SCHN 2017 Annual Report

SCHNITZER STEEL INDUSTRIES, INC. 17 / Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. Form 10-K 2017 Impairment of long-lived assets and cost and equity method investments may adversely affect our operating results Our long-lived asset groups are subject to an impairment assessment when certain triggering events or circumstances indicate that their carrying value may be impaired. If the carrying value exceeds our estimate of future undiscounted cash flows of the operations related to the asset group, an impairment is recorded for the difference between the carrying amount and the fair value of the asset group. The results of these tests for potential impairment may be adversely affected by unfavorable market conditions, our financial performance trends, or an increase in interest rates, among other factors. If as a result of the impairment test we determine that the fair value of any of our long-lived asset groups is less than its carrying amount, we may incur an impairment charge that could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. We recorded impairment charges on long-lived tangible and intangible assets associated with certain regional metals recycling operations and used auto parts store locations in the amount of $8 million and $44 million during fiscal 2016 and 2015, respectively. With respect to our investments in unconsolidated entities accounted for under the cost and equity methods, a loss in value of an investment that is other than a temporary decline is recognized. Once we determine that an other-than-temporary impairment exists, we may incur an impairment charge that could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations. We recorded impairment charges of $1 million and $2 million during fiscal 2017 and 2016, respectively, related to investments in joint ventures accounted for under the equity method. See Note 2 - Summary of Significant Accounting Policies in the Notes to the Consolidated Financial Statements in Part II, Item 8 of this report for further detail on long-lived asset and joint venture investment impairment charges. Inability to sustain the benefits from productivity and restructuring initiatives may adversely impact our operating results We have undertaken a number of productivity improvement and restructuring initiatives designed to reduce operating expenses and improve profitability and to achieve further integration and synergistic cost efficiencies in our operating platform. These initiatives included idling underutilized assets and closing facilities to more closely align our business to market conditions, implementing productivity initiatives to increase production efficiency and material recovery, and further reducing our annual operating expenses through headcount reductions, reducing organizational layers, consolidating shared service functions, savings from procurement activities, streamlining of administrative and supporting services functions, and other non-headcount measures. We incurred restructuring charges and other exit-related activities in fiscal 2017, 2016 and 2015 as a result of these initiatives. Failure to sustain the expected cost reductions and other benefits related to these productivity and restructuring initiatives could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and cash flows. Acquisitions and integration of acquired businesses may result in operating difficulties and other unintended consequences We may make acquisitions of complementary businesses to enable us to enhance our customer base and grow our revenues. Execution of any past or potential future acquisition involves a number of risks, including: • Difficulty integrating the acquired businesses’ personnel and operations; • Potential loss of key employees or customers of the acquired business; • Difficulties in realizing anticipated cost savings, efficiencies and synergies; • Unexpected costs; • Inaccurate assessment of or undisclosed liabilities; • Inability to maintain uniform standards, controls and procedures; and • Difficulty in managing growth. If we do not successfully execute on acquisitions and the acquired businesses do not perform as projected, our financial condition and results of operations could be materially adversely affected. Changing economic conditions may result in customers not fulfilling their contractual obligations We enter into export ferrous sales contracts preceded by negotiations that include fixing price, quantity, shipping terms and other contractual terms. Upon finalization of these terms and satisfactory completion of other contractual contingencies, the customer typically opens a letter of credit to satisfy its payment obligation under the contract prior to our shipment of the cargo. Although not considered normal course of business, in times of changing economic conditions, including during periods of sharply falling scrap metal prices such as those experienced in fiscal 2015 and the first half of fiscal 2016, there is an increased risk that customers may not be willing or able to fulfill their contractual obligations or open letters of credit. For example, in fiscal 2015, the resale or modification of the terms, each at significantly lower prices, of certain previously contracted bulk shipments had a $7 million negative impact on our operating results. As of August 31, 2017 and 2016, 33% and 34%, respectively, of our trade accounts receivable balance were covered by letters of credit.