Quiver Quantitative

Risk Factors Dashboard

Once a year, publicly traded companies issue a comprehensive report of their business, called a 10-K. A component mandated in the 10-K is the ‘Risk Factors’ section, where companies disclose any major potential risks that they may face. This dashboard highlights all major changes and additions in new 10K reports, allowing investors to quickly identify new potential risks and opportunities.

Risk Factors - KHC

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Item 1A. Risk Factors.
Our business is subject to various risks and uncertainties. In addition to the risks described elsewhere in this Annual Report on Form 10-K, any of the risks and uncertainties described below could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition, and results of operations and should be considered when evaluating Kraft Heinz. Although the risks are organized and described separately, many of the risks are interrelated. While we believe we have identified and discussed the material risks affecting our business below, there may be additional risks and uncertainties that are not presently known or that are not currently believed to be material that may adversely affect our business, performance, or financial condition in the future.
Industry Risks
The continuously changing and uncertain COVID-19 pandemic, and government and consumer responses, could negatively impact our business and results of operations.
The ongoing spread of COVID-19 throughout the United States and internationally, as well as measures implemented by governmental authorities and private businesses in an attempt to minimize transmission of the virus, including social distancing mandates, shelter-in-place orders, vaccine mandates, and business restrictions and shutdowns, and consumer responses have had and could continue to have a negative impact on financial markets, economic conditions, and portions of our business. Although certain portions of our business have benefited, the impact of, and associated government, business, and consumer responses to, COVID-19 could negatively impact our business and results of operations in a number of ways, which may be difficult to accurately estimate or forecast, including, but not limited to, the following:
a shutdown of one or more of our manufacturing facilities due to illness could significantly disrupt our production capabilities;
a significant portion of our workforce could become unable to work, including as a result of illness or government restrictions;
a decrease in demand for away-from-home establishments has adversely affected, and may continue to adversely affect, our foodservice operations;
a change in demand resulting from restrictions on or changes in social interactions has affected, and could continue to affect, customers’ and consumers’ plans to purchase our products;
a change in demand for or availability of our products as a result of retailers, distributors, or carriers modifying their restocking, fulfillment, or shipping practices;
a shift in consumer spending as a result of the economic downturn could result in consumers moving to private label or lower margin products;
a slowdown or stoppage in our supply chain or the failure of our suppliers, vendors, distributors, or third-party manufacturers to meet their obligations to us or experience disruptions in their ability to do so;
a strain on our supply chain resulting from increased consumer demand at our retail customers, such as grocery stores, club stores, and value stores;
a change in trade promotion and marketing activities, e.g., in response to changes in consumer viewing and shopping habits resulting from the cancellation of major events, travel restrictions, and in-store shopping practices, could adversely affect our current and future product sales;
an impairment in the carrying amount of goodwill or intangible assets or a change in the useful life of definite-lived intangible assets has occurred and may again occur if there are sustained changes in government restrictions, consumer purchasing behaviors, or our financial results, particularly in our Canada Foodservice reporting unit, as there may be a heightened risk of impairment if there is a sustained decrease in demand in away-from-home establishments;
a change in our five-year operating plan, which could cause a change in the allocation of investments among our reporting units, our growth expectations, and our fair value estimates, each of which could result in an impairment in the carrying amount of goodwill or intangible assets; and
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an increase in working capital needs and/or an increase in trade receivables write-offs as a result of increased financial pressures on our suppliers or customers.
Additionally, should any key employees become ill from COVID-19 and unable to work, the attention of the management team and resources could be diverted. Further, should any key employees become ill from COVID-19 and unable to work, the attention of the management team and resources could be diverted.
The potential effects of COVID-19 could also heighten the risks we face related to each of the risk factors disclosed below. As COVID-19 and its impacts are unprecedented and continuously evolving, the potential impacts to these risk factors remain uncertain. As a result, COVID-19 may also materially adversely affect our operating and financial results in a manner that is not currently known to us or that we do not currently consider to present material risks to our operations.
We operate in a highly competitive industry.
The food and beverage industry is highly competitive across all of our product offerings. Our principal competitors in these categories are manufacturers as well as retailers with their own branded and private label products. We compete based on product innovation, price, product quality, nutritional value, service, taste, convenience, brand recognition and loyalty, effectiveness of marketing and distribution, promotional activity, and the ability to identify and satisfy changing consumer preferences.
