Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
The Company sells and purchases products and services in currencies other than the U.S. dollar and pays variable interest rates on borrowings under certain credit facilities. Consequently, the Company is subject to profitability risk arising from exchange and interest rate movements. The Company may use a variety of financial and derivative instruments to manage foreign currency and interest rate risks. The Company does not enter into any of these instruments for trading purposes to generate revenue. Rather, the Company’s objective in managing these risks is to reduce fluctuations in earnings and cash flows associated with changes in foreign currency exchange and interest rates.
The Company may use forward exchange contracts, options and other hedging activities to hedge the U.S. dollar value resulting from anticipated currency transactions and net monetary asset and liability positions. At December 30, 2016, the currencies to which the Company had the most significant balance sheet exchange rate exposure were the euro, Swiss franc, Canadian dollar, British pound, Japanese yen, Australian dollar, Chinese yuan renminbi and South Korean won. It is not possible to determine the true impact of currency rate changes; however, the direct translation effect on net sales and net earnings can be estimated. In 2016, changes in currency translation rates reduced sales and net earnings by approximately $12 million and $2 million, respectively. In 2015, changes in currency translation rates reduced sales and net earnings by approximately $58 million and $20 million, respectively. In 2014, changes in currency translation rates reduced sales and net earnings by approximately $3 million and $2 million, respectively.
We are focused on achieving full-year sales growth in all geographic regions and reportable segments in 2017. Our full-year 2017 outlook is for low single-digit organic sales growth on a constant currency basis, with low single-digit growth expected in each geographic region of the world. Our Process segment experienced headwinds throughout 2016 and remains a source of caution as we enter 2017, while the outlook for our Contractor segment is for mid single-digit sales growth in 2017.
At January 2017 exchange rates, assuming the same volumes, mix of products and mix of business by currency as in 2016, the movement in foreign currencies would be a headwind of approximately 1 percent on sales and 3 percent on earnings in 2017.
The Company’s backlog is typically small compared to annual sales and is not a good indicator of future business levels. In addition to economic growth, the successful launch of new products and expanded distribution coverage, the sales outlook is dependent on many factors, including realization of price increases and stable foreign currency exchange rates.
The Company desires to take advantage of the “safe harbor” provisions regarding forward-looking statements of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and is filing this Cautionary Statement in order to do so. From time to time various forms filed by our Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including this Form 10-K and our Form 10-Qs and Form 8-Ks, and other disclosures, including our 2016 Overview report, press releases, earnings releases, analyst briefings, conference calls and other written documents or oral statements released by our Company, may contain forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements generally use words such as “expect,” “foresee,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “project,” “should,” “estimate,” “will,” and similar expressions, and reflect our Company’s expectations concerning the future. All forecasts and projections are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based upon currently available information, but various risks and uncertainties may cause our Company’s actual results to differ materially from those expressed in these statements. The Company undertakes no obligation to update these statements in light of new information or future events.
Future results could differ materially from those expressed, due to the impact of changes in various factors. These risk factors include, but are not limited to, the factors discussed in Item 1A of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. Shareholders, potential investors and other readers are urged to consider these factors in evaluating forward-looking statements and are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements.
Investors should realize that factors other than those identified in Item 1A might prove important to the Company’s future results. It is not possible for management to identify each and every factor that may have an impact on the Company’s operations in the future as new factors can develop from time to time.