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2021 Annual Report

Progress Arises from Change.

2021 Annual Report

 

Independent Auditor’s Report

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To Continental Aktiengesellschaft, Hanover

Report on the Audit of the Consolidated Financial Statements and of the Consolidated Management Report

Audit opinions

We have audited the consolidated financial statements of Continental Aktiengesellschaft, Hanover, and its subsidiaries (the Group), which comprise the consolidated statement of financial position as at December 31, 2021, the consolidated statement of comprehensive income, consolidated statement of income, consolidated statement of changes in equity and consolidated statement of cash flows for the financial year from January 1 to December 31, 2021, and the notes to the consolidated financial statements, including a summary of significant accounting policies. In addition, we have audited the consolidated management report of Continental Aktiengesellschaft, which is combined with the Company’s management report – comprising the content included to comply with German legal requirements and the non-financial statement pursuant to Section 289b (1) of the German Commercial Code (Handelsgesetzbuch – HGB) and Section 315b (1) HGB included in the “Sustainability and Combined Non-Financial Statement” section of the consolidated management report – for the financial year from January 1 to December 31, 2021.

In our opinion, on the basis of the knowledge obtained in the audit,

  • the accompanying consolidated financial statements comply, in all material respects, with the IFRSs as adopted by the EU and the additional requirements of German commercial law pursuant to Section 315e (1) HGB and, in compliance with these requirements, give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities and financial position of the Group as at December 31, 2021, and of its financial performance for the financial year from January 1 to December 31, 2021, and
  • the accompanying consolidated management report as a whole provides an appropriate view of the Group’s position. In all material respects, this consolidated management report is consistent with the consolidated financial statements, complies with German legal requirements and appropriately presents the opportunities and risks of future development.

Pursuant to Section 322 (3) Sentence 1 HGB, we declare that our audit has not led to any reservations relating to the legal compliance of the consolidated financial statements and of the consolidated management report.

Basis for the audit opinions

We conducted our audit of the consolidated financial statements and of the consolidated management report in accordance with Section 317 HGB and the EU Audit Regulation (No. 537/2014, referred to subsequently as “EU Audit Regulation”) in compliance with German Generally Accepted Standards for Financial Statement Audits promulgated by the Institute of Public Auditors in Germany (Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer, IDW). Our responsibilities under those requirements and principles are further described in the “auditor’s responsibilities for the audit of the consolidated financial statements and of the consolidated management report” section of our auditor’s report. We are independent of the group entities in accordance with the requirements of European law and German commercial and professional law, and we have fulfilled our other German professional responsibilities in accordance with these requirements. In addition, in accordance with Article 10 (2) (f) of the EU Audit Regulation, we declare that we have not provided non-audit services prohibited under Article 5 (1) of the EU Audit Regulation. We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our audit opinions on the consolidated financial statements and on the consolidated management report.

Key audit matters in the audit of the consolidated financial statements

Key audit matters are those matters that, in our professional judgment, were of most significance in our audit of the consolidated financial statements for the financial year from January 1 to December 31, 2021. These matters were addressed in the context of our audit of the consolidated financial statements as a whole and in forming our audit opinion thereon; we do not provide a separate audit opinion on these matters.

In our view, the matters of most significance in our audit were as follows:

  • Recoverability of goodwill
  • Accounting treatment of deferred taxes

Our presentation of these key audit matters has been structured in each case as follows:

  • Matter and issue
  • Audit approach and findings
  • Reference to further information

Hereinafter we present the key audit matters:

Recoverability of goodwill

  • In the Company’s consolidated financial statements, goodwill amounting to a total of €3,711.8 million (10.4% of total assets and 29.4% of total equity) was reported. Goodwill is tested for impairment by the Company once a year or when there are indications of impairment to determine any possible need for writedowns. The impairment test is carried out at the level of the groups of cash-generating units to which the relevant goodwill is allocated. The carrying amount of the relevant cash-generating units, including goodwill, is compared with the corresponding recoverable amount in the context of the impairment test. The recoverable amount is the higher of fair value less costs of disposal and the value in use. The Company generally determines the recoverable amount using the value in use. The present value of the future cash flows from the respective group of cash-generating units normally serves as the basis of valuation. Present values are calculated using discounted cash flow models. For this purpose, the long-term planning for the cash-generating units adopted by the executive directors forms the starting point which is extrapolated based on assumptions about long-term rates of growth. Expectations relating to future market developments and assumptions about the development of macroeconomic factors are also taken into account. The discount rate used is the weighted average cost of capital for the respective group of cash-generating units. The impairment test determined that no write-downs were necessary.

