As a global steel and mining group, EVRAZ is exposed to a range of risks and inherent uncertainties that are explained more fully in this section. The Group’s principal risks and its approach to managing them, together with the latest financial forecasts and five-year strategic plan, have formed the basis of this long-term viability assessment. EVRAZ believes that a five-year period is optimal for the viability analysis, as it corresponds to the period used in the Group’s strategic planning and therefore reflects the information available to management regarding the future performance of the business. Visibility of performance and risks beyond the strategic planning cycle is limited, and scenarios beyond this five-year period have not been analysed for the purposes of the viability statement. The Group modelled the impact of expected carbon taxes upon the business but other emerging climate change risks are not anticipated to pose a material threat to the business over the period of the viability assessment and were not modelled at this time.
In accordance with provision 31 of the UK Corporate Governance Code 2018, the Board has assessed the Group’s prospects over the period of the current strategic plan to December 2026 and considers it possible to form a reasonable expectation of the Group’s viability over this five-year period. The assessment included consideration of the stress-testing detailed below, with particular attention paid to the forecast cash position and compliance with financial maintenance covenants in each scenario, as well as the mitigation plan developed by the management.
The assessment was underpinned by scenarios that encompass a wide spectrum of potential events. These scenarios are designed to explore the Group’s resilience to the significant risks set out in the section and combinations of correlated risks. Some risks are outside the Group’s control and the potential implications are difficult to predict in the current environment and considered remote.
The key scenarios tested can be summarised as:
- Base scenario:
- The key assumptions as disclosed in to the financial statements under Impairment of assets in the section.
- The scenario reflects the effect of the highly probable demerger of the coal business () and the effect of the new excise tax on liquid steel and higher taxes on mineral extraction imposed by the government of the Russian Federation from 1 January 2022 ().
- Future pricing of steel and raw materials is within the range of the external analyst forecasts set out in .
- Annual steel volumes are assumed to vary from −1.6% to 11.9%, compared with the 2021 level over the five-year period to December 2026.
- Global economic decline:
- Increased conversion costs in the CIS.
- Increased CAPEX.
- Potential changes in HSE requirements and standards.
- Appreciation of local operating currencies.
- Cybersecurity failure resulting in production delays or shutdowns at a major operation.
- Introduction of new tariffs and duties
- Business interruption, leading to lost production.
- Introduction of carbon taxes.
- Combinations of correlated risks/scenarios.
In order to further test the resilience of the viability assessment to potential uncertainties, particularly with respect to escalating international tensions relating to Ukraine and heightened risk of the economic sanctions, management also performed a further scenario to reflect a severe downside sensitivity, reflecting a material and sustained interruption to the Group’s business. This scenario assumes a material reduction in EBITDA throughout the viability assessment period, reducing Russian export sales outside the CIS to nil combined with a significant further reduction in EBITDA as a result of other possible factors, including further international sanctions. This scenario reflects a reduction in capital expenditure to $500m per annum. This also assumes the Group raises additional financing in 2023 followed by more significant financing in 2024. The Directors have also considered additional mitigating actions that would be available were such a scenario to occur including further reductions in costs, capital expenditure and the deferral of dividends.
The scenarios are designed to be severe but plausible. They take full account of the potential actions available to mitigate the occurrence and impact of the risk, and the likely effectiveness of such action. The process makes certain assumptions about the normal level of capital recycling likely to occur and considers whether additional financing facilities will be required and available in each scenario. EVRAZ considers this assessment of its prospects based on stress-testing to be reasonable, given the risks and inherent uncertainties facing the business.
The directors confirm that their assessment of the principal risks facing the Group is robust. Based on this robust assessment and the stress-testing of the Group’s prospects across several risk-related scenarios the directors have a reasonable expectation that EVRAZ will be able to continue in operation and meet its liabilities as they fall due over the five-year period to December 2026.
In making this statement, the directors have made a key assumption that funding or refinancing, by way of capital markets, bank debt and asset financing, continues to be available.