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Management discussion
International Business Machines Corporation and Subsidiary Companies

Looking forward

Global Financing’s financial position provides flexibility and funding capacity which enables the company to be well positioned in the current environment. Global Financing’s assets and new financing volumes are primarily IBM products and services financed to the company’s clients and business partners, and substantially all financing assets are IT related assets which provide a stable base of business for future growth.

The company’s System z and high-end converged System p servers announced in 2008 are a significant financing opportunity. Global Financing’s offerings are competitive and available to clients as a result of the company’s borrowing cost and access to the capital markets. Overall, Global Financing’s originations will be dependent upon the demand for IT products and services as well as client participation rates.

Although funding costs have risen, IBM has continued to access both the short-term commercial paper market and the medium and long-term debt markets. A protracted period where IBM could not access the capital markets would likely lead to a slowdown in originations.

Interest rates and the overall economy (including currency fluctuations) will have an effect on both revenue and gross profit. The company’s interest rate risk management policy, however, combined with the Global Financing pricing strategy, should mitigate gross margin erosion due to changes in interest rates.

The economy could impact the credit quality of the Global Financing receivables portfolio and therefore the level of provision for bad debts. Global Financing will continue to apply rigorous credit policies in both the origination of new business and the evaluation of the existing portfolio.

As discussed in Financial condition, Global Financing has historically been able to manage residual value risk both through insight into the company’s product cycles, as well as through its remarketing business.

Global Financing has policies in place to manage each of the key risks involved in financing. These policies, combined with product and client knowledge, should allow for the prudent management of the business going forward, even during periods of uncertainty with respect to the economy.

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