    The outcome of this valuation is dependent to a large extent on the estimates made by the executive directors with respect to the future cash flows from the respective group of cash-generating units, the discount rate used, the rate of growth and other assumptions, and is therefore subject to considerable uncertainty. Against this background and due to the complex nature of the valuation, this matter was of particular significance in the context of our audit.
  • As part of our audit we assessed the methodology used by the Company for the purposes of conducting the impairment tests, among other things, with the assistance of our internal specialists from Valuation, Modeling & Analytics. After matching the future cash inflows used for the calculation against the long-term planning for the cash-generating units adopted by the executive directors, we assessed the appropriateness of the calculation, in particular by reconciling it with general and sector-specific market expectations. In addition, we assessed the appropriate consideration of the costs of group functions. In the knowledge that even relatively small changes in the discount rate applied can have a material impact on the value of the entity calculated in this way, we focused our testing in particular on the parameters used to determine the discount rate applied, and assessed the calculation model. In order to reflect the uncertainty inherent in the projections, we evaluated the sensitivity analyses performed by the Company on the effect of potential changes in revenue, the discount rate and the EBIT margin on the recoverable amount. Taking into account the information available, we determined that the carrying amounts of the cash-generating units, including the allocated goodwill, were adequately covered by the discounted future cash flows.

    In addition, we assessed whether the disclosures in the notes relating to the recoverability of goodwill were appropriate and complete.

    Overall, the valuation parameters and assumptions used by the executive directors are in line with our expectations and are also within the ranges considered by us to be reasonable.
  • The Company’s disclosures on goodwill are contained in Notes 2 and 15 of the notes to the consolidated financial statements.

Accounting treatment of deferred taxes

  • In the consolidated financial statements of the Company, deferred tax assets amounting to €2,529.5 million (7.1% of total assets and 20.0% of total equity) after netting are reported, of which €674.6 million relates to tax loss carryforwards. Deferred tax assets amounting to €4,028.5 million were recognized before netting with matching deferred tax liabilities. These items were recognized to the extent that the executive directors consider it probable that taxable profit will be available in the foreseeable future which will enable the deductible temporary differences and unused tax losses to be utilized. For this purpose, insofar as sufficient deferred tax liabilities are not available, future taxable profits are projected on the basis of the business plan adopted by the executive directors. No deferred tax assets were recognized in respect of deductible temporary differences and unused tax losses amounting in total to €2,935.0 million since it is not probable that they will be utilized for tax purposes by means of offset against taxable profits.

    In our view, the accounting treatment of deferred taxes was of particular significance in the context of our audit, as it depends to a large extent on the estimates and assumptions made by the executive directors and is therefore subject to uncertainties.
  • As part of our audit of the recoverability of deferred tax assets and with the assistance of our specialists from Tax Reporting & Strategy, among other things, we assessed the internal processes and controls for recording tax matters, as well as the methodology used for the determination, accounting treatment and measurement of deferred taxes. We also assessed the recoverability of the deferred tax assets relating to deductible temporary differences and unused tax losses on the basis of internal forecasts of the Company’s and its subsidiaries’ future earnings situation for tax purposes, and the appropriateness of the underlying estimates and assumptions.

    Based on our audit procedures, we were able to satisfy ourselves that the estimates and assumptions made by the executive directors are substantiated and sufficiently documented.
  • The Company’s disclosures relating to deferred taxes are contained in Note 21 of the notes to the consolidated financial statements.

Emphasis of matter – immanent risk due to uncertainties regarding the legal conformity of the interpretation of the EU Taxonomy Regulation

We draw attention to the statements made by the executive directors in the “Information in Accordance with the EU Taxonomy Regulation” section of the non-financial statement pursuant to Section 289b (1) HGB and Section 315b (1) HGB contained in the “Sustainability and Combined Non-Financial Statement” section of the consolidated management report, which describe how the EU Taxonomy Regulation and the delegated acts issued thereunder contain wording and terms that are still subject to interpretation uncertainties. The executive directors have disclosed their interpretation of the EU Taxonomy Regulation and the delegated acts adopted thereunder. Due to the immanent risk that indeterminate legal terms may be interpreted differently, the legal conformity of the interpretation is subject to uncertainties. Our audit opinion on the consolidated management report is not modified in respect of this matter.

