All shareholders were again encouraged to attend our annual general meeting held in July 2014, which provided the opportunity to ask questions of the board and chairmen of all board committees. At the meeting, all resolutions were put to a vote on a poll, with the results being published on the company’s website, and on the London and Johannesburg stock exchange news services. As the geographic spread of shareholders inevitably means that they cannot all attend a meeting in the UK, a film and a full transcript of the meeting proceedings were published on the company’s website.
We maintain a dedicated investor relations function which reports to the Chief Financial Officer. The investor relations team builds and maintains long-term relationships with institutional investors and analysts and, in partnership with our corporate and divisional management teams and within the scope of regulatory constraints, gives presentations on group performance and regional businesses and strives to ensure that these are understood across the global equity markets, including in one-to-one meetings with investors. Dialogue on sustainable developments and socially responsible investment matters is primarily handled by the General Counsel and Corporate Affairs Director and by the Director of Sustainable development, who have focused meetings with interested investors and stakeholders.
During April 2014 our 20 largest shareholders (in addition to those represented on the board) were invited to meet the Chairman and Deputy Chairman to discuss any governance or other issues which they wished to raise, and the invitations were taken up by 10 shareholders. Matters raised in these meetings included executive and non-executive succession planning, long-term sustainable growth prospects in developing markets, prospects for future value-adding mergers and acquisitions in the light of the relative consolidation of the global beer industry, efficient capital allocation and dividend policy, progress in recruiting a longer term chairman, the transition of responsibilities to Alan Clark as the new Chief Executive, and relationships with the group’s joint venture and business partners. Our 20 largest shareholders were given a further opportunity to contact the Chairman in June 2014 if they wished to discuss any matters from our 2014 annual report and notice of annual general meeting. Given that we had already carried out a general consultation in April and May it was perhaps unsurprising that no shareholders took up this offer.
Institutional and shareholder comment on the annual report is conveyed by the Group Company Secretary to the full board and to the audit and remuneration committees and the CARAC in relation to matters within their respective terms of reference.
As described in our remuneration report, in each of the past three years, our 50 largest shareholders have been invited to meet or communicate with the chairman of the remuneration committee to discuss our remuneration philosophy.