We may need to reduce our prices in response to competitive and customer pressures, including pressures related to private label products that are generally sold at lower prices. These pressures have restricted and may in the future continue to restrict our ability to increase prices in response to commodity and other cost increases, including those related to inflationary pressures. These pressures have restricted and may in the future continue to restrict our ability to increase prices in response to commodity and other cost increases. Failure to effectively assess, timely change, and properly set pricing, promotions, or trade incentives may negatively impact our ability to achieve our objectives.
The rapid emergence of new distribution channels, particularly e-commerce, may create consumer price deflation, affecting our retail customer relationships and presenting additional challenges to increasing prices in response to commodity or other cost increases, including those related to inflationary pressures.The rapid emergence of new distribution channels, particularly e-commerce, may create consumer price deflation, affecting our retail customer relationships and presenting additional challenges to increasing prices in response to commodity or other cost increases. We may also need to increase or reallocate spending on marketing, retail trade incentives, materials, advertising, and new product, platform, or channel innovation to maintain or increase market share. We may also need to increase or reallocate spending on marketing, retail trade incentives, materials, advertising, and new product or channel innovation to maintain or increase market share. These expenditures are subject to risks, including uncertainties about trade and consumer acceptance of our efforts. If we are unable to compete effectively, our profitability, financial condition, and operating results may decline.
Our success depends on our ability to correctly predict, identify, and interpret changes in consumer preferences and demand, to offer new products to meet those changes, and to respond to competitive innovation.
Consumer preferences for food and beverage products change continually and rapidly. Our success depends on our ability to predict, identify, and interpret the tastes and dietary habits of consumers and to offer products that appeal to consumer preferences, including with respect to health and wellness. Moreover, weak economic conditions, recessions, inflation, or other factors, such as global or local pandemics and severe or unusual weather events, could affect consumer preferences and demand. If we do not offer products that appeal to consumers, our sales and market share will decrease, which could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
We must distinguish between short-term trends and long-term changes in consumer preferences. If we do not accurately predict which shifts in consumer preferences will be long-term, or if we fail to introduce new and improved products to satisfy those preferences, our sales could decline. In addition, because of our varied consumer base, we must offer an array of products that satisfies a broad spectrum of consumer preferences. If we fail to expand our product offerings successfully across product categories or platforms, or if we do not rapidly develop products in faster-growing or more profitable categories, demand for our products could decrease, which could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
Prolonged negative perceptions concerning the health implications of certain food and beverage products (including as they relate to obesity or other health concerns) could influence consumer preferences and acceptance of some of our products and marketing programs. We strive to respond to consumer preferences and social expectations, but we may not be successful in our efforts. Continued negative perceptions and failure to satisfy consumer preferences could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
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In addition, achieving growth depends on our successful development, introduction, and marketing of innovative new products and line extensions. There are inherent risks associated with new product or packaging introductions, including uncertainties about trade and consumer acceptance or potential impacts on our existing product offerings. We may be required to increase expenditures for new product development. Successful innovation depends on our ability to correctly anticipate customer and consumer acceptance, to obtain, protect, and maintain necessary intellectual property rights, and to avoid infringing upon the intellectual property rights of others. We must also be able to respond successfully to technological advances by and intellectual property rights of our competitors, and failure to do so could compromise our competitive position and impact our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
Changes in the retail landscape or the loss of key retail customers could adversely affect our financial performance.
Retail customers, such as supermarkets, warehouse clubs, and food distributors in our major markets, may continue to consolidate, resulting in fewer but larger customers for our business across various channels. These larger customers may seek to leverage their positions to improve their profitability by demanding improved efficiency, lower pricing, more favorable terms, increased promotional programs, or specifically tailored product offerings. In addition, larger retailers have scale to develop supply chains that permit them to operate with reduced inventories or to develop and market their own private label products. Retail consolidation and increasing retailer power could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
Retail consolidation also increases the risk that adverse changes in our customers’ business operations or financial performance may have a corresponding adverse effect on us, which could be material. For example, if our customers cannot access sufficient funds or financing, then they may delay, decrease, or cancel purchases of our products, or delay or fail to pay us for previous purchases, which could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
In addition, technology-based systems, which give consumers the ability to shop through e-commerce websites and mobile commerce applications, are also significantly altering the retail landscape in many of our markets. If we are unable to adjust to developments in these changing landscapes, we may be disadvantaged in key channels and with certain consumers, which could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
Changes in our relationships with significant customers or suppliers, or in other business relationships, could adversely impact us.
