Risks and opportunities
This section provides important additional information and explains recent changes in the risks and opportunities as described in the combined management report of the 2021 Annual Report. Readers are also referred to the Disclaimer at the end of this report.
Risks arising from the macroeconomic environment. Uncertainty about global economic development increased substantially in the first quart er of 2022. In addition to the coronavirus pandemic, with its impact on the economy and social cohesion, the war in Ukraine has taken a substantial toll on economic development. A ban on deliveries or imports of Russian energy sources could push up global energy prices further, especially for natural gas, and lead to serious supply shortages, especially for our Germany and Europe segments. Although the pandemic has only had a limited negative impact on the telecommunications sector so far, if the pandemic were to re-escalate, it could lead to prolonged and increased supply-side shortages. In this context, China’s central role for global supply and value chains, combined with the zero-tolerance strategy adopted there, pose a particular risk. The combination of further energy price rises and persistent shortages entails the risk of stagflation, i.e., a situation with no or negative economic growth in conjunction with high inflation. This could lead to increases in the prices of the products we purchase. In addition, the consumer behavior of customers could change, leading them to switch to lower-cost rate plans. Similar developments could also arise in the United States, where pandemic-related government aid programs are coming to an end. In addition, interest rates are set to rise in the United States and in the medium term in Germany, which may also lead to lower investments and a decline in consumer spending. Additional risks could potentially result from other geopolitical conflicts and the uncertainty from international trade conflicts. We therefore expect the macroeconomic situation in Germany, the United States, and Europe to deteriorate and are raising the risk significance from low to medium.
Procurement and supply risks. Deutsche Telekom’s supply chains are currently being negatively impacted by a number of factors, e.g., by a shortage of semiconductor chips, the coronavirus pandemic, geopolitical tensions, and the war in Ukraine. There has been an imbalance between supply and demand on the global market for semiconductor chips for a number of quarters now. In addition, pandemic-related restrictions (for example, lockdowns in Asian countries) and geopolitics (for example, technology sanctions imposed by the United States) are impeding the global logistics stability of raw materials for chip production and related processes such as packaging and tests. Furthermore, the general costs of semiconductor materials, production and global logistics are rising, leading to general price increases for products and services. Europe is currently experiencing supply delays. However, short-term shortages were avoided thanks to action that was taken. Inventory shortages could also arise in the United States. The establishment of additional production capacities means that the situation is expected to ease in the medium term. The risk significance of the risk category “Procurement and supply risks” has been raised from low to medium, since the situation could suddenly deteriorate due to the closure of Chinese ports or unforeseeable consequences of the Ukraine war. In addition, inflation will push up product prices. We employ organizational, contractual, and procurement strategy measures to counteract these challenges. For example, in early 2021, the Group-wide Supply Chain Resilience was set up to assess the risk situation at regular intervals and, where necessary, take relevant mitigating measures, and monitor their implementation.
Proceedings against T‑Mobile US as a consequence of the cyberattack on T‑Mobile US. As reported in the combined management report of the 2021 Annual Report, consumer class actions were filed against T‑Mobile US and a derivative action was filed against the members of the Board of Directors of T‑Mobile US as a result of the cyberattack. The derivative action filed against the members of the Board of Directors of T‑Mobile US has since been withdrawn by the plaintiff.
Claims for damages against Slovak Telekom following a European Commission decision to impose fines. As reported in the combined management report of the 2021 Annual Report, following the decision of the European Commission, competitors filed damage actions against Slovak Telekom with the civil court in Bratislava. A further action was filed with the court in the reporting period, such that there are now three claims pending, amounting to a total of EUR 219 million plus interest. It is currently not possible to estimate the financial impact with sufficient certainty.
Assessment of the aggregate risk position
The aggregate risk position has deteriorated compared with the risks and opportunities as described in the combined management report of the 2021 Annual Report due to the war in Ukraine and the resulting consequences for the global economy. At the time of preparing this report, neither our risk management system nor our management could identify any material risks to the continued existence of Deutsche Telekom AG or a significant Group company as a going concern.