KWD WEBRANKING 2011-2012: The Largest Companies in the World are Fairly Poor

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The 100 biggest companies in the world have significant corporate governance shortcomings judging by their corporate website content. The majority duck out of their responsibility of ensuring proper accountability, clarity and openness for the long-term benefit of stakeholders. This is revealed in KWD Webranking’s 2011-2012 survey of websites of the 100 largest companies in Financial Times Global 500.

“Perhaps one of the greatest surprises is the widespread lack of risk management information,” says Staffan Lindgren, Managing Director International at KWD

The 100 biggest companies in the world have significant corporate governance shortcomings judging by their corporate website content. The majority duck out of their responsibility of ensuring proper accountability, clarity and openness for the long-term benefit of stakeholders. This is revealed in KWD Webranking’s 2011-2012 survey of websites of the 100 largest companies in Financial Times Global 500.

“Perhaps one of the greatest surprises is the widespread lack of risk management information,” says Staffan Lindgren, Managing Director International at KWD, when commenting on KWD Webranking’s 2011-2012 survey of corporate websites of the world’s 100 biggest public companies.

Findings show that only 8 companies provide a comprehensive discussion on the corporate website about how well the company is prepared for financial and operational risks and how they intend to react should they become a reality. Only two of these, Eni and BASF, have gone so far as to give an estimate of how individual risk factors are affecting the company’s business.

“Executive and board member remuneration as well as share transactions by insiders have in recent years been the focus of considerable attention from the public, media and various other stakeholders. We see however that very few companies take the opportunity to illustrate their transparency and instil trust in these matters,” says Staffan Lindgren.

18% provide information either about remuneration programs, policies or compensations of executives and board members (6% cover all areas). Far less (4%), present information about the insiders as well as a list of their recent transactions on the website.

Furthermore, the checks and balances of external control and evaluation by auditors is an essential necessity of business. This is to make sure the company management is not pulling the wool over the eyes of affected stakeholders. Unexpectedly, just 1 in 5 companies (19%) have to some extent external auditor information on the corporate website where the name of the auditor, their company and their compensation is mentioned.

Another weakness is the big gap between what stakeholders want and what websites are providing with regards to in-depth IR content. Prior to the survey, KWD Webranking asked investors and analysts what they want to find on corporate websites.

“Key corporate stakeholders most sought-after information on corporate websites is data on financial targets and achievements – but at the moment 97% of the world’s biggest companies are not giving them what they want. It’s a real area for companies to work on in 2012,” says Staffan Lindgren, Managing Director International at KWD.

Results from KWD Webranking 2011-2012, show that only three of the 100 largest companies in the world – Eni, HSBC and BASF - provide both financial targets and achievements on the corporate website.

The average score for the Global 100 companies is 41.94 points out of 100 points. For the second consecutive year, the Italian oil and gas producer Eni is the winner with 87 points. The German chemical company BASF is second with 83 points. Swiss UBS is third with 68 points.

About KWD Webranking
KWD Webranking is the established international yardstick for companies that want to benchmark their corporate website performance both nationally and internationally. The collected data is compiled into reports that are widely used by listed companies as a reliable tool to improve their online communications performance. Global 100 data is now available in the online report of KWD Webranking 2011-2012. This year 950 websites in 40 countries have been included. KWD Webranking has ranked companies included in the FT Europe 500 and the 100 largest companies in FT Global 500, as well as complementary country lists (a total of 749 companies in Europe). For more information go to http://www.kw-digital.com

About KWD
KWD is a division of King Worldwide - the leading global financial communications and stakeholder management company employing over 900 staff and serving more than 1,000 clients from offices in New York, Chicago, London, Stockholm, Madrid, Moscow, Dubai, Hong Kong and Taipei. For more information about KWD please visit our website http://www.kw-digital.com or http://www.king-worldwide.com

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Staffan Lindgren
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