We derive significant portions of our sales from certain significant customers (see Sales and Customers within Item 1, Business). Some or all of our significant customers may not continue to purchase our products in the same mix or quantities or on the same terms as in the past, particularly as increasingly powerful retailers may demand lower pricing and focus on developing their own brands. The loss of a significant customer or a material reduction in sales or a change in the mix of products we sell to a significant customer could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
Disputes with significant suppliers, including disputes related to pricing or performance, could adversely affect our ability to supply products to our customers and could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results. In addition, terminations of relationships with other significant contractual counterparties, including licensors, could adversely affect our portfolio, product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
In addition, the financial condition of such customers, suppliers, and other significant contractual counterparties are affected in large part by conditions and events that are beyond our control. Significant deteriorations in the financial conditions of significant customers or suppliers, or in other business relationships, could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
Maintaining, extending, and expanding our reputation and brand image are essential to our business success.
We have many iconic brands with long-standing consumer recognition across the globe. Our success depends on our ability to maintain brand image for our existing products, extend our brands to new platforms, and expand our brand image with new product offerings.
We seek to maintain, extend, and expand our brand image through marketing investments, including advertising and consumer promotions, and product innovation. Negative perceptions of food and beverage marketing could adversely affect our brand image or lead to stricter regulations and scrutiny of our marketing practices. Moreover, adverse publicity about legal or regulatory action against us, our quality and safety, our environmental or social impacts, our products becoming unavailable to consumers, or our suppliers and, in some cases, our competitors, could damage our reputation and brand image, undermine our customers’ or our consumers’ confidence, and reduce demand for our products, even if the regulatory or legal action is unfounded or not material to our operations. Moreover, adverse publicity about legal or regulatory action against us, our quality and safety, our environmental or social impacts, our products becoming unavailable to consumers, or our suppliers and, in some cases, our competitors, could damage our reputation and brand image, undermine our customers’ confidence, and reduce demand for our products, even if the regulatory or legal action is unfounded or not material to our operations. Furthermore, existing or increased legal or regulatory restrictions on our
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advertising, consumer promotions, and marketing, or our response to those restrictions, could limit our efforts to maintain, extend, and expand our brands.
In addition, our success in maintaining, extending, and expanding our brand image depends on our ability to adapt to a rapidly changing media environment. We increasingly rely on social media and online dissemination of advertising campaigns. The growing use of social and digital media increases the speed and extent that information, including misinformation, and opinions can be shared. Negative posts or comments about us, our brands or our products, or our suppliers and, in some cases, our competitors, on social or digital media, whether or not valid, could seriously damage our brands and reputation. In addition, we might fail to appropriately target our marketing efforts, anticipate consumer preferences, or invest sufficiently in maintaining, extending, and expanding our brand image. If we do not maintain, extend, and expand our reputation or brand image, then our product sales, financial condition, and operating results could be materially and adversely affected.
We must leverage our brand value to compete against private label products.
In nearly all of our product categories, we compete with branded products as well as private label products, which are typically sold at lower prices. Our products must provide higher value and/or quality to our consumers than alternatives, particularly during periods of economic uncertainty or inflation. Consumers may not buy our products if relative differences in value and/or quality between our products and private label products change in favor of competitors’ products or if consumers perceive such a change. If consumers prefer private label products, then we could lose market share or sales volumes, or our product mix could shift to lower margin offerings. A change in consumer preferences could also cause us to increase capital, marketing, and other expenditures, which could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
We may be unable to drive revenue growth in our key product categories or platforms, increase our market share, or add products that are in faster-growing and more profitable categories.
Our future results will depend on our ability to drive revenue growth in our key product categories or platforms as well as growth in the food and beverage industry in the countries in which we operate. Our future results will also depend on our ability to enhance our portfolio by adding innovative new products in faster-growing and more profitable categories or platforms and our ability to increase market share in our existing product categories or platforms. Our future results will also depend on our ability to enhance our portfolio by adding innovative new products in faster-growing and more profitable categories and our ability to increase market share in our existing product categories. Our failure to drive revenue growth, limit market share decreases in our key product categories or platforms, or develop innovative products for new and existing categories or platforms could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results. Our failure to drive revenue growth, limit market share decreases in our key product categories, or develop innovative products for new and existing categories could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
Product recalls or other product liability claims could materially and adversely affect us.