Other information

The executive directors are responsible for the other information.

The other information comprises

  • the corporate governance statement pursuant to Sections 289f and 315d HGB
  • all remaining parts of the annual report – excluding cross-references to external information – with the exception of the audited consolidated financial statements, the audited consolidated management report and our auditor’s report.

Our audit opinions on the consolidated financial statements and on the consolidated management report do not cover the other information, and consequently we do not express an audit opinion or any other form of assurance conclusion thereon.

In connection with our audit, our responsibility is to read the other information mentioned above and, in so doing, to consider whether the other information

  • is materially inconsistent with the consolidated financial statements, with the consolidated management report disclosures audited in terms of content or with our knowledge obtained in the audit, or
  • otherwise appears to be materially misstated.

Responsibilities of the executive directors and the Supervisory Board for the consolidated financial statements and the consolidated management report

The executive directors are responsible for the preparation of the consolidated financial statements that comply, in all material respects, with IFRSs as adopted by the EU and the additional requirements of German commercial law pursuant to Section 315e (1) HGB and for ensuring that the consolidated financial statements, in compliance with these requirements, give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities, financial position and financial performance of the Group. In addition, the executive directors are responsible for such internal control as they have determined 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 executive directors are responsible for assessing the Group’s ability to continue as a going concern. They also have the responsibility for disclosing, as applicable, matters related to going concern. In addition, they are responsible for financial reporting based on the going concern basis of accounting unless there is an intention to liquidate the Group or to cease operations, or there is no realistic alternative but to do so.

Furthermore, the executive directors are responsible for the preparation of the consolidated management report that, as a whole, provides an appropriate view of the Group’s position and is, in all material respects, consistent with the consolidated financial statements, complies with German legal requirements and appropriately presents the opportunities and risks of future development. In addition, the executive directors are responsible for such arrangements and measures (systems) as they have considered necessary to enable the preparation of a consolidated management report that is in accordance with the applicable German legal requirements, and to be able to provide sufficient appropriate evidence for the assertions in the consolidated management report.

The Supervisory Board is responsible for overseeing the Group’s financial reporting process for the preparation of the consolidated financial statements and of the consolidated management report.

Auditor’s responsibilities for the audit of the consolidated financial statements and of the consolidated management report

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 whether the consolidated management report as a whole provides an appropriate view of the Group’s position and, in all material respects, is consistent with the consolidated financial statements and the knowledge obtained in the audit, complies with the German legal requirements and appropriately presents the opportunities and risks of future development, as well as to issue an auditor’s report that includes our audit opinions on the consolidated financial statements and on the consolidated management report.

Reasonable assurance is a high level of assurance, but is not a guarantee that an audit conducted in accordance with Section 317 HGB and the EU Audit Regulation and in compliance with German Generally Accepted Standards for Financial Statement Audits promulgated by IDW will always detect a material misstatement. 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 and this consolidated management report.

We exercise professional judgment and maintain professional skepticism throughout the audit.

We also

  • Identify and assess the risks of material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements and of the consolidated management report, whether due to fraud or error, design and perform audit procedures responsive to those risks, and obtain audit evidence that is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our audit opinions.

