December 10, 2019 Webranking

Dutch corporate websites lack transparency despite strong press archives

By Chris Henson

In Webranking by Comprend 2019-2020, the corporate websites of 900 of the largest global companies have been evaluated for how closely they meet the needs of capital market professionals and jobseekers. Of the 24 Dutch companies included in the ranking, the press sections stand out for their high quality. On the other hand, governance information is slightly below-par - with a particular lack of detail regarding the Board and Executive Management - whilst investors content has not improved from last year's low attainment.

Dutch newsrooms offer a good service to the media

When comparing the corporate websites of the 20 largest Dutch companies with the 20 largest companies from 14 ranked European countries, the press sections of Dutch companies finish 5th with an average of 66% of the most important content presented. They are only narrowly bettered by four countries whose digital communication has traditionally been amongst the strongest in Europe in our Webranking research: Germany, Sweden, Italy, and Finland. 

There are several areas in which Dutch newsrooms excel in the service provided for both business journalists and other stakeholders. Of the 24 ranked companies, the press release archives contain an average of 61% of the key criteria, outperforming the 500 largest companies in Europe by a fairly handsome 10% in this regard. Indeed, every Dutch company has a press archive with releases in HTML, and the vast majority of them span across several years for a historical view of corporate updates. Three-quarters also have a separate archive for news articles - or at least a function to filter them from press releases - thereby making it easy for a visitor to gain a full picture of what's been going on at the company.

Aegon have the best press section in the Netherlands with an outstanding score of 6.8 out of a possible 7 points. Their press release archive contains several filters and media contacts are readily available.

Dutch governance fails the transparency test

The governance information on corporate websites in the Netherlands is surprisingly limited. With an average fulfilment of 44% of the content that capital market audiences find most important, Dutch companies rank 10th out of 14 when their governance sections are compared with the top 20 largest companies from other European countries. The most striking deficiency in Dutch governance concerns the information available on senior executives.

Only 8% of Dutch companies provide any details of share transactions made by their Executive Management and Board of Directors. Additionally just one company - Vopak - present their Board's shareholdings, with none including this information for Executive Management. Insider content should therefore be a priority for Dutch companies to add to their websites. Transparency of payments to senior staff, as well as their stake in the company, is information highly valued by capital market professionals.

Best-in-class for governance in the Netherlands is Ahold Delhaize. Whilst their website is lacking insider information, they do have plenty of other information about the Board and top level executives, as well as great coverage of the latest AGM. 

Investor content is stuck in reverse

Investor relations is by far the weakest area of Dutch websites with an average of only 27% of the key content currently on offer. Whilst this is only a very minor decrease from last year, the country's IR fulfilment has nevertheless hit a five-year low. The main areas which are currently lacking are future-focused financial content; this is an issue for many companies throughout Europe and beyond, but even so Dutch attainment is notably low.

Only 25% of Dutch companies include their financial goals, and just 12% provide a market outlook with information on their expectations for the year ahead, which is the same low figure as last year. 15% provide a section on how megatrends may affect the business looking forward, and although this actually represents a small improvement from last year, Dutch companies still comfortably trail the average set by Europe's 500 largest companies. The lack of urgency in adding financial goals, market outlooks, and megatrends to corporate websites is quite striking considering that all of these items were marked as important for over 90% of those who partook in our Capital Market survey this year. Whilst Dutch future-looking content is scarce in availability, information on past efforts certainly isn't better; no Dutch companies display their financial goal achievements in detail.

With a score of 8.8 out of 14, DSM have the strongest investors section in the Netherlands. They are the only Dutch company to clearly present how they intend to reach their financial goals.

Heineken is this year's Dutch winner; NN Group and Galapagos are the Climber

The best performing Dutch company in Webranking 2019-2020 is Heineken, leaping from 5th place last year to the top spot today following some great work on their corporate website. In 2nd place are Aegon, who also notably improved from their previous 7th place finish to achieve the runners-up spot this year. Last year's winners DSM are in 3rd place, showing good consistency to maintain a place on the podium.

There is a tie for the most improved content on a corporate website in the Netherlands. The joint-biggest climbers are NN Group and Galapagos, both of whom have improved their score by an impressive 8.6 points since last year.

Top ten in the Netherlands

RankCompanyScore (out of 100)
1Heineken64.7
2Aegon62.9
3DSM62.2
4Philips Electronics57.6
5Airbus57.2
6Royal Dutch Shell56.5
7Ahold Delhaize54.5
8Akzo Nobel51.8
9Wolters Kluwer50.5
10Abn Amro48.1


See the Dutch results

Helena Wennergren

Head of Research

helena.wennergren@comprend.com

+46 70 971 12 10

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