SCHN 2017 Annual Report

SCHNITZER STEEL INDUSTRIES, INC. 20 / Schnitzer Steel Industries, Inc. Form 10-K 2017 Climate change may adversely impact our facilities and our ongoing operations The potential physical impacts of climate change on our operations are highly uncertain and depend upon the unique geographic and environmental factors present, for example rising sea levels at our deep water port facilities, changing storm patterns and intensities, and changing temperature levels. As many of our recycling facilities are located near deep water ports, rising sea levels may disrupt our ability to receive scrap metal, process the scrap metal through our mega-shredders and ship products to our customers. Periods of extended adverse weather conditions may inhibit the supply of scrap metal to our recycling facilities, which could have an adverse effect on our sales or cause us to fail to meet our sales commitments. In addition, sustained periods of increased temperature levels in the summer in areas where our auto store operations are located could result in reduced customer traffic, thus resulting in lower admissions and parts sales. We may not realize our deferred tax assets in the future The assessment of recoverability of our deferred tax assets is based on an evaluation of existing positive and negative evidence as to whether it is more likely than not that they will be realized. If negative evidence outweighs positive evidence, a valuation allowance is required. Impairment of deferred tax assets may result from significant negative industry or economic trends, a decrease in earnings performance and projections of future taxable income, adverse changes in laws or regulations and a variety of other factors. Impairment of deferred tax assets could have a material adverse impact on our results of operations and financial condition and could result in not realizing the deferred tax assets. In recent years, we have recorded significant valuation allowances against our deferred tax assets, and our low annual effective tax rates in the fiscal years presented in this report are primarily the result of our full valuation allowance position. Deferred tax assets generated in future periods may require further valuation allowances if it is not more likely than not that the deferred tax assets will be realized. Tax increases and changes in tax rules may adversely affect our financial results As a company conducting business on a global basis with physical operations throughout North America, we are exposed, both directly and indirectly, to the effects of changes in U.S., state, local and foreign tax rules. Taxes for financial reporting purposes and cash tax liabilities in the future may be adversely affected by changes in such tax rules. In many cases, such changes put us at a competitive disadvantage compared to some of our major competitors, to the extent we are unable to pass the tax costs through to our customers. One or more cybersecurity incidents may adversely impact our financial condition, results of operations and reputation We face global cybersecurity risks and threats on a continual and ongoing basis. These risks and threats range from inadvertent release of sensitive information to sophisticated and targeted measures directed at us. Our operations involve use of multiple systems that process, store and transmit sensitive information about our customers, suppliers, employees, financial position, operating results and strategies. While we are not aware of any material cyber-attacks or breaches of our systems to date, we have and continue to implement measures to safeguard our systems and mitigate potential risks, but there is no assurance that such actions will be sufficient to prevent cyber-attacks or security breaches that manipulate or improperly use our systems, compromise sensitive information, destroy or corrupt data, or otherwise disrupt our operations. The occurrence of such events could negatively impact our reputation and our competitive position and could result in litigation with third parties, regulatory action, loss of business, potential liability and increased remediation costs, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations. Risk Factors Relating to the Regulatory Environment Environmental compliance costs and potential environmental liabilities may have a material adverse effect on our financial condition and results of operations Compliance with environmental laws and regulations is a significant factor in our business. We are subject to local, state and federal environmental laws and regulations in the U.S. and other countries relating to, among other matters: • Waste disposal; • Air emissions; • Waste water and storm water management and treatment; • Soil and groundwater contamination remediation; • Global climate change; • Discharge, storage, handling and disposal of hazardous materials; and • Employee health and safety.