    The risk of not detecting a material misstatement resulting from fraud is higher than for one resulting from error, as fraud may involve collusion, forgery, intentional omissions, misrepresentations or the override of internal controls.
  • Obtain an understanding of internal control relevant to the audit of the consolidated financial statements and of arrangements and measures (systems) relevant to the audit of the consolidated management report in order to design audit procedures that are appropriate in the circumstances, but not for the purpose of expressing an audit opinion on the effectiveness of these systems.
  • Evaluate the appropriateness of accounting policies used by the executive directors and the reasonableness of estimates made by the executive directors and related disclosures.
  • Conclude on the appropriateness of the executive directors’ use of the going concern basis of accounting and, based on the audit evidence obtained, whether a material uncertainty exists related to events or conditions that may cast significant doubt on the Group’s ability to continue as a going concern. If we conclude that a material uncertainty exists, we are required to draw attention in the auditor’s report to the related disclosures in the consolidated financial statements and in the consolidated management report or, if such disclosures are inadequate, to modify our respective audit opinions. Our conclusions are based on the audit evidence obtained up to the date of our auditor’s report. However, future events or conditions may cause the Group to cease to be able to continue as a going concern.
  • Evaluate the overall presentation, structure and content of the consolidated financial statements, including the disclosures, and whether the consolidated financial statements present the underlying transactions and events in a manner that the consolidated financial statements give a true and fair view of the assets, liabilities, financial position and financial performance of the Group in compliance with IFRSs as adopted by the EU and the additional requirements of German commercial law pursuant to Section 315e (1) HGB.
  • Obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence regarding the financial information of the entities or business activities within the Group to express audit opinions on the consolidated financial statements and on the consolidated management report. We are responsible for the direction, supervision and performance of the group audit. We remain solely responsible for our audit opinions.
  • Evaluate the consistency of the consolidated management report with the consolidated financial statements, its conformity with German law, and the view of the Group’s position it provides.
  • Perform audit procedures on the prospective information presented by the executive directors in the consolidated management report. On the basis of sufficient appropriate audit evidence we evaluate, in particular, the significant assumptions used by the executive directors as a basis for the prospective information and evaluate the proper derivation of the prospective information from these assumptions. We do not express a separate audit opinion on the prospective information and on the assumptions used as a basis. There is a substantial unavoidable risk that future events will differ materially from the prospective information.

We communicate with those charged with governance regarding, among other matters, the planned scope and timing of the audit and significant audit findings, including any significant deficiencies in internal control that we identify during our audit.

We also provide those charged with governance with a statement that we have complied with the relevant independence requirements, and communicate with them all relationships and other matters that may reasonably be thought to bear on our independence and, where applicable, the related safeguards.

From the matters communicated with those charged with governance, we determine those matters that were of most significance in the audit of the consolidated financial statements of the current period and are therefore the key audit matters. We describe these matters in our auditor’s report unless law or regulation precludes public disclosure about the matter.

Other Legal and Regulatory Requirements

Report on the assurance on the electronic rendering of the consolidated financial statements and the consolidated management report prepared for publication purposes in accordance with Section 317 (3a) HGB


Assurance opinion

We have performed assurance work in accordance with Section 317 (3a) HGB to obtain reasonable assurance as to whether the rendering of the consolidated financial statements and the consolidated management report (hereinafter the “ESEF documents”) contained in the electronic file Continental_AG_KAuKLB_ESEF-2021-12- 31.zip and prepared for publication purposes complies in all material respects with the requirements of Section 328 (1) HGB for the electronic reporting format (“ESEF format”). In accordance with German legal requirements, this assurance work extends only to the conversion of the information contained in the consolidated financial statements and the consolidated management report into the ESEF format and therefore relates neither to the information contained within these renderings nor to any other information contained in the electronic file identified above.

In our opinion, the rendering of the consolidated financial statements and the consolidated management report contained in the electronic file identified above and prepared for publication purposes complies in all material respects with the requirements of Section 328 (1) HGB for the electronic reporting format. Beyond this assurance opinion and our audit opinion on the accompanying consolidated financial statements and the accompanying consolidated management report for the financial year from January 1 to December 31, 2021, contained in the report on the audit of the consolidated financial statements and on the consolidated management report above, we do not express any assurance opinion on the information contained within these renderings or on the other information contained in the electronic file identified above.

Basis for the assurance opinion

We conducted our assurance work on the rendering of the consolidated financial statements and the consolidated management report contained in the electronic file identified above in accordance with Section 317 (3a) HGB and the IDW Assurance Standard: Assurance Work on the Electronic Rendering of Financial Statements and Management Reports Prepared for Publication Purposes in Accordance with Section 317 (3a) HGB (IDW AsS 410 (10.2021)) and the International Standard on Assurance Engagements 3000 (Revised). Our responsibility in accordance therewith is further described in the “auditor’s responsibilities for the assurance work on the ESEF documents” section. Our audit firm applies the IDW Standard on Quality Management 1: Requirements for Quality Management in the Audit Firm (IDW QS 1).

