Climbers and changes in Europe’s top ranks

Jun 22, 2017
<p>Just five of the top 10 companies in the 2017 chart were among last year&rsquo;s top 10</p>

The winners of the IR Magazine Awards – Europe 2017 have been named but who ranks where in the Euro Top 100? Each year IR Magazine surveys the European investment community to find out which companies have been on top IR form, which might have let things slide a little and which firms have pleasantly surprised analysts and investors to climb the rankings.

This information is used to make up the table of Europe’s top 100 companies for investor relations, as well as the winners of our researched awards. The top 10 is often populated by familiar names and this year five of the top-ranked firms were also present in last year’s top 10: Iberdrola (Spain), Roche (Switzerland), Unilever (UK), EDP –Energias de Portugal and Deutsche Post DHL (Germany). BASF (Germany), which dominated the top spots bwteen 2010-2015, re-enters the top 10 after a year's absence in 2016.

Another four have climbed impressively from last year: the UK’s AstraZeneca is up 56 places to second, Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo is up 25 to third, and from Germany, Lanxess is up 25 to 10th and adidas is up 16 to sixth.

The biggest climbers this year, however, are outside the top 10, with Britvic, the Hemel Hempstead, UK-headquartered mid-cap soft drinks manufacturer, topping the group by rising from joint 327th in 2016 to joint 87th this year – that’s a rise of 240 places. Two years ago, in 2015, Britvic was ranked joint 217th.

Steve Nightingale, Britvic’s investor relations director, has been with the company for 16 years, nearly nine of them in IR, and he’s been in the lead IR role since October 2014. Until June last year he reported to Rupen Shah, the former finance and IR director, but he now reports to Mathew Dunn, CFO.

So what’s changed with the company’s IR program? asks Janet Dignan, IR Magazine founding editor, in the IR Magazine Investor Perception Study – Europe 2017. ‘The amount of IR activity remains similar,’ says Nightingale. ‘We still see 300-350 investors a year and we’ve always tried to treat everyone equally, with the same level of respect, to be very responsive and maintain an open dialogue, and to provide high levels of service.’

But there has been organizational change at Britvic, which Nightingale says represents the single biggest difference affecting the firm’s IR in recent years. ‘Mat [Dunn] is keen to bring together what he calls the storyboard, so I now work more closely with the strategy director and the director of financial planning and analysis,’ he explains. ‘And this internal realignment gives me a greater level of understanding of the story.’

Perhaps the most interesting thing about these comments is how different they are from the more typical explanations of progress, which usually revolve around the IR program itself, especially in terms of numbers of meetings and levels of activity more generally. Britvic’s success is more about the IR approach, based on the corporate structure and the nature of senior management involvement, than any increase in the day-to-day IR effort, writes Dignan.

Click here for more information or to order your copy of the IR Magazine Investor Perception Study – Europe 2017.

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