AR on AR 2021

AR on AR 2021Summary  |  Ratings  |  Top picks  | Best practices 

Top picks

As usual, an external panel consisting of professionals with long experience in creating and reviewing annual reports have given their input to the ratings. The final list is however decided by Comprend, with the comments from the panel taken into consideration.

Here are the panel members and their favourite reports:

Susan's favourites

Susan Blesener is an angel investor and start-up founder, as well as the CEO of The Art of Value, a consultancy that helps companies define, manage and report on what matters most. As an investor, she works closely with budding entrepreneurs to develop innovative, investible business models and strategies. At The Art of Value, her clients include companies in Africa, Asia, and Europe that are publicly disclosing their journey to successfully create profits through the process of creating value for all stakeholders, particularly customers and employees.

Based in Belgium, Susan holds advanced degrees in economics, business administration and strategy. Prior to launching The Art of Value, Susan managed disclosure and accountability practices at the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank’s private-sector investment arm, and Novo Nordisk, the world’s largest producer of insulin.

Susan Blesener

1. Ahold (Netherlands)

Well-integrated, almost hyper strategic, high marks for readability + style. Figures really pop.

2. British Land (United Kingdom)

In a year with a lot more climate disclosure, this was hands down the very best. The best TCFD report I've seen.

3. BASF (Germany)

Always a great report, it seems to have gotten even better while reports like Akzo Nobel show signs of weakening and disinvestment. The chemical group reports in great detail, but this is the clear winner. It has a German level of detail with great readability--something few other German companies achieve. Kudos.

4. Glencore and Rio Tinto (United Kingdom)

Mining companies are required to do lots more reporting than most companies, but these two both impressed me. Rio Tinto is a massive company with duel listings and massive regulatory issues. They both not only are fantastic on strategy and ESG, but they are also well integrated with great data. Both hit home runs for doing what reports are meant to do--gain investor/stakeholder confidence, provide transparency and accountability. These reports deliver hugely. 

5. Novozymes (Denmark)

Novozymes is always great, so it surprises me when a great report continues to take leaps forward. It's both very complete but also very readable. Great data. Still world-leading in terms of integration.

Reg Pauffley

Reg's favourites

Reg Pauffley is based in London and is widely regarded as one of the most experienced figures in global corporate communications. Reg's credentials stem largely from his experience as the founder of Pauffley in 1984 (now Fishburn), which became a major corporate design consultancy within the UK and mainland Europe. Under Reg's direction (1984 to 2001), Pauffley became a reference in the development of global corporate reporting and communications. Clients included many global blue chips and FT European top 300 companies, including Nokia, Electrolux, BP, Credit Suisse, Novartis, BT, Ahold, and Aegon.

After leaving Pauffley, Reg has continued to advise international clients on the strategic direction of corporate positioning, branding, and reporting.

1. Givaudan

Conveys a very strong sustainable investment story, beautifully produced. A real pleasure to read

2. Mondi (United Kingdom)

Highly engaging and very user-friendly. It provides the reader with a very good holistic understanding of the company. Great use of colour and graphics.

3. Stora Enso (Finland - Sweden)

A very solid piece of communication, it portrays a company that truly knows itself by telling its’ story in a confident and stylish manner.

4. Howdens (United Kingdom)

Having been a customer, this report really does reflect Howdens’ personality by connecting in an open, honest and friendly way. Also, great use of infographics. It certainly delivers a high level of insight, it’s great.

5. Rentokil Initial (United Kingdom)

I like the bold and direct approach and feel to this report, which makes it very readable. It also has a strong theme and messaging that runs throughout the report in a user-friendly manner.

Kellie's favourites

As co-leader of Dix & Eaton’s investor relations practice, Kellie Friery provides strategic counsel to public company management teams to elevate the effectiveness of their investor relations programs and enhance the value for shareholders and other stakeholders. Drawing on more than 15 years of accounting, investor relations and financial communications experience, Kellie works with newly public companies to establish the investor relations function and helps elevate existing programs through the tailored implementation of industry best practices. She has also served as an onsite resource to clients preparing for initial public offerings, launching strategies that support business initiatives and raise brand awareness, and managing integrated communications for mergers, acquisitions and other transactions. This firsthand experience as an extension of communications teams provides a unique perspective that is reflected in her counsel to clients.

Kellie began her career as an auditor with Ernst & Young, LLP. She graduated cum laude from the University of Notre Dame with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in accountancy and earned her designation as a CPA (inactive). Kellie is a member of the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) and the NIRI Senior Roundtable.

