SCHN 2017 Annual Report

SCHNITZER STEEL INDUSTRIES, INC. 19 / Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. Form 10-K 2017 Failure to realize expected benefits from investments in processing and manufacturing technology may impact our operating results and cash flows We make significant investments in processing and manufacturing technology improvements aimed at increasing the efficiency and capabilities of our businesses and to maximize our economies of scale. Failure to realize the anticipated benefits and generate adequate returns on such capital improvement projects may have a material adverse effect on our results of operations and cash flows. Reliance on third party shipping companies may restrict our ability to ship our products We generally rely on third parties to handle and transport raw materials to our production facilities and products to customers. Despite our practice of utilizing a diversified group of suppliers of transportation, factors beyond our control, including changes in fuel prices, political events, governmental regulation of transportation, changes in market rates, carrier availability, carrier bankruptcy, shipping industry consolidation and disruptions in transportation infrastructure, may adversely impact our ability to ship our products. These impacts could include delays or other disruptions in shipments in transit or third party shipping companies increasing their charges for transportation services or otherwise reducing or eliminating the availability of their vehicles or ships. As a result, we may not be able to transport our products in a timely and cost-effective manner, which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations and may harm our reputation. Equipment upgrades, equipment failures and facility damage may lead to production curtailments or shutdowns Our recycling and manufacturing processes depend on critical pieces of equipment, including shredders, nonferrous sorting technology, furnaces and a rolling mill, which may be out of service occasionally for scheduled upgrades or maintenance or as a result of unanticipated failures. Our facilities are subject to equipment failures and the risk of catastrophic loss due to unanticipated events such as fires, earthquakes, accidents or violent weather conditions. For instance, our metals recycling operations in Puerto Rico were briefly interrupted in September 2017 as a result of Hurricane Maria, although the damages to and losses incurred by the operations were not material. We have insurance to cover certain of the risks associated with equipment damage and resulting business interruption, but there are certain events that would not be covered by insurance and there can be no assurance that insurance will continue to be available on acceptable terms. Interruptions in our processing and production capabilities and shutdowns resulting from unanticipated events could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Product liability claims may adversely impact our operating results We could inadvertently acquire radioactive scrapmetal that could potentially be included inmixed scrapmetal shipped to consumers worldwide. Although we have invested in radiation detection equipment in the majority of our locations, including the facilities from which we ship directly to customers, failure to detect radioactive scrap metal remains a possibility. Even though we maintain insurance to address the risk of this failure in detection, there can be no assurance that the insurance coverage would be adequate or will continue to be available on acceptable terms. In addition, if we fail to meet contractual requirements for a product, we may be subject to product warranty costs and claims. These costs and claims could both have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations and harm our reputation. We are subject to legal proceedings and legal compliance risks that may adversely impact our financial condition, results of operations and liquidity We spend substantial resources ensuring that we comply with domestic and foreign regulations, contractual obligations and other legal standards. Notwithstanding this, we are subject to a variety of legal proceedings and compliance risks in respect of various matters, including regulatory, safety, environmental, employment, transportation, intellectual property, contractual, import/export, international trade and governmental matters that arise in the course of our business and in our industry. For example, legal proceedings can include those arising from accidents involving Company-owned vehicles, including Company tractor trailers. In some instances, such accidents and the related litigation involve accidents that have resulted in third party fatalities. A negative outcome in an unusual or significant legal proceeding or compliance investigation in excess of insurance recoveries could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations. For information regarding our current significant legal proceedings, see “Legal Proceedings” in Part I, Item 3 of this report.