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March 21, 2017

German corporate websites improve company introductions

Unlike last year's intensifying of the digital corporate communications activities in Germany, Webranking by Comprend 2016-2017 found no significant improvement in the digital content presented by German listed companies. The average slightly declined by 0.3 points since last year from 46.3 to 46.0 points out of a total of 100. Improved content areas include financial reporting, corporate governance, press and company introductions while there is a lag in the general information related to investors and the share.

The 20th edition of Webranking by Comprend has assessed 64 German companies on how well their web communications live up to expectations of business journalists, analysts, investors and jobseekers. All companies were ranked on the basis of what these important stakeholders need and demand in a wide range of different content areas such as financial reporting, investor relations, press, corporate governance, careers and corporate social responsibility, to mention a few.

Steady progress in providing company introductions

Despite the slight decrease of the German total average, important improvements were made to the companies About us-sections. German companies show a steady progress in providing more comprehensive introduction of their business operations, geographical spread of products and sales, as well as other valuable key information. However, with an average fulfilment level of 51% of the total score, there are still areas of improvement. For instance, 91% of the Capital Market mark data on market share as important which is inconsistent with the modest 8% of German companies that offer this information.

Minor increased transparency in corporate governance section

For the second consecutive year, German companies show their commitment to offer more transparent information on their direction and control. However, averaging less than half of total score (43%), German companies could make further efforts to increase their transparency. For inspiration take a look at the Nordic counterparts Finland and

Sweden who average at 80% and 61% respectively. Much like last year, German companies fail to present information about executive remuneration – only 7 companies present updated numbers on executive compensation. Moreover, none of the German companies disclose a list of all insiders including their ownership.

Investor-related information is lagging behind

The communications between German companies and financial audiences like investors and analysts is lagging behind. Averaging only 31% of the total score, German corporate websites could better meet the Capital Market expectations on investor-related information. As for comparison, the corresponding average for the 500 largest companies in Europe is 53% of the total score. This shows that German companies fail to help important stakeholders promptly obtain the information they need to underpin their investment decisions and make informed estimates of the future value of companies securities. What is mainly missing in the IR sections are clear explanations of megatrends and market expectations which are only offered by 1 out of 10 German companies.

The lag is seen also in the share sections

Just like the rise in average for the IR section, the fulfilment level for information on the share has decreased by 4 percentage points since last year. When it comes to disclosing information on the share, German companies' performance is aligned with the 500 largest European companies both with an average of 42% of the total score. Among the German companies there is scarce information on share capital development including corporate actions, such as splits and new issues. Only 8% of German companies presents their share capital history and what actions that affect the share price in contrast to the 80% of Capital Market stakeholders who find this information important.

Webranking by Comprend 2016-2017 for Germany

There has been some movement on the German podium since last year's edition. Last year's runner-up BASF takes the first place receiving 71.6 points.

"Tailoring information to the needs of diverse stakeholders is especially challenging in an ever changing digital world. Many BASF colleagues from various disciplines are constantly working on improving the content and functionality of basf.com for our audiences. We are honored that these efforts have been recognized."

says Jennifer Moore-Braun Head of Channel Management,
Corporate Communications at BASF.

The winner of last year, Bayer, ends at third place with a total score of 68.6 points. Deutsche Telekom makes a significant leap this year increasing its score by an impressive 10.6 points. This improvement takes the company from ninth to second place receiving 69.2 points. However, the best climber among all German companies is Brenntag which raised its score by 15 points in total.

Rank Company name Score
1 BASF 71.6
2 Deutsche Telekom 69.2
3 Bayer 68.6
4 Munich Re 68.0
5 Deutsche Post 59.8
6 Hannover Re 58.0
7 Fresenius 57.3
8 Adidas 57.2
9 Linde 57.1
10 Allianz 56.5

See all German results

 

For further information please contact Viktoria Enmark, Senior Consultant at +46 76 109 05 08 or viktoria.enmark@comprend.com.

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Further reading

March 29, 2017

Increase in score but Belgian companies lag behind rest of Europe

March 14, 2017

Digital corporate communications: the gap widens between top performers and the rest

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