The Company also enters into long-term maintenance and repair contracts, whereby it is obligated to maintain equipment for its customers. The length of these contracts varies generally from two to five years. The contracts are typically fixed price on either machine hours or cost per hour, with provisions for inflationary and exchange adjustments. Due to the long-term nature of these contracts, there is a risk that maintenance costs may exceed the estimate, thereby resulting in a loss on the contract. These contracts are closely monitored for early warning signs of cost overruns. In addition, the manufacturer may, in certain circumstances, share in the cost overruns if profitability falls below a certain threshold.
The rate of exchange between the Canadian and U.S. dollar has an impact on revenue trends. The Canadian dollar averaged on par with the U.S. dollar in 2012 compared to US $0.99 in 2011, a 1.0% decrease. As nearly all of the equipment and parts sold in the Equipment Group are sourced in U.S. dollars, and Canadian dollar sales prices generally reflect changes in the rate of exchange, a stronger Canadian dollar can adversely affect revenues. The impact is not readily estimable as it is largely dependent on when customers order the equipment versus when it was sold. Bookings in a given period would more closely follow period-over-period changes in exchange rates. Sales of parts come from inventories maintained to service customer requirements. As a result, constant parts replenishment means that there is a lagging impact of changes in exchange rates. In CIMCO, sales are largely affected by the same factors. In addition, revenues from CIMCO's US subsidiary reflect changes in exchange rates on the translation of results, although this is not significant.
The Company transacts business in multiple currencies, the most significant of which are the Canadian dollar and the U.S. dollar. As a result, the Company has foreign currency exposure with respect to items denominated in foreign currencies.
The Company sources the majority of its products and major components from the United States. Consequently, reported costs of inventory and the transaction prices charged to customers for equipment and parts are affected by the relative strength of the Canadian dollar. The Company mitigates exchange rate risk by entering into foreign currency contracts to fix the cost of imported inventory where appropriate.
In addition, pricing to customers is customarily adjusted to reflect changes in the Canadian dollar landed cost of imported goods. Foreign exchange contracts reduce volatility by fixing landed costs related to specific customer orders and establishing a level of price stability for high-volume goods such as spare parts.
The Company does not enter into foreign exchange forward contracts for speculative purposes. The gains and losses on the foreign exchange forward contracts designated as cash flow hedges are intended to offset the translation losses and gains on the hedged foreign currency transactions when they occur.
As a result, the foreign exchange impact on earnings with respect to transactional activity is not significant.
The Company minimizes its interest rate risk by managing its portfolio of floating and fixed rate debt, as well as managing the term to maturity.
At December 31, 2012, 84% of the Company's debt portfolio was comprised of fixed rate debt. Fixed rate debt exposes the Company to future interest rate movements upon refinancing the debt at maturity. Floating rate debt exposes the Company to fluctuations in short-term interest rates by causing related interest payments and finance expense to vary.
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