Selling products for human consumption involves inherent legal and other risks, including product contamination, spoilage, product tampering, allergens, or other adulteration. We have decided and could in the future decide to, and have been or could in the future be required to, recall products due to suspected or confirmed product contamination, adulteration, product mislabeling or misbranding, tampering, undeclared allergens, or other deficiencies. Product recalls or market withdrawals could result in significant losses due to their costs, the destruction of product inventory, and lost sales due to the unavailability of the product for a period of time.
We could also be adversely affected if consumers lose confidence in the safety and quality of certain of our food products or ingredients, or the food safety system generally. Adverse attention about these types of concerns, whether or not valid, may damage our reputation, discourage consumers from buying our products, or cause production and delivery disruptions that could negatively impact our net sales and financial condition.
We may also suffer losses if our products or operations violate applicable laws or regulations, or if our products cause injury, illness, or death. In addition, our marketing could face claims of false or deceptive advertising or other criticism. A significant product liability or other legal judgment or a related regulatory enforcement action against us, or a significant product recall, may materially and adversely affect our reputation and profitability. Moreover, even if a product liability or fraud claim is unsuccessful, has no merit, or is not pursued to conclusion, the negative publicity surrounding assertions against our products or processes could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
Climate change and legal or regulatory responses may have a long-term adverse impact on our business and results of operations.
Global average temperatures are gradually increasing due to increased concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which may contribute to significant changes in weather patterns around the globe and an increase in the frequency and severity of natural disasters. Decreased agricultural productivity in certain regions of the world as a result of changing weather patterns may limit the availability or increase the cost of natural resources and commodities, including dairy products, meat products, coffee beans, soybean and vegetable oils, sugar and other sweeteners, tomatoes, potatoes, corn products, wheat products, nuts, cocoa products, cucumbers, onions, other fruits and vegetables, spices, and flour used to
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manufacture our products, and could further decrease food security for communities around the world. Climate change could also affect our ability to procure necessary commodities at costs and in quantities we currently experience and may require us to make additional unplanned capital expenditures. Increasing concern over climate change may also adversely impact demand for our products, or increase operating costs, due to changes in consumer preferences that cause consumers to switch away from products or ingredients considered to have a high climate change impact.
Additionally, there is an increased focus by foreign, federal, state, and local regulatory and legislative bodies regarding environmental policies relating to climate change, regulating greenhouse gas emissions, energy policies, and sustainability. Increased energy or compliance costs and expenses due to the impacts of climate change and additional legal or regulatory requirements regarding climate change or designed to reduce or mitigate the effects of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions on the environment could be costly and may cause disruptions in, or an increase in the costs associated with, the running of our manufacturing and processing facilities and our business, as well as increase distribution and supply chain costs. Moreover, compliance with any such legal or regulatory requirements may require us to make significant changes to our business operations and strategy, which will likely incur substantial time, attention, and costs. Even if we make changes to align ourselves with such legal or regulatory requirements, we may still be subject to significant penalties if such laws and regulations are interpreted and applied in a manner inconsistent with our practices. The effects of climate change and legal or regulatory initiatives to address climate change could have a long-term adverse impact on our business and results of operations.
Finally, we might fail to effectively address increased attention from the media, stockholders, activists, and other stakeholders on climate change and related environmental sustainability matters. Such failure, or the perception that we have failed to act responsibly with respect to such matters or to effectively respond to new or additional regulatory requirements regarding climate change, whether or not valid, could result in adverse publicity and negatively affect our business and reputation. Moreover, from time to time we establish and publicly announce goals and commitments, including to reduce our impact on the environment. Our ability to achieve any stated goal, target, or objective is subject to numerous factors and conditions, many of which are outside of our control. Examples of such factors include evolving regulatory requirements affecting sustainability standards or disclosures or imposing different requirements, the pace of changes in technology, the availability of requisite financing, and the availability of suppliers that can meet our sustainability and other standards. If we fail to achieve, or are perceived to have failed or been delayed in achieving, or improperly report on our progress toward achieving these goals and commitments, it could negatively affect consumer preference for our products or investor confidence in our stock, as well as expose us to government enforcement actions and private litigation.
