The board recognises its responsibility for ensuring that a satisfactory dialogue takes place with shareholders. It maintains an active programme of engagement with investors, the aim being to develop shareholders’ understanding of the Company’s strategy, operations and performance and to provide the board with awareness of the views of significant shareholders. At each board meeting, the directors are briefed on shareholder meetings that have taken place and on feedback received, including any significant concerns raised.
Each year, the Chairman issues an invitation to and holds meetings with the Company’s largest institutional shareholders to hear their views and discuss any issues or concerns on governance, strategy and remuneration.
On the day of the announcement of the final and interim results, the Company’s largest shareholders, together with financial analysts, are invited to a presentation with a question and answer session by the Chief Executive and Finance Director, with webcast presentations of the results available for all shareholders through the Investors’ section of this website. Following the results, the executive team holds one-to-one and group meetings with institutional shareholders and potential investors.
The Company Secretary acts as a focal point for communications on matters of corporate governance and corporate responsibility.
The Senior Independent Director is available to shareholders in the event that communication with the Chairman, Chief Executive or Finance Director has failed to resolve concerns or where such contact is inappropriate.
The Company reports formally to shareholders in a number of ways. Significant matters relating to trading or development of the business, and routine reporting obligations, are disseminated by way of Stock Exchange announcements and by press releases, interim results are announced in April each year and full year results in November, followed by the publication of the formal annual report and accounts.
In line with best practice, the Company’s default means of communication is online although shareholders can opt to receive documents in paper form at any time. Current and historical financial information, including trading statements, news releases, financial results’ presentations, and a wealth of other information regarding Associated British Foods can be found here on the Company’s website.
The annual general meeting (‘AGM’) takes place in London. The board considers that the AGM provides a valuable communication opportunity for private shareholders, in particular, to hear about the general development of the business and to ask questions of the Chairman and, through him, the chairmen of the key committees and other directors. A trading update is provided at the meeting and, each year, the Company shows a short film highlighting a particular area of the group’s business. Any member attending the AGM has the right to ask questions. The Company must cause to be answered any such question relating to the business being dealt with at the meeting, unless it is not in the interests of the Company or the good order of the meeting to do so, or if to do so would involve the disclosure of confidential information. All resolutions for which notice has been given are decided on a poll. The results are announced to the London Stock Exchange and posted here on the Company’s website.