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Relations with shareholders

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Dialogue with shareholders

We seek to establish an early and effective dialogue with our shareholders regarding significant changes that affect corporate governance. This is in addition to ongoing engagement on more routine matters.

The primary means used by the Board for communicating with all Company shareholders are the Annual Report, preliminary statement of annual results and half yearly results and the AGM. The Board also recognises the importance of the internet as a means of communicating widely, quickly and cost-effectively. An investor relations section is provided on the Group’s website to facilitate communications with institutional and private investors. This includes material shared with fund managers and analysts at Company meetings.

Our shareholders play an important role in the Group’s governance and their increasingly active engagement is welcomed. The investor relations director, alongside the CEO, Group finance director and chairman, provides a focal point for communications with existing investors and is always keen to engage with, educate and inform potential new investors.

The CEO and Group finance director present the preliminary statement of annual results and half yearly results to institutional investors and analysts. These presentations are also available via webcast and teleconference. Analyst events are hosted regularly which include presentations from the senior leaders within our business. The CEO, Group finance director and investor relations director also regularly attend conferences and roadshows to give shareholders, and other potential investors, access to management.

The non-executive directors receive updates on the views of shareholders from the executive directors following investor meetings. The Group’s brokers also provide updates to the Board on shareholder opinions and compile independent feedback from investor meetings twice a year. The company secretary brings to the attention of the Board any material matters of concern raised by the Company’s shareholders, including private investors.

Constructive use of the AGM

The Company’s shareholders are invited to attend the AGM, which all directors are expected to attend and at which separate resolutions are proposed for each substantially separate matter to be considered. Shareholder participation is encouraged by enabling proxy votes to be lodged online via the Company’s share portal and providing shareholders with the opportunity to air their views and ask questions about the Group and its businesses during the AGM. Questions may also be submitted in writing at any time.

The chairman calls a poll for all resolutions considered at AGMs, rather than voting taking place on a show of hands. This is in line with best practice and allows all shareholders, present in person or by proxy, to vote on all resolutions in proportion to their shareholding.