Business Risks
We may not successfully identify, complete, or realize the benefits from strategic acquisitions, alliances, divestitures, joint ventures, or other investments.
From time to time, we have evaluated and may continue to evaluate acquisition candidates, alliances, joint ventures, or other investments that may strategically fit our business objectives, and, as a result of some of these evaluations, we have acquired businesses or assets that we deem to be a strategic fit.From time to time, we have evaluated and may continue to evaluate acquisition candidates, alliances, joint ventures, or other investments that may strategically fit our business objectives, and we have divested and may consider divesting businesses that do not meet our strategic objectives or growth or profitability targets. We have also divested and may consider divesting businesses that do not meet our strategic objectives or growth or profitability targets. These activities may present financial, managerial, and operational risks including, but not limited to, diversion of management’s attention from existing core businesses, difficulties integrating or separating personnel and financial and other systems, inability to effectively and immediately implement control environment processes across a diverse employee population, adverse effects on existing or acquired customer and supplier business relationships, and potential disputes with buyers, sellers, or partners. Activities in such areas are regulated by numerous antitrust and competition laws in the United States, Canada, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and other jurisdictions. We have in the past and may in the future be required to obtain approval of these transactions by competition authorities or to satisfy other legal requirements, and we may be unable to obtain such approvals or satisfy such requirements, each of which may result in additional costs, time delays, or our inability to complete such transactions. We may be required to obtain approval of these transactions by competition authorities or to satisfy other legal requirements, and we may be unable to obtain such approvals or satisfy such requirements, each of which may result in additional costs, time delays, or our inability to complete such transactions.
To the extent we undertake acquisitions, alliances, joint ventures, investments, or other developments outside our established regions or in new categories, we may face additional risks related to such developments.To the extent we undertake acquisitions, alliances, joint ventures, investments, or other developments outside our core regions or in new categories, we may face additional risks related to such developments. For example, risks related to foreign operations include compliance with U.S. laws affecting operations outside of the United States, such as the FCPA, foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations, compliance with foreign regulations and laws, including tax laws, and exposure to politically and economically volatile developing markets. Any of these factors could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and operating results.
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To the extent we undertake divestitures, we may face additional risks related to such activities. For example, risks related to our ability to find appropriate buyers, execute transactions on favorable terms, separate divested business operations with minimal impact to our remaining operations, and effectively manage any transitional service arrangements. Further, our divestiture activities have in the past required, and may in the future require, us to recognize impairment charges. Any of these factors could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and operating results.
We may not be able to successfully execute our strategic initiatives.
We plan to continue to conduct strategic initiatives in various markets. Consumer demands, behaviors, tastes, and purchasing trends may differ in these markets and, as a result, our sales strategies may not be successful and our product sales may not meet expectations, or the margins on those sales may be less than currently anticipated. Consumer demands, behaviors, tastes, and purchasing trends may differ in these markets and, as a result, our sales may not be successful or meet expectations, or the margins on those sales may be less than currently anticipated. We may also face difficulties integrating new business operations with our current sourcing, distribution, information technology systems, and other operations. Additionally, we may not successfully complete any planned strategic initiatives, including achieving any previously announced productivity efficiencies and financial targets, any new business may not be profitable or meet our expectations, or any divestiture may not be completed without disruption. Any of these challenges could hinder our success in new markets or new distribution channels, which could adversely affect our results of operations and financial condition.
Our international operations subject us to additional risks and costs and may cause our profitability to decline.
