Skip to main content

Relations with shareholders

The Company is committed to communicating its strategy and activities clearly to its shareholders and, to that end, maintains an active dialogue with investors through a planned programme of investor relations activities. The investor relations programme includes:

  • formal presentations of full year and half-year results and interim management statements;
  • briefing meetings with major institutional shareholders in the UK, the US and in Continental Europe after the half-year results and preliminary announcement, to ensure that the investor community receives a balanced and complete view of the Group’s performance and the issues faced by the Group;
  • regular meetings with institutional investors and analysts by the Chief Executive and the Chief Financial Officer to discuss business performance;
  • hosting investors and analysts sessions at which senior management from relevant operating companies deliver presentations which provide an overview of each of the individual businesses and operations;
  • attendance by senior executives across the business at relevant meetings and conferences throughout the year;
  • responding to enquiries from shareholders and analysts through the Company’s Investor Relations team; and
  • a section dedicated to shareholders on the Company’s website,

Overall responsibility for ensuring that there is effective communication with investors and that the Board understands the views of major shareholders on matters such as governance and strategy rests with the Chairman, who makes himself available to meet shareholders for this purpose.

The senior independent director and other members of the Board are also available to meet major investors on request. The senior independent director has a specific responsibility to be available to shareholders who have concerns, for whom contact with the Chairman, Chief Executive or Chief Financial Officer has either failed to resolve their concerns, or for whom such contact is inappropriate.

At the 2007 AGM, the shareholders approved amendments to the articles which enabled the Company to take advantage of the provisions in the Companies Act 2006 (effective from 20 January 2007) to communicate with its shareholders electronically. Following that approval, unless a shareholder has specifically asked to receive a hard copy, they will receive notification of the availability of the annual report on the Company’s website at For the 2009 financial year, shareholders will receive the notice of meeting and form of proxy in paper through the post unless they have previously opted to receive email communications. Shareholders continue to have the option to appoint proxies and give voting instructions electronically.

The principal communication with private investors is via the annual report and through the AGM, an occasion which is attended by all the Company’s directors and at which all shareholders present are given the opportunity to question the Chairman and the Board as well as the Chairmen of the Audit, Remuneration and Nominations and Governance Committees. After the AGM, shareholders can meet informally with directors.

A summary presentation of results and development plans is also given at the AGM before the Chairman deals with the formal business of the meeting. The AGM is broadcast live on the Group’s website,, and a recording of the webcast can subsequently be viewed on the website. All substantive resolutions at the Company’s AGMs are decided on a poll. The poll is conducted by the Company’s registrars and scrutinised by Electoral Reform Services. The proxy votes cast in relation to all resolutions, including details of votes withheld, are disclosed to those in attendance at the meeting and the results of the poll are published on the Company’s website and announced via the regulatory news service. Financial and other information is made available on the Company’s website,, which is regularly updated.