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

Submitted by: Partners for Financial Stability (PFS) Program

Categories: Ratings & Awards, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Sep 09, 2008 – 09:09 AM EST

 

- September 9, 2008 - Today, the PFS Program publishes its 15th 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 Assistant Magdalena Grabowska and PFS Program Intern Nikola Smolcic (Croatia) conducted the survey from July 1 through August 31, 2008.

In this edition of the survey, disclosure of detailed govenance information 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.

91% of the companies surveyed provide a list of board members online, compared with 87% in February 2008, 82% in August 2007 and 81% in February 2007 as well as August 2006. This is the largest percentage recorded since the first survey and the first time that more than 90% of the companies surveyed provide a list of board members online. 61% of the companies surveyed provide additional information about board members online. This is also the largest percentage recorded since the first survey and the first time that more than 60% of the companies surveyed provide this information online. It represents a significant increase over the most recent survey (52% in August 2007) and previous surveys (51% in August 2007 and 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 fifth time, the survey also analyzes companies in BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) as well as 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 August 15, 2008 and comparisons with the 14 previous surveys, conducted in February 2008, 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.

Survey results include the following:

Websites: In ten of the 11 CEE countries surveyed, each of the ten largest listed companies has a local-language website. In Czech Republic eight of the ten companies surveyed have a local-language website. Each of the ten companies surveyed in Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia has an English-language website. 80% of the companies surveyed in Croatia and 70% in Romania have an English-language website.

Information on Management: 88% of the companies surveyed provide a list of management online; 64.5% provide additional information on management. Disclosure in the former category decreased slightly (2%) since the last survey whereas the latter represents a record high since the first survey was conducted and a slight increase vis-a-vis February 2008 (63%) and August 2007 (59%).

Information on Board Members: 91% of the companies surveyed provide a list of board members online and 61% provide additional information on board members.Each category increased to a higher new record since the first survey was conducted and to new thresholds above 90% and 60% respectively. Disclosure in the latter category represents a significant increase from 52% in February 2008, 51% in August 2007, 40% in February 2007, 36% in August 2006 and 41% in February 2006.

Best Practice: Since 2004, the survey includes recommendations on the ideal corporate website and compares CEE companies with the parameters of this ideal. On August 15, 2008 56 of the 110 companies surveyed in CEE (51%) disclose information in all of the categories analyzed in the basic PFS Program survey: local-language website; local-language website; list of management; list of board members; additional information on management; and additional information on board members. This is the first survey in which over 50% of the companies surveyed provide all of the basic information analyzed.

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, improvements are discernible over time.

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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