Kellie Friery

1. SKF (Sweden)

The report is well organized and easy to read. I like the clear introductions to the business and strategy as well as the company's mission and vision. It is also clear how sustainability is embedded within the business strategy. The “Why” and “How” explanations they include with their financial targets are also highlights for me – straightforward, simple and helpful to the reader.

2. Orkla (Norway)

The dedicated, well-designed website that shares key financial and sustainability information with reader in an easy-to-digest manner stood out to me. The PDF pages of the full report maximize space of the computer screen and are user-friendly with clean, impactful design.

3. Intercontinental Hotels Group (United Kingdom)

I really like how the online summary presents sections in digestible segments and provides easily accessible downloads on the business model, strategy, industry trends, etc. The report clearly articulates the strategy while infusing elements of the company’s culture and customer-centric brand. ESG/approach to supporting colleagues and communities are identified as essential pillars of strategy. I found the report to be reader-friendly and graphically appealing; appreciate navigational cues of where to find information.

4. SCA (Sweden)

The report is well designed. I appreciate the use of simple graphics and illustrations to visually share the company's value proposition. The report features a great mix of text lengths with supporting callout elements (such as the strategy boxes in each section), charts, photography, etc. which make the content more digestible and a much easier read than some of the text-heavier pieces.

5. Heineken (Netherlands)

The report is on brand and is written in an authentic, genuine tone. I liked the CEO message presented in Q&A format. I found the table comparisons of the company's 2020 sustainability commitments versus actual results to be useful and user-friendly. In particular, the table allows the company to celebrate its achievements while acknowledging and taking ownership in areas where they did not meet commitment (they made it clear to the reader where they met and did not meet expectations). I also appreciated the substitutional discussion of the company’s five business priorities, with multiple pages dedicated to each with easily digestible content, photos and additional visual elements that support the story.

Mike Guillaume

Mike's favourites

Mike Guillaume is the co-founder and managing director of e-com, a European-rooted, U.S.-incorporated and London-based firm that specializes in report assessment and benchmarking. He has consulted in more than 500 missions for 200-plus (mainly top listed) companies.

Recognised as a leading international expert in corporate and financial reporting, Mike was the co-founder of ReportWatch and the previous editor of the Annual Report on Annual Reports, before it was acquired by Comprend. Prior to that, as an executive director of The Enterprise Group, his track record includes an extensive entrepreneurial and global management consulting experience in Europe, North America and Southeast Asia (including stints in the banking and energy sectors). An economist, financial analyst, and investor relations specialist, Mike is also the author of numerous articles and more recently of the book “The Seven Deadly Sins of Capitalism” (two editions).

1. Magnit (Russia)

The cover looks a bit like “Back in the USSR”? Never mind! The report is dedicated to all employees, cashiers, loaders, drivers and workers… who dealt with the Covid-19 impact. Besides: a very good Market overview, a convincing Investment Case – substantiated with Shareholder and investor engagement (including a detailed calendar) –, a well-drawn Business model, clarity about Risk Management.

2. Mondi (United Kingdom)

Very good Overview, Business model made clear, last year progress and medium-term priorities, KPIs links to strategy, 18 risks reviewed, high transparency on governance matters.

3. Symrise (Germany)

Eye-catching and nicely illustrated storytelling. Five-year key figures and five goal dimensions highlighted, the latter being sustained among sustainability topics. Thorough and well-structured Management Report including a charted Statement of Financial Position, as well as the Opportunities and risk report. Outlook and Expectations summed up. The Chart Generator is fine but of limited use. Spreading downloads over six documents have… a downside, not least for the hurried analyst or investor.

4. EQT (Sweden)

Extremely reader-friendly online report, with direct links to a well-structured and strongly charted PDF version. Substance is up to design – and to Swedish best practice: strategic pillars and active ownership strategies clearly stated, Private Capital, Real Assets, operating platform scaling, funds’ transactions, investment case

5. Prosus (Netherlands)

A complex and rather diversified IT business reported with great care: performance, segments, geography, a substantiated Chief executive’s reviewImpact and engagement effectively measured too. Note the not so often used capital-based risk monitoring. A quite dense piece of writing (260 pages), though (starting with a heavy directors’ report is perhaps not the most inviting intro).

Are you looking to improve your annual report next year? We can help you. Check out our ReportWatch reports.

Helena Wennergren

Helena Wennergren

Head of Research

helena.wennergren@comprend.com

+46 70 971 12 10

James Handslip

James Handslip

Managing Director (UK)

james.handslip@comprend.com

+44 (0)20 8609 4908