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Online Disclosure of the Largest Listed Companies in Eleven Central and Eastern European (CEE) Countries Improves; Second-Time Comparison with Peers in BRIC and Ukraine

Submitted by: Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program

Categories: Socially Responsible Investing, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Mar 05, 2007 – 01:50 PM EST

 

March 5, 2007 - Today, the PFS Program publishes its 12th semi-annual Survey of Online Investor Relations of the Ten Largest Listed Companies (by market capitalization) in eleven Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. PFS Program Manager Agnieszka Cenzartowicz, PFS Program Research Assistant Igor Solodovnik and Catherine Sykes, East-West Management Institute (EWMI) New York conducted the survey from January 2 through March 2, 2007.

Investor Relations Online: Survey of Websites of the Largest Listed Companies in CEE analyzes the websites of the ten largest listed companies in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovak Republic and Slovenia. For the second time, the survey provides comparisons with BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and Ukraine in order to compare online disclosure practices with peers in other emerging markets.

This survey analyzes the English-language websites and annual reports of the 10 largest listed companies in the aforementioned CEE countries in order to document the current disclosure practices of this 'blue-chip' peer group. Although the market capitalization of companies changes over time, these semi-annual surveys represent a snapshot of disclosure practices of the blue-chip peer group on a given day twice a year. Since the definition of the survey universe has remained the same since the first survey, the surveys provide time-series data for CEE blue-chip companies and thus enable the identification of online disclosure trends.

The survey provides current data as of February 15, 2007 and comparisons with the 11 previous surveys, published in August 2006, February 2006, August 2005, February 2005, August 2004, February 2004, August 2003, February 2003, August 2002, February 2002 and August 2001.

In this survey, disclosure in almost all categories remains at or reaches its highest level since the first survey was conducted in August 2001. This trend has been observed since February 2006 and may be viewed as sustainable. As of February 15, 2007 all companies surveyed in all 11 countries have a local language website. A large majority have an English-language website: including all 10 companies in surveyed in Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. However, while basic information about management and boards is now generally available online, detailed information is still lacking in many markets.

Beginning in 2004, the survey includes recommendations on the ideal corporate website and compares CEE companies to this ideal. This component of the survey is designed to help identify best practice and enables CEE companies to benchmark their disclosure against peers in the region against other emerging markets and against industry best practice according to standardized parameters. Here also, the time-series data permits identification of trends.

Survey results include the following:

  • Websites: Each of the 110 CEE companies surveyed has a local-language website. This is the third consecutive time since the first survey was conducted in August 2001 that each CEE company surveyed has a local-language website. 94% of the companies surveyed have an English-language website; the percentage has remained constant for the past 18 months.

  • Information on Management: 82% of the companies surveyed provide a list of management online; 53% provide additional information on management. The former category decreased slightly (5%) whereas the later increased significantly (15%) vis-a-vis August 2006.

  • Information on Board Members: 81% of the companies surveyed provide a list of board members online, whereas 40% provide additional information on their board members. The former category remained at the highest level reported since the first survey and the latter increased 7.5% to a level comparable to the highest level reported (41% in February 2006).

  • Comparisons with BRIC and Ukraine: On average, the largest listed companies in the BRIC countries equal or outperform their CEE peers in every category. However, in several categories the difference is minimal. In Ukraine, in contrast, the companies surveyed disclose less information in English than their peers in both BRIC and CEE.

    Complete survey results and report are now available online at: http://www.pfsprogram.org/capitalmarkets_research.php

    About the Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program

    The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) established the Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program in 1999 as a public-private partnership to help complete reforms necessary to create sound, private and well-functioning financial sectors in the eight Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries that have since joined the European Union. In 2005, the geographical focus of the program shifted to South East Europe (SEE).

    East-West Management Institute (EWMI), a New York-based not-for-profit organization, is currently the primary implementing partner.

    The PFS Program is mandated to fill remaining gaps in the institutional development of the financial sector in CEE and SEE countries through regional integration and cooperation, selective technical assistance programs and the practical application of lessons learned in neighboring countries. The substantive areas covered under the PFS Program are: accounting, auditing, banking, capital markets, insurance and pension reform. For more information, please visit the PFS Program website at www.pfsprogram.org

  • For more information, please contact:

    Geoffrey Mazullo Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program/East-West Management Institute, Inc. (EWMI)
    Phone: gmazullo@pfsprogram.org

    For more from this organization:

    Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program

     

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