|UNION CARBIDE CORP /NEW/ filed this Form 10-K on 02/15/2018|
Financial Flexibility: Market conditions could reduce Dow's financial flexibility, which could impact the financial flexibility of the Corporation.
Adverse economic conditions could reduce Dow's flexibility to respond to changing business and economic conditions or to fund capital expenditures or working capital needs. The economic environment could result in a contraction in the availability of credit in the marketplace and reduce sources of liquidity for Dow and could result in higher borrowing costs. Since Dow is a service provider, material debtor, and the major customer of the Corporation, reduced financial flexibility for Dow could potentially impact the financial flexibility of the Corporation.
Environmental Compliance: The costs of complying with evolving regulatory requirements could negatively impact the Corporation's financial results. Actual or alleged violations of environmental laws or permit requirements could result in restrictions or prohibitions on plant operations, substantial civil or criminal sanctions, as well as the assessment of strict liability and/or joint and several liability.
The Corporation is subject to extensive federal, state, local and foreign laws, regulations, rules and ordinances relating to pollution, protection of the environment, greenhouse gas emissions and the generation, storage, handling, transportation, treatment, disposal and remediation of hazardous substances and waste materials. At December 31, 2017, the Corporation had accrued obligations of $114 million ($145 million at December 31, 2016) for probable environmental remediation and restoration costs, including $19 million ($20 million at December 31, 2016) for the remediation of Superfund sites. This is management's best estimate of the costs for remediation and restoration with respect to environmental matters for which the Corporation has accrued liabilities, although it is reasonably possible that the ultimate cost with respect to these particular matters could range up to approximately three times that amount. Costs and capital expenditures relating to environmental, health or safety matters are subject to evolving regulatory requirements and depend on the timing of the promulgation and enforcement of specific standards which impose the requirements. Moreover, changes in environmental regulations could inhibit or interrupt the Corporation's operations, or require modifications to its facilities. Accordingly, environmental, health or safety regulatory matters could result in significant unanticipated costs or liabilities.
Litigation: The Corporation is party to a number of claims and lawsuits arising out of the normal course of business with respect to commercial matters, including product liability, governmental regulation and other actions.
The Corporation is involved in a number of legal proceedings and claims with both private and governmental parties. These cover a wide range of matters, including, but not limited to: product liability; trade regulation; governmental regulatory proceedings; health, safety and environmental matters; employment; patents; contracts; taxes; and commercial disputes. With the exception of the possible effect of the asbestos-related liability described below, it is the opinion of the Corporation's management that the possibility is remote that the aggregate of all such claims and lawsuits will have a material adverse impact on the Corporation's consolidated financial statements.
The Corporation is and has been involved in a large number of asbestos-related suits filed primarily in state courts during the past four decades. At December 31, 2017, the Corporation's total asbestos-related liability for pending and future claims, including future defense and processing costs, was $1,369 million ($1,490 million at December 31, 2016). See Notes 1 and 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for more information on asbestos-related matters.
Health and Safety: Increased concerns regarding the safe use of chemicals in commerce and their potential impact on the environment have resulted in more restrictive regulations and could lead to new regulations.
Concerns regarding the safe use of chemicals in commerce and their potential impact on health and the environment reflect a growing trend in societal demands for increasing levels of product safety and environmental protection. These concerns could manifest themselves in stockholder proposals, preferred purchasing and continued pressure for more stringent regulatory intervention. These concerns could also influence public perceptions, the viability of the Corporation's products, the Corporation's reputation and the cost to comply with regulations. In addition, terrorist attacks and natural disasters have increased concerns about the security and safety of chemical production and distribution. These concerns could have a negative impact on the Corporation's results of operations.
Local, state, federal and foreign governments continue to propose new regulations related to the security of chemical plant locations and the transportation of hazardous chemicals, which could result in higher operating costs.
Operational Event: A significant operational event could negatively impact the Corporation's results of operations.
As a diversified chemical manufacturing company, the Corporation's operations, the transportation of products, cyber-attacks or severe weather conditions and other natural phenomena (such as drought, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, etc.) could result in an unplanned event that could be significant in scale and could negatively impact operations, neighbors or the public at large, which could have a negative impact on the Corporation's results of operations.