|CUMMINS INC filed this Form 10-K on 02/11/2019|
defending against a claim relating to our products, claims of this nature could cause our customers to lose confidence in our products and us.
Our operations are subject to increasingly stringent environmental laws and regulations.
Our plants and operations are subject to increasingly stringent environmental laws and regulations in all of the countries in which we operate, including laws and regulations governing air emission, discharges to water and the generation, handling, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal of waste materials. While we believe that we are in compliance in all material respects with these environmental laws and regulations, there can be no assurance that we will not be adversely impacted by costs, liabilities or claims with respect to existing or subsequently acquired operations, under either present laws and regulations or those that may be adopted or imposed in the future. We are also subject to laws requiring the cleanup of contaminated property. If a release of hazardous substances occurs at or from any of our current or former properties or at a landfill or another location where we have disposed of hazardous materials, we may be held liable for the contamination and the amount of such liability could be material.
Future bans or limitations on the use of diesel-powered vehicles or other applications could have a materially adverse impact on our business over the long term.
In an effort to limit greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change, multiple countries and cities have announced that they plan to implement a ban on the use in their cities or countries of diesel-powered products in the near or distant future. These countries include China, India and Germany. In addition, California government officials have called for the state to phase out sales of diesel-powered vehicles by 2040. To the extent that these types of bans are actually implemented in the future on a broad basis, or in one or more of our key markets, our business over the long-term could experience materially adverse impacts.
We are exposed to risks arising from the price and availability of energy.
The level of demand for our products and services is influenced in multiple ways by the price and availability of energy. High energy costs generally drive greater demand for better fuel economy in almost all countries in which we operate. Some of our engine products have been developed with a primary purpose of offering fuel economy improvements, and if energy costs decrease or increase less than expected, demand for these products may likewise decrease. The relative unavailability of electricity in some emerging market countries also influences demand for our electricity generating products, such as our diesel generators. If these countries add energy capacity by expanding their power grids at a rate equal to or faster than the growth in demand for energy, the demand for our generating products could also decrease or increase less than would otherwise be the case.
Significant declines in future financial and stock market conditions could diminish our pension plan asset performance and adversely impact our results of operations, financial condition and cash flow.
We sponsor both funded and unfunded domestic and foreign defined benefit pension and other retirement plans. Our pension cost and the required contributions to our pension plans are directly affected by the value of plan assets, the projected and actual rates of return on plan assets and the actuarial assumptions we use to measure our defined benefit pension plan obligations, including the discount rate at which future projected and accumulated pension obligations are discounted to a present value. We could experience increased pension cost due to a combination of factors, including the decreased investment performance of pension plan assets, decreases in the discount rate and changes in our assumptions relating to the expected return on plan assets.
Significant declines in future financial and stock market conditions could cause material losses in our pension plan assets, which could result in increased pension cost in future years and adversely impact our results of operations, financial condition and cash flow. Depending upon the severity of market declines and government regulatory changes, we may be legally obligated to make pension payments in the U.S. and perhaps other countries and these contributions could be material.
We may be adversely impacted by work stoppages and other labor matters.
At December 31, 2018, we employed approximately 62,610 persons worldwide. Approximately 21,460 of our employees worldwide are represented by various unions under collective bargaining agreements that expire between 2019 and 2022. While we have no reason to believe that we will be materially impacted by work stoppages or other labor matters, there can be no assurance that future issues with our labor unions will be resolved favorably or that we will not encounter future strikes, work stoppages, or other types of conflicts with labor unions or our employees. Any of these consequences may have an adverse effect on us or may limit our flexibility in dealing with our workforce. In addition, many of our customers and suppliers have unionized work forces. Work stoppages or slowdowns experienced by our customers or suppliers could result in slowdowns or closures that would have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and cash flow.