We are a global company with sales and operations in numerous countries within developed and emerging markets. Approximately 29% of our 2021 net sales were generated outside of the United States. As a result, we are subject to risks inherent in global operations. These risks, which can vary substantially by market, are described in many of the risk factors discussed in this section and also include:
compliance with U.S. laws affecting operations outside of the United States, including anti-bribery laws such as the FCPA;
changes in the mix of earnings in countries with differing statutory tax rates, the valuation of deferred tax assets and liabilities, tax laws or their interpretations, or tax audit implications;
the imposition of increased or new tariffs, quotas, trade barriers, or similar restrictions on our sales or imports, trade agreements, regulations, taxes, or policies that might negatively affect our sales or costs;
foreign currency devaluations or fluctuations in foreign currency values, including risks arising from the significant and rapid fluctuations in foreign currency exchange markets and the decisions made and positions taken to hedge such volatility;
compliance with antitrust and competition laws, data privacy laws, and a variety of other local, national, and multi-national regulations and laws in multiple jurisdictions;
discriminatory or conflicting fiscal policies in or across foreign jurisdictions;
changes in capital controls, including foreign currency exchange controls, governmental foreign currency policies, or other limits on our ability to import raw materials or finished product into various countries or repatriate cash from outside the United States;
challenges associated with cross-border product distribution;
changes in local regulations and laws, the uncertainty of enforcement of remedies in foreign jurisdictions, and foreign ownership restrictions and the potential for nationalization or expropriation of property or other resources;
risks and costs associated with political and economic instability, corruption, anti-American sentiment, and social and ethnic unrest in the countries in which we operate;
the risks of operating in developing or emerging markets in which there are significant uncertainties regarding the interpretation, application, and enforceability of laws and regulations and the enforceability of contract rights and intellectual property rights;
changing labor conditions and difficulties in staffing our operations;
greater risk of uncollectible accounts or trade receivables and longer collection cycles; and
design, implementation, and use of effective control environment processes across our various operations and employee base.
Slow economic growth or high unemployment in the markets in which we operate could constrain consumer spending, and declining consumer purchasing power could adversely impact our profitability. All of these factors could result in increased costs or decreased sales, and could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition, and results of operations.
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Our intellectual property rights are valuable, and any inability to protect them could reduce the value of our products and brands.
We consider our intellectual property rights, particularly and most notably our trademarks, but also our patents, trade secrets, trade dress, copyrights, and licensing agreements, to be a significant and valuable aspect of our business. We attempt to protect our intellectual property rights through a combination of patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, and trade dress laws, as well as licensing agreements, third-party nondisclosure and assignment agreements, and policing of third-party misuses of our intellectual property. Our failure to develop or adequately protect our trademarks, products, new features of our products, or our technology, or any change in law or other changes that serve to lessen or remove the current legal protections of our intellectual property, may diminish our competitiveness and could materially harm our business and financial condition. We also license certain intellectual property, most notably trademarks, from third parties. To the extent that we are not able to contract with these third parties on favorable terms or maintain our relationships with these third parties, our rights to use certain intellectual property could be impacted.
We may be unaware of intellectual property rights of others that may cover some of our technology, brands, or products. Any litigation regarding patents or other intellectual property could be costly and time-consuming and could divert the attention of our management and key personnel from our business operations. Third-party claims of intellectual property infringement might also require us to enter into costly license agreements. We also may be subject to significant damages or injunctions against development and sale of certain products.
The Sponsors have substantial control over us and may have conflicts of interest with us in the future.
As of December 25, 2021, the Sponsors own approximately 42% of our common stock. Two of 11 members of our Board are partners and/or board members of 3G Capital and two members of our Board are officers and/or directors of Berkshire Hathaway and/or its affiliates. Three of 11 members of our Board are partners and/or board members of 3G Capital and two members of our Board are officers and/or directors of Berkshire Hathaway and/or its affiliates. In addition, Paulo Basilio, our Global Chief Financial Officer, is a partner of 3G Capital. As a result, the Sponsors have the potential to exercise influence over management and have substantial control over Board decisions, including those affecting our capital structure, such as the issuance of additional capital stock, the incurrence of additional indebtedness, the implementation of stock repurchase programs, and the declaration and amount of dividends. The Sponsors also have substantial control over any action requiring the approval of the holders of our common stock, including adopting any amendments to our charter, electing directors, and approving mergers or sales of substantially all of our capital stock or our assets. In addition, to the extent that the Sponsors were to collectively hold a majority of our common stock, they together would have the power to take stockholder action by written consent to adopt amendments to our charter or take other actions, such as corporate transactions, that require the vote of holders of a majority of our outstanding common stock. Furthermore, the Sponsors are in the business of making investments in companies and may from time to time acquire and hold interests in businesses that compete directly or indirectly with us. The Sponsors may also pursue acquisition opportunities that may be complementary to our business, and, as a result, those acquisition opportunities may not be available to us. So long as the Sponsors continue to own a significant amount of our equity, they will continue to be able to strongly influence or effectively control our decisions.
