Corporate Governance

UK Corporate Governance Code

We do not comply with the UK Corporate Governance Code. Instead, we have reported on our Corporate Governance arrangements drawing on best practice available, including those aspects of the UK Corporate Governance Code we consider to be relevant to the Company and best practice.

Board composition and responsibility

The board comprises four executive directors and one non-executive director.  None of the directors are independent.  The appointment of another non-executive director will be considered when it is judged appropriate.  Given the size of the company it is not considered by the board that it is either necessary or appropriate to incur the cost of employing a separate chairman. All directors are required to retire and submit themselves for re-election at three yearly intervals. No director has a service agreement requiring more than twelve months’ notice of termination to be given.

All directors receive management information in advance of board meetings, which are held monthly, and the board visits subsidiary companies as appropriate. There is a schedule of matters requiring board approval, including corporate strategy, acquisitions and disposals, key appointments and group funding strategy.  All directors have access to the advice and services of the Company Secretary (and there are processes in place enabling directors to take independent legal advice at the company’s expense in the furtherance of their duties).

Audit Committee

The audit committee is responsible for reviewing a range of financial matters, including the interim and final accounts, and monitoring the controls which are in force to ensure the integrity of the financial information reported to the shareholders. The committee reviews the need for internal audit on an annual basis and, due to the size of the company, the committee believes that the cost of introducing this function would outweigh any perceived benefits. The audit committee meets twice each year. The Non-executive Director meets separately with the auditors as part of such meetings.

Remuneration Committee

The principal function of the remuneration committee is to determine on behalf of the board the remuneration and other benefits of the executive directors, including pensions, share options, service contracts and compensation payments.

The principal objectives of the remuneration committee in respect of executive directors and the board in respect of the company as a whole are to ensure that the company’s senior management remuneration policies and practice facilitate the recruitment, retention and motivation of top quality personnel and to ensure that senior management remuneration operates on a best-practice basis, aligning, where practicable, the remuneration of executives with the interests of shareholders.

Each of the company’s executive directors is subject to an annual appraisal of their performance as executives which is conducted by the Non-executive Director.

Table of Attendance at Meetings 2017

Board Audit Remuneration
Number held 12 2 1
R Weinreich Executive Chairman 12 1
P Geraghty Group Finance Director 12 1
V Blaisdell Group Managing Director 12 1
T Bray Executive Director 9
D Mahony Senior Non-executive Director 11 2 1

Board nominations

The company has formal procedures for making appointments to the board and these would be applied to ensure that any new appointments that might be made meet the desired criteria.

Shareholder relationships

The objective of the board is to create increased shareholder value by growing the business in a manner that delivers sustainable improvement in earnings over the medium and long term.

The board regards the annual general meeting as an important opportunity to communicate with private investors in particular. Directors make themselves available to shareholders both before and after the annual general meeting and at other times.

Internal Control

The system of internal controls established by the directors is intended to be comprehensive, although the limitations of any system of control is such that it is designed to manage rather than eliminate the risk of failure to achieve business objectives and to provide a reasonable, rather than absolute, level of assurance against material misstatement or loss. The directors acknowledge their responsibilities for the group’s system of internal control and for reviewing its effectiveness.

The principal features of the system of internal financial controls are:

  • budgetary control over all operating units, measuring performance against pre-determined targets on at least a monthly basis;
  • regular forecasting and reviews covering trading performance, assets, liabilities and cash flows; delegated limits of authority covering key financial commitments including capital expenditure and recruitment;
  • identification and management of key business risks.

The board continually reviews the effectiveness of other internal controls, including financial, operational, compliance controls and risk management.

Financial reporting

A detailed formal budgeting process for all group businesses culminates in an annual group budget which is approved by the board. Results for the company and for its main constituent businesses are reported monthly to the board against this budget and revised forecasts for the year are prepared each quarter.

Financial and accounting principles

A comprehensive financial and accounting controls manual sets out the principles of and minimum standards required by the board for effective financial control. The manual sets out the financial and accounting policies and procedures to be applied throughout the group. Compliance with the policies and procedures set out in the manual is reviewed on a regular basis.

Internal financial controls assurance

In addition to the existing procedures, during the year senior executives have prepared detailed reports on the operation of those elements of the system for which they are responsible.

Capital investment

The group has clearly defined guidelines for capital expenditure. These include annual budgets, detailed appraisals and review procedures, levels of authority and due diligence requirements where businesses are being acquired.

Risk assessment

The group has implemented a process for identifying, reporting and assessing risk at each subsidiary. The board regularly reviews the subsidiaries’ risk assessments.

The directors confirm that they have reviewed the effectiveness of the system of internal controls in operation during the year and the period to the date of the approval of the annual report and accounts.

The board is committed to the principles of openness, integrity and accountability in dealing with the company’s affairs. It believes it has always acted with probity in the best interests of the company, its employees and shareholders and fully intends to continue to do so in the future.

City Code on Takeovers and Mergers

The company is subject to the City Code on Takeovers and Mergers