are working to enhance customer service. However, inappropriate responses to customers and other issues could affect such matters as customer satisfaction and public trust in the Company and its Group, which could affect its business performance and financial condition as well as the smooth execution of operations.
(7) Financial Markets Conditions
The Company and its Group hold domestic and foreign stock and bonds in its pension plan assets and other portfolios. Changes in the value of these holdings due to issues that may include conditions in stock and bond markets could affect the Company and its Group's business performance and financial condition.
Moreover, issues including future interest rate movements affect the Company and its Group's interest payments.
(8) Fossil Fuel Prices
The prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG), crude oil, coal and other fuels for thermal power generation change according to factors that include conditions in international fuel markets and foreign exchange market movements, which could affect the Company and its Group's business performance and financial condition. However, changes in fuel prices and foreign exchange markets are reflected in electricity rates through the fuel cost adjustment system, which reduces the impact on performance from fuel price fluctuations within a defined range.
(9) Securing Safety, Quality Control and Preventing Environmental Pollution
The Company and its Group work to secure safety, control quality and prevent environmental pollution while focusing on maintaining highly transparent and reliable information disclosure. However, the smooth execution of operations could be affected if the public's trust in the Group is violated by such events as 1) the occurrence of an accident, fatality or large-scale emission of pollutants into the environment as the result of such causes as operational error or breach of laws or internal regulations or 2) a public relations failure on the part of the Group resulting in such an incident as inappropriate information disclosure.
(10) Corporate Ethics and Compliance
The Company and its Group works to ensure compliance with corporate ethics during the execution of operations. However, the violation of laws and regulations or other acts contrary to the Company and its Group's corporate ethics could damage public trust in the Company and its Group and affect the smooth execution of Group operations.
(11) Information Management
The Company and its Group maintains information important to its operations, including a large volume of customer information. The Group strictly administers information through means that include internal regulations and employee training. However, leaks of information could damage public trust in the Company and its Group and affect the smooth execution of Group operations.
(12) Businesses Other than Electric Power
The Company and its Group operates businesses other than electric power, including businesses overseas. Various issues, including changes in the Group's management condition, increasing competition with other participants in these businesses, stricter regulations, changes in economic conditions, including foreign exchange rates and international fuel markets, political uncertainty and natural disasters, could cause actual results to differ from forecasts at the time of investment and may affect the Company and its Group's business performance and financial condition.
(13) Acquisition of TEPCO Share by the NDF
On July 31, 2012, TEPCO issued Preferred Stocks (Class A Preferred Stocks and Class B Preferred Stocks; collectively, the "Preferred Stocks") by third-party allotment, with the NDF as allottee.
Class A Preferred Stocks entail voting rights at the General Meeting of Shareholders as well as put options with Class B Preferred Stocks and Common Shares as consideration. Class B Preferred Stocks also entail put options with Class A Preferred Stocks and Common Shares as consideration, although holders are not granted voting rights unless otherwise provided for in laws and regulations.
Due to the aforementioned acquisition of stocks, the NDF holds a majority of the total voting rights of the Company. Consequently, the NDF's exercise of its voting rights at the shareholder's meeting, etc., might affect the Company's business operations going forward.
In addition, further dilution of the Company's existing shares is possible if 1) put options on Class B Preferred Stocks are executed by the NDF to acquire Class A Preferred Stocks and/or 2) put options on the Preferred Stocks are executed by the NDF to acquire Common Shares.
In particular, should the NDF execute the latter put options as stated in 2) above, such dilutions might result in a decline in the share price of the Company, the stockholding company of the Group. The share price could also be affected if the NDF were to sell Common Shares on the secondary market. Depending on the circumstances of the stock market at the time of such sale, the impact of the sale on the Company share price might be significant.
(14) Management Reform Initiatives Based on the Revised Comprehensive Special Business Plan
Following the Revised Comprehensive Special Business Plan, the Company and its Group are seeking to fulfill their responsibilities to Fukushima by implementing non-consecutive management reforms in order to secure funds for compensation and decommissioning and improve the corporate value. However, the business performance, financial condition, and operations may be affected by delays in the management reforms, such as productivity reform, reorganization/merging through establishment of a joint venture, and other measures described in the Revised Comprehensive Special Business Plan.