Relations with shareholders

The Company recognises the importance of communicating with its Shareholders, including its employee Shareholders, to ensure that its strategy and performance is understood. This is achieved principally through the Annual Report and the AGM. The Group's annual and interim results, as well as all announcements issued to the London Stock Exchange, are published here. The Company issues regular trading updates to the market and these, together with copies of the presentations made to analysts, can be found here.

The Chief Executive, Group Finance Director and Head of Investor Relations are primarily responsible for direct investor relations. The Board is kept informed of investors' views through distribution and regular discussion of analysts' and brokers' briefings and a summary of investor opinion feedback. In addition feedback from major Shareholders is reported to the Board by the Chairman and the Finance Director and discussed at its meetings. Formal presentations are made to institutional Shareholders following the announcement of the Company's annual and interim results.

Contact is also maintained, where appropriate, with Shareholders to discuss overall remuneration plans and policies. The Chairman and the Senior Independent Director are available to discuss governance and strategy with major Shareholders if requested and both are prepared to contact individual Shareholders should any specific areas of concern or enquiry be raised.  The Chairman also offers to meet with major Shareholders each year.

Throughout the year, we respond to correspondence received from Shareholders on a wide range of issues and also participate in a number of surveys and questionnaires submitted by a variety of investor research bodies. Although the other Non-Executive Directors are not at present asked to meet the Company's Shareholders, they regularly review the presentations of the annual and interim results.

The Board recognises that the AGM is the principal forum for dialogue with private Shareholders and all Shareholders are invited to attend. All Directors attend the AGM and are available to answer any questions that Shareholders may wish to raise. The Notice of Meeting is sent to Shareholders at least 20 working days before the meeting. The Company provides a facility for Shareholders to vote electronically and the Form of Proxy provides Shareholders with the option of withholding their vote on a resolution if they so wish. Shareholders vote on a show of hands, unless a poll is validly called and after each such vote the number of Proxy votes received for or against the resolution together with the number of abstentions is announced. The Company Secretary ensures that votes are properly received and recorded. Details of the Proxies lodged on all resolutions are published on this website immediately after the AGM.