Report of the statutory auditor
Report on the audit of the consolidated financial statements
We have audited the consolidated financial statements of CPH Chemie + Papier Holding AG and its subsidiaries (the Group), which comprise the consolidated income statement for the year ended 31 December 2022, the consolidated balance sheet as at 31 December 2022, the consolidated cash flow statement and consolidated statement of changes in shareholders’ equity for the year then ended and notes to the consolidated financial statements, including a summary of significant accounting policies.
In our opinion, the consolidated financial statements give a true and fair view of the consolidated financial position of the Group as at 31 December 2022 and its consolidated financial performance and its consolidated cash flows for the year then ended in accordance with Swiss GAAP FER and comply with Swiss law.
Basis for opinion
We conducted our audit in accordance with Swiss law and Swiss Standards on Auditing (SA-CH). Our responsibilities under those provisions and standards are further described in the ‘Auditor’s responsibilities for the audit of the consolidated financial statements’ section of our report. We are independent of the Group in accordance with the provisions of Swiss law and the requirements of the Swiss audit profession, and we have fulfilled our other ethical responsibilities in accordance with these requirements.
We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our opinion.
Our audit approach
Overall Group materiality: CHF 7.0 million
Full scope audit work was concluded at seven Group companies in four countries. For two additional companies, specified audit procedures were performed. Our audit scope addressed 91% of the net sales of the Group.
Additionally, we concluded reviews at a further two Group companies, which represented an additional 6% of the net sales of the Group.
As key audit matter the following area of focus has been identified:
Assessment of the adequacy of the provisions for environmental protection measures
The scope of our audit was influenced by our application of materiality. Our audit opinion aims to provide reasonable assurance that the consolidated financial statements are free from material misstatement. Misstatements may arise due to fraud or error. They are considered material if, individually or in aggregate, they could reasonably be expected to influence the economic decisions of users taken on the basis of the consolidated financial statements.
Based on our professional judgement, we determined certain quantitative thresholds for materiality, including the overall Group materiality for the consolidated financial statements as a whole as set out in the table below. These, together with qualitative considerations, helped us to determine the scope of our audit and the nature, timing and extent of our audit procedures and to evaluate the effect of misstatements, both individually and in aggregate, on the consolidated financial statements as a whole.
Overall Group materiality
CHF 7.0 million
Rationale for the materiality benchmark applied
We chose net sales as the benchmark because, in our view, it is an appropriate benchmark given the Group’s volatile earnings performance in recent years, and it is a generally accepted benchmark for materiality considerations.
We tailored the scope of our audit in order to perform sufficient work to enable us to provide an opinion on the consolidated financial statements as a whole, taking into account the structure of the Group, the accounting processes and controls, and the industry in which the Group operates.
The audit strategy for the audit of the consolidated financial statements was determined taking into account the work performed by the Group auditor and the component auditors from the PwC network and from a third party. Where audits were performed by component auditors, we ensured that, as Group auditor, we were sufficiently involved in the audit in order to assess whether sufficient appropriate audit evidence was obtained from the work of the component auditors to provide a basis for our opinion. The involvement of the Group auditor was based on audit instructions and standardised reporting. In addition, it included telephone conferences with the component auditors and participation in audit closing meetings for selected components in which local management, the local auditor and selected Group representatives also participated.
Key audit matters
Key audit matters are those matters that, in our professional judgement, were of most significance in our audit of the consolidated financial statements of the current period. These matters were addressed in the context of our audit of the consolidated financial statements as a whole, and in forming our opinion thereon, and we do not provide a separate opinion on these matters.
Assessment of the adequacy of the provisions for environmental protection measures
Key audit matter
As at the balance sheet date, current and non-current provisions for environmental protection measures amounting to CHF 23.2 million have been recognised in connection with the closure and disposal of the production site at Uetikon and the obligation to decontaminate and absorb the costs of various landfills and properties.
In view of the magnitude of the future costs of the environmental protection measures and the significant estimates involved in calculating them, we consider the completeness and accuracy of these provisions as a key audit matter.
Information regarding the provisions for environmental protection measures can be found in notes 7 and 20 of the notes to the consolidated financial statements.
How our audit addressed the key audit matter
We performed the following audit procedures:
- Discussions with Management and the Finance and Auditing Committee.
- Review and assessment of Management memos and file notes concerning the amount of provisions recognised.
- Sample-based testing of the calculations of and the assumptions relating to the cost estimates of the environmental protection measures.
- Inspection of the contract awards, expert opinions and bids on which the calculations are based and of the correspondence, meeting minutes and cost overviews.
- Assessment of whether the disclosure of the provisions complies with the requirements of Swiss GAAP FER.
On the basis of our audit results, we consider the approach chosen by Management for recording and disclosure of the provisions for environmental protection measures to be reasonable.
The Board of Directors is responsible for the other information. The other information comprises the information included in the annual report, but does not include the financial statements, the consolidated financial statements, the remuneration report and our auditor’s reports thereon.
Our opinion on the consolidated financial statements does not cover the other information and we do not express any form of assurance conclusion thereon.
In connection with our audit of the consolidated financial statements, our responsibility is to read the other information and, in doing so, consider whether the other information is materially inconsistent with the consolidated financial statements or our knowledge obtained in the audit, or otherwise appears to be materially misstated.
If, based on the work we have performed, we conclude that there is a material misstatement of this other information, we are required to report that fact. We have nothing to report in this regard.
Board of Directors’ responsibilities for the consolidated financial statements
The Board of Directors is responsible for the preparation of the consolidated financial statements that give a true and fair view in accordance with Swiss GAAP FER and the provisions of Swiss law, and for such internal control as the Board of Directors determines is necessary to enable the preparation of consolidated financial statements that are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error.
In preparing the consolidated financial statements, the Board of Directors is responsible for assessing the Group’s ability to continue as a going concern, disclosing, as applicable, matters related to going concern and using the going concern basis of accounting unless the Board of Directors either intends to liquidate the Group or to cease operations, or has no realistic alternative but to do so.
Auditor’s responsibilities for the audit of the consolidated financial statements
Our objectives are to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the consolidated financial statements as a whole are free from material misstatement, whether due to fraud or error, and to issue an auditor’s report that includes our opinion. Reasonable assurance is a high level of assurance, but is not a guarantee that an audit conducted in accordance with Swiss law and SA-CH will always detect a material misstatement when it exists. Misstatements can arise from fraud or error and are considered material if, individually or in the aggregate, they could reasonably be expected to influence the economic decisions of users taken on the basis of these consolidated financial statements.
A more detailed description of our responsibilities for the audit of the consolidated financial statements can be found on the EXPERTsuisse website: http://www.expertsuisse.ch/en/audit-report. This description forms an integral part of our report.
Report on other legal and regulatory requirements
In accordance with article 728a paragraph 1 item 3 CO and PS-CH 890, we confirm that an internal control system exists which has been designed for the preparation of consolidated financial statements according to the instructions of the Board of Directors.
We recommend that the consolidated financial statements submitted to you be approved.
Auditor in charge
Zürich, 10 February 2023
PricewaterhouseCoopers AG, Birchstrasse 160, Postfach, 8050 Zürich, Telefon: +41 58 792 44 00, www.pwc.ch