|INTUITIVE SURGICAL INC filed this Form 10-K on 02/02/2018|
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On June 23, 2016, the United Kingdom (the “UK”) held a referendum in which voters approved an exit from the European Union (the “EU”), commonly referred to as “Brexit.” On March 29, 2017, the UK formally notified the EU of its intention to withdraw pursuant to Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty. The withdrawal of the UK from the EU will take effect either on the effective date of the withdrawal agreement or, in the absence of agreement, two years after the UK provided its notice of withdrawal. As a result of the referendum, the British government has begun negotiating the terms of the UK’s future relationship with the EU, including the terms of trade between the UK and the EU. Although it is unknown what those terms will be, it is possible that there will be greater restrictions on imports and exports between the UK and EU countries, increased regulatory complexities, and economic and political uncertainty in the region.
In addition, the U.S. federal government has made recent proposals and explicit statements about its intention to make changes to U.S. trade policy, including signing an executive order to withdraw from the negotiating process of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, renegotiate the terms of NAFTA, and imposing border taxes on imports into the U.S. We manufacture a majority of the instruments we sell in Mexico and any legislation enacted that impacts the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico and/or the continuity of NAFTA could adversely affect our operations and financial results. If enacted, any legislation taken by the U.S. federal government that restricts trade, such as tariffs, trade barriers, and other protectionist or retaliatory measures taken by governments in Europe, Asia, and other countries, could adversely impact our ability to sell products and services in our OUS markets.
Furthermore, a large portion of our OUS sales are denominated in U.S. dollars. As a result, an increase in the value of the U.S. dollar relative to foreign currencies could make our products less competitive and/or less affordable in OUS markets.
If we are unable to meet and manage these risks, our OUS operations may not be successful, which would limit the growth of our business and could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, result of operations, or cash flows.
WE UTILIZE DISTRIBUTORS FOR A PORTION OF OUR SALES, WHICH SUBJECTS US TO A NUMBER OF RISKS THAT COULD HARM OUR BUSINESS.
We have strategic relationships with a number of key distributors for sales and service of our products in certain foreign countries. If these strategic relationships are terminated and not replaced, our revenues and/or ability to sell or service our products in the markets serviced by these distributors could be adversely affected. In addition, we may be named as a defendant in lawsuits against our distributors related to sales or service of our products performed by them. Please see our risk factor below titled “We Are Subject to Product Liability and Negligence Claims Relating to the Use of Our Products and Other Legal Proceedings That Could Materially Adversely Affect Our Financial Condition, Divert Management's Attention, and Harm Our Business.” The actions of our distributors may affect our ability to effectively market our products in certain foreign countries or regulatory jurisdictions if a distributor holds the regulatory authorization in such countries or within such regions and causes, by action or inaction, the suspension of such marketing authorization or sanctions for non-compliance. It may be difficult, expensive, and time consuming for us to re-establish market access or regulatory compliance in such case.
WE ARE EXPOSED TO THE CREDIT RISK OF SOME OF OUR CUSTOMERS, WHICH COULD RESULT IN MATERIAL LOSSES.
We believe customer financing through leasing is an important consideration for some of our customers and have experienced an increase in demand for customer financing. We may experience loss from a customer’s failure to make payments according to the contractual lease terms. Our exposure to the credit risks relating to our lease financing arrangements may increase if our customers are adversely affected by changes in healthcare laws, coverage and reimbursement, economic pressures or uncertainty, or other customer-specific factors.
Although we have programs in place that are designed to monitor and mitigate the associated risk, there can be no assurance that such programs will be effective in reducing credit risks relating to these lease financing arrangements. If the level of credit losses we experience in the future exceed our expectations, such losses could have a material adverse effect on our financial condition or results of operations.
WE MAY INCUR LOSSES ASSOCIATED WITH CURRENCY FLUCTUATIONS AND MAY NOT BE ABLE TO EFFECTIVELY HEDGE OUR EXPOSURE.
Our operating results are subject to volatility due to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates. Our primary exposure to fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates relates to revenue and operating expenses denominated in currencies other than the U.S. dollar. The weakening of foreign currencies relative to the U.S. dollar adversely affects our foreign currency-denominated revenue. Margins on OUS revenue could also be materially adversely affected by foreign currency exchange rate fluctuations as we may not be able to raise local prices to fully offset the strengthening of the U.S. dollar. Conversely, the strengthening of foreign
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