Spotlight on the European IR Awards

The European IR awards evening is fast approaching. There are 33 unique companies on the short list for the sixteen pan-European awards, each of which will be presented at the ceremony at the Hilton Hotel Park Lane in London on June 30. A further 114 unique companies will compete for the 44 sector and country awards. In total, that makes 147 possible winners come Thursday of next week.

Most of these companies will feature in the Investor Perception Study, Europe, 2011, due for publication immediately after the awards. This is the study that identifies the winners and short-listed companies each year. It is compiled on the basis of around 750 calls with investors and analysts and includes profiles of the leading CEOs, CFOs and IROs in the European IR community.

This year, the report will launch the inaugural Euro Top 100: a new annual league table of the leading companies in the region, ranked in order of their overall scores in the survey.

But what have we learned after all that?

If nothing else, it is safe to say that we have become intimately familiar – even more so than usual – with the investor relations pages on each of these companies’ websites. We have spent weeks researching the team names, job titles and contact details for the shining lights in European IR. Sometimes companies can be surprisingly helpful. Often they are dismally closed shops. In some cases, the worst offenders only provide a generic email contact form. Not much of a relationship being encouraged there.

Ok, so a certain amount of caginess is understandable. After all, what IRO wants to be called on a regular basis by an IR service provider, a recruitment consultant or – heaven forbid – a journalist angling for an interview? A spam-filled email inbox can be even more of a nuisance.

But, at the same time, a company being accessible to investors and offering them different ways to stay connected is surely a rudimentary building block of IR best practice. The CEO, the CFO and the rest of senior management can be excused for keeping hold of their email addresses. Their primary job specification is not to be in regular communication with the markets. IROs, on the other hand, should be reachable.

What’s on your vcard?

With all that in mind, XbInsight revisited the corporate websites of the 33 unique companies short-listed for a pan-European award in the 2011 awards. For each, we checked the contacts section on the investor relations page to see what kind of information is readily available.

Straightaway we found that full transparency co-exists on the short list alongside reluctance to open up. For every generic phone number there are the companies who offer investors multiple ways to get in touch.

So, in order to evaluate the companies’ ‘accessibility’ in a fair and open way we have identified five categories of data (phone numbers, email addresses, IR team breakdown, team photographs and personal social media pages) and scored each of the 33 companies according to the completeness of the information provided.
The maximum score is an ever so traditional 10 out of 10.

Three companies share the highest score. On nine points, one short of the maximum, are Novo Nordisk of Denmark, Sligro Food Group of the Netherlands and Umicore of Belgium.

Click here for the rest of the article, including CHARTS >>

[Article by James Chambers and Silvia Molteni, IR magazine]

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