We may be unable to realize the anticipated benefits from prior or future streamlining actions to reduce fixed costs, simplify or improve processes, and improve our competitiveness.
We have implemented a number of initiatives, including development of an operations center and strategic long-term collaboration with suppliers, that we believe are important to position our business for future success and growth. We have evaluated and continue to evaluate changes to our organizational structure and operations to enable us to reduce costs, simplify or improve processes, and improve our competitiveness. Our future success may depend upon our ability to realize the benefits of these or other cost savings initiatives. In addition, certain of our initiatives may lead to increased costs in other aspects of our business such as increased conversion, outsourcing, or distribution costs. We must accurately predict costs and be efficient in executing any plans to achieve cost savings and operate efficiently in the highly competitive food and beverage industry, particularly in an environment of increased competitive activity. To capitalize on our efforts, we must carefully evaluate investments in our business and execute in those areas with the most potential return on investment. If we are unable to realize the anticipated benefits from any cost-saving efforts, we could be cost disadvantaged in the marketplace, and our competitiveness, production, profitability, financial condition, and operating results could be adversely affected.
Financial Risks
Our level of indebtedness, as well as our ability to comply with covenants under our debt instruments, could adversely affect our business and financial condition.
We have a substantial amount of indebtedness and are permitted to incur a substantial amount of additional indebtedness, including secured debt. Our existing debt, together with any incurrence of additional indebtedness, could have important consequences, including, but not limited to:
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increasing our vulnerability to general adverse economic and industry conditions;
limiting our ability to obtain additional financing for working capital, capital expenditures, research and development, debt service requirements, acquisitions, and general corporate or other purposes;
resulting in a downgrade to our credit rating, which could adversely affect our cost of funds, including our commercial paper programs, liquidity, and access to capital markets;
restricting us from making strategic acquisitions or causing us to make non-strategic divestitures;
limiting our ability to adjust to changing market conditions and place us at a competitive disadvantage compared to our competitors who are not as highly leveraged;
making it more difficult for us to make payments on our existing indebtedness;
requiring a substantial portion of cash flows from operations to be dedicated to the payment of principal and interest on our indebtedness, thereby reducing our ability to use our cash flow to fund our operations, payments of dividends, capital expenditures, and future business opportunities;
exposing us to risks related to fluctuations in foreign currency, as we earn profits in a variety of foreign currencies and the majority of our debt is denominated in U.S. dollars; and
in the case of any additional indebtedness, exacerbating the risks associated with our substantial financial leverage.
In addition, we may not generate sufficient cash flow from operations or future debt or equity financings may not be available to us to enable us to pay our indebtedness or to fund other needs. As a result, we may need to refinance all or a portion of our indebtedness on or before maturity. We may not be able to refinance any of our indebtedness on favorable terms, or at all. Any inability to generate sufficient cash flow or to refinance our indebtedness on favorable terms could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition.
Our indebtedness instruments contain customary representations, warranties, and covenants, including a financial covenant in our senior unsecured revolving credit facility (the “Senior Credit Facility”) to maintain a minimum shareholders’ equity (excluding accumulated other comprehensive income/(losses)). The creditors who hold our debt could accelerate amounts due in the event that we default, which could potentially trigger a default or acceleration of the maturity of our other debt. If our operating performance declines, or if we are unable to comply with any covenant, such as our ability to timely prepare and file our periodic reports with the SEC, we have in the past needed and may in the future need to obtain waivers from the required creditors under our indebtedness instruments to avoid being in default.
If we breach any covenants under our indebtedness instruments and seek a waiver, we may not be able to obtain a waiver from the required creditors, or we may not be able to remedy compliance within the terms of any waivers approved by the required creditors. If this occurs, we would be in default under our indebtedness instruments and unable to access our Senior Credit Facility. In addition, certain creditors could exercise their rights, as described above, and we could be forced into bankruptcy or liquidation.
Additional impairments of the carrying amounts of goodwill or other indefinite-lived intangible assets could negatively affect our financial condition and results of operations.
As of December 25, 2021, we maintain 14 reporting units, nine of which comprise our goodwill balance. Our indefinite-lived intangible asset balance primarily consists of a number of individual brands.