Responsibilities of the executive directors and the Supervisory Board for the ESEF documents

The executive directors of the Company are responsible for the preparation of the ESEF documents including the electronic renderings of the consolidated financial statements and the consolidated management report in accordance with Section 328 (1) Sentence 4 No. 1 HGB and for the tagging of the consolidated financial statements in accordance with Section 328 (1) Sentence 4 No. 2 HGB.

In addition, the executive directors of the Company are responsible for such internal control as they have considered necessary to enable the preparation of ESEF documents that are free from material non-compliance with the requirements of Section 328 (1) HGB for the electronic reporting format, whether due to fraud or error.

The Supervisory Board is responsible for overseeing the process for preparing the ESEF documents as part of the financial reporting process.

Auditor’s responsibilities for the assurance work on the ESEF documents

Our objective is to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the ESEF documents are free from material non-compliance with the requirements of Section 328 (1) HGB, whether due to fraud or error. We exercise professional judgment and maintain professional skepticism throughout the audit. We also

  • Identify and assess the risks of material non-compliance with the requirements of Section 328 (1) HGB, whether due to fraud or error, design and perform assurance procedures responsive to those risks, and obtain assurance evidence that is sufficient and appropriate to provide a basis for our assurance opinion.
  • Obtain an understanding of internal control relevant to the assurance work on the ESEF documents in order to design assurance procedures that are appropriate in the circumstances, but not for the purpose of expressing an assurance opinion on the effectiveness of these controls.
  • Evaluate the technical validity of the ESEF documents, i.e. whether the electronic file containing the ESEF documents meets the requirements of Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/815 in the version in force at the date of the consolidated financial statements on the technical specification for this electronic file.
  • Evaluate whether the ESEF documents provide an XHTML rendering with content equivalent to the audited consolidated financial statements and to the audited consolidated management report.
  • Evaluate whether the tagging of the ESEF documents with Inline XBRL technology (iXBRL) in accordance with the requirements of Articles 4 and 6 of Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/815, in the version in force at the date of the consolidated financial statements, enables an appropriate and complete machine-readable XBRL copy of the XHTML rendering.

Further information pursuant to Article 10 of the EU Audit Regulation

We were elected as auditor by the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting on April 29, 2021. We were engaged by the Supervisory Board on December 10, 2021. We have been the auditor of Continental Aktiengesellschaft, Hanover, without interruption since the financial year 2021.

We declare that the audit opinions expressed in this auditor’s report are consistent with the additional report to the Audit Committee pursuant to Article 11 of the EU Audit Regulation (long-form audit report).

Reference to Another Matter – Use of the Auditor’s Report

Our auditor’s report must always be read together with the audited consolidated financial statements and the audited consolidated management report as well as the assured ESEF documents. The consolidated financial statements and the consolidated management report converted to the ESEF format – including the versions to be published in the German Federal Gazette (Bundesanzeiger) – are merely electronic renderings of the audited consolidated financial statements and the audited consolidated management report and do not take their place. In particular, the report on the assurance on the electronic rendering of the consolidated financial statements and the consolidated management report prepared for publication purposes in accordance with Section 317 (3a) HGB and our assurance opinion contained therein are to be used solely together with the assured ESEF documents made available in electronic form.

Note on Supplementary Audit

We issue this auditor’s report on the consolidated financial statements and amended consolidated management report as well as on the amended electronic rendering of the consolidated financial statements and the consolidated management report contained in the file Continental_AG_KAuKLB_ESEF-2021-12-31.zip and prepared for publication purposes on the basis of our audit, duly completed as at March 2, 2022, and our supplementary audit completed as at March 15, 2022, related to the amendments in the “Report on Risks and Opportunities” and “Report on Expected Developments” of the consolidated management report as well as to the related amendments of the ESEF documents. We refer to the presentation of the amendments by the executive directors in the amended consolidated management report, sections “Material Risks” and “Outlook for the Continental Group.”

German public auditor responsible for the engagement

The German public auditor responsible for the engagement is Sven Rosorius.

Hanover, March 2, 2022/limited to the amendments stated in the "Note on Supplementary Audit" section above: March 15, 2022

PricewaterhouseCoopers GmbH Wirtschaftsprüfungsgesellschaft

Harald Kayser
Wirtschaftsprüfer
(German Public Auditor)

Sven Rosorius
Wirtschaftsprüfer
(German Public Auditor)