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Adecco Group –
Operating and financial review and prospects
in millions, except share and per share information

6. Financial risk management – foreign currency and derivative financial instruments

The Company is exposed to market risk, primarily related to foreign exchange, interest rates, and equity market risk. Except for the equity market risk, these exposures are actively managed by the Company in accordance with written policies approved by the Board of Directors. The Company’s objective is to minimise, where deemed appropriate, fluctuations in earnings and cash flows associated with changes in foreign currency exchange rates and interest rates. It is the Company’s policy to use a variety of derivative financial instruments to hedge these exposures in the absence of natural hedges.

Given the global nature of the Company’s business, the Company is exposed to foreign exchange movements, primarily in the currencies of the USA, the UK, Japan, and subsidiaries whose functional currency is the Euro. Consequently, the Company enters into various contracts, such as foreign currency forward contracts, swaps and cross-currency interest rate swaps, which change in value as foreign exchange rates change, to preserve the value of assets, equity, and commitments.

Depending on the amount of outstanding foreign currency forward contract hedges and the fluctuation of exchange rates, the settlement of these contracts may result in significant cash inflows or cash outflows.

The Company uses interest rate swaps to hedge interest rate risks and to maintain a balance between fixed rate and floating rate debt. The terms of the interest rate swaps generally match the terms of specific debt agreements. Additional discussion of these interest rate swaps is located in Note 11 to the consolidated financial statements.