Europe’s IR Heroes

Germany is the daddy of Europe. Beyond the country’s manufacturing prowess, represented on the street by the world-famous car marques that roll off the production lines in Stuttgart, Wolfsburg and Munich, the German taxpayer also handles the wheel and picks up the bill when it comes time to bail out fellow members of the Eurozone, like Ireland, Greece and Portugal. But is Germany beginning to assert its dominance over the European IR community as well?

This year will be the second time XbInsight’s European investor perception study, which underpins the IR Magazine Europe Awards, has been produced on a pan-European basis. At various times it has been produced separately for the UK, Ireland, continental Europe, Russia & the CIS, and the Nordic countries. But as both the investment and corporate communities have come to treat Europe as a single market, the research and the awards have fallen into line.

There are 41 German companies on the short lists for the IR Magazine Europe Awards 2011: the most from any single country (excluding the country-specific awards). This figure is up from 38 in 2010 and contrasts with the UK – the previous leader – whose total has fallen from 41 to 37.

Once again, BASF, the winner of last year’s grand prix for a large-cap firm, tops the table of the most short-listed European companies. The German chemicals giant is short-listed 10 times this year, beating its tally of eight in 2010 when it went on to win three awards (adding regional and sector awards to its grand prix). In fact, German companies come out on top whichever way you look at the data. They account for 22 of the top 100 European companies ranked by total points across all awards categories, up from 18 last year.

To put this in context, our researchers spoke to more than 700 portfolio managers and analysts this year, more than a third (255) of whom are UK-based, compared with 68 in Germany, 55 in France and 47 in the Netherlands.

The Nordic countries are the other notable regional gainers in 2011, led by the Danes, up from four to seven companies in the top 100 this year. Finland has six, up from two in 2010, and Sweden now has four; last year its highest-ranked entry was Swedbank at number 118.

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[Article by James Chambers, IR magazine]