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Online Disclosure of the Largest Listed Companies in Eleven Central and Eastern European (CEE) Countries Continues to Improve; Fourth Comparison with Peers in BRIC and Ukraine

March 4, 2008 - Today, the PFS Program publishes its 14th semi-annual Survey of Online Investor Relations of the Ten Largest Listed Companies (by market capitalization) in 11 Central and Eastern European (CEE) Countries. PFS Program Assistant Magdalena Grabowska and PFS Program Intern Lukasz Gilewicz conducted the survey from February 1 through February 29, 2008.

In this edition of the 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. This edition of the survey documents an ongoing increase in disclosure of detailed governance information. 90% of the companies surveyed provide a list of management online, compared with 86% in August 2007. This is the largest percentage recorded since the surveys began in 2001. 63% of the companies surveyed provide additional information about management online, compared with 59% in August 2007 and 53% in February 2007. This is also the largest percentage recorded since the surveys began in 2001. 87% of the companies surveyed provide a list of board members online and 52% provide additional information on board members. The former category increased to a new record since the first survey was conducted, from 82% in August 2007. Disclosure in the latter category also reached a new record, posting a slight increase from 51% in August 2007 and a significant increase over 40% in February 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 fourth time, the survey also analyzes companies in BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and Ukraine in order to compare the online disclosure practices of CEE listed companies with peers in other emerging markets.

The survey analyzes the English-language websites and annual reports of the ten largest listed companies in the above-mentioned 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, the 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 as well as best practice within the peer group.

The survey provides current data as of February 15, 2008 and comparisons with the 13 previous surveys, conducted in August 2007, February 2007, August 2006, February 2006, August 2005, February 2005, August 2004, February 2004, August 2003, February 2003, August 2002, February 2002 and August 2001.

Since 2004, the survey includes recommendations on the ideal corporate website and compares CEE companies with the parameters of this ideal. This component of the survey identifies best practice and enables CEE companies to benchmark their disclosure against peers in the region, other emerging markets and industry best practice. Here also, the time-series data identifies online disclosure trends.

Survey results include the following:

Websites: In nine of the 11 CEE countries surveyed, each of the ten largest listed companies has a local-language website on February 15, 2008. In Bulgaria and Lithuania, nine of the ten companies surveyed have a local-language website. In the previous survey, 109 companies surveyed had a local-language website. 94.5% of the companies surveyed have an English-language website; the percentage increased from 93% in August 2007.

Information on Management: 90% of the companies surveyed provide a list of management online; 63% provide additional information on management. As noted above, in each category the results represent a new record high since the first survey was conducted in 2001.

Information on Board Members: 87% of the companies surveyed provide a list of board members online and 52% provide additional information on board members. As noted above, in each category the results represent a new record high since the first survey was conducted in 2001.

Comparisons with BRIC and Ukraine: The largest listed companies in BRIC equal or outperform their CEE peers in every category. However, the gap continues to narrow. Furthermore, when companies in BRIC are compared with peers in the eight CEE countries that joined the EU in 2004, the difference between the peer groups is much smaller. The Ukrainian companies surveyed disclose less information than their peers in both BRIC and CEE. However, the disclosures made by the Ukrainian companies improved vis-à-vis the previous survey.

The complete survey, a slide presentation of the data and the company database 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 http://www.pfsprogram.org

For more information, please contact:

Geoffrey Mazullo Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program

For more from this organization:

Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program

 

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