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Risk management

Like opportunities management, risk management is a continuous process. Identifying, controlling, and managing risks are key tools of solid corporate governance. The Fresenius risk management system is closely linked to the corporate strategy. Its main element is our control system, with which we can identify significant risks at an early stage and counteract them individually.

Responsibilities for the processes and monitoring risks in the individual business segments have been assigned as follows:

  • Using standardized processes, risk situations are evaluated regularly and compared with specified requirements. If negative developments emerge, responses can be initiated at an early stage.
  • The managers responsible are required to report without delay any relevant changes in the risk profile to the Management Board.
  • Markets are kept under constant observation and close contacts maintained with customers, suppliers, and institutions. These policies allow us to swiftly identify and react to changes in our business environment.

The risk management system is supported both at Group level and in the individual business segments by our risk controlling measures and our management information system. Detailed monthly and quarterly reports are used to identify and analyze deviations of the actual compared to the planned business development. In addition, the risk management system comprises a control system that oversees organizational processes and measures, as well as internal controls and audits.

The functionality and effectiveness of our risk management system is reviewed regularly by the Management Board and the internal auditing department. Conclusions arising from the audits are taken into account in the ongoing refinement of our risk management system to allow prompt reaction to changes in the markets. This system has thus far proved effective. The control system is also regularly reviewed by the Management Board and the internal auditing department. The auditor reviews whether the control system set up by the Management Board is suitable for the early identification of risks that would put the continued exist ence of the company in danger. The insights gained from the audit regarding the internal control system as it pertains to accounting are taken into account in the continued development of the system.

Fresenius has ensured that the scope and focus of the organizational structure and systems for identifying and evaluating risks, and for developing countermeasures and for the avoidance of risks, are aligned suitably with the company-specific requirements and that they are properly functional. However, there can be no absolute certainty that this will enable all risks to be fully identified and controlled.


Numerous measures and internal controls assure correctness and reliability of accounting processes and financial reporting, and thus preparation of annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements, and management reports in compliance with applicable rules. Our four-tier reporting process especially promotes intensive discussion and ensures controls of the financial results. At each reporting level

  • local entity
  • region
  • business segment
  • Group

financial data and key figures are reported, discussed, and compared on a regular monthly basis with the prior-year figures, budget, and latest forecast. In addition, all parameters, assumptions, and estimates that are of relevance for the externally reported Group and segment results are discussed intensively with the department responsible for preparing the Group’s consolidated financial statements. These matters are also reviewed and discussed quarterly in the Supervisory Board’s Audit Committee.

Control mechanisms, such as automated and manual reconciliation procedures, are further precautions in place to assure that financial reporting is reliable and that transactions are correctly accounted for. All consolidated entities report according to Group-wide standards determined at the head office. These are regularly adjusted to changes made to the accounting regulations. The consolidation proposals are supported by the IT system. In this context, please refer to the comprehensive consolidation of internal Group balances. To prevent abuse, we take care to maintain a strict separation of functions. Management control and evaluations also help to ensure that risks having a direct impact on financial reporting are identified and that controls are in place to minimize them. Moreover, changes in accounting rules are monitored and employees involved in financial reporting are instructed regularly and comprehensively. External experts and specialists are engaged if necessary. The Treasury, Tax, Controlling, and Legal departments are involved in supporting the preparation of the financial statements. Finally, the information provided is verified once again by the department responsible for preparing the consolidated financial statements.

The Fresenius Medical Care business segment is additionally subject to the controls of Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

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Risk areas