By Miguel Cruz de Oliveira
The 20th annual edition of Webranking by Comprend, the leading in-depth research in digital communications at major listed companies, found that the average online communications performance of major Portuguese listed companies dropped significantly after new companies were added to last year's roster.
See the full Portuguese result here
In the study, which covered 861 corporate websites from 25 countries, the online presence of 15 listed Portuguese companies was mapped on the basis of 50 criteria summarising the expectations of the investment community, job seekers and the press among other corporate audiences.
As a company's Webranking score is increasingly recognised as a proxy for corporate transparency, findings show that Portuguese corporations have a long way to go towards giving stakeholders the information they need to value them properly.
Galp Energia was this year's best performer this year again as it improved further on the strong showing from previous years, thereby widening its lead relative to runner-up Jerónimo Martins, promoted from a third place last year.
This year's research covered the usual topics that define the effectiveness of corporate exchanges over digital channels, ranging from company introduction themes to core subject matter such as financial reporting, corporate governance, investor relations, careers and corporate responsibility.
The research also included access to – and understanding of – posted information, which tools such as responsiveness, search functionality and jargon explanation seek to enhance. One encouraging sign was the rising share of responsive sites compared with a year earlier.
Generally, Portuguese companies are quite good at providing key information on the homepage of their corporate websites, although no one provides the full set of essential topics that corporate stakeholders expect.
Investor relations shows wide differences
Among the fifteen companies surveyed only the top three did better than 20% of the maximum score for this core section, where winner Galp Energia distanced itself by a wide margin from its rivals on the podium. Particularly ominous was the fact that only one company out of the fifteen surveyed cared to provide information about financial targets. The rationale for investing in the company’s shares, laid down in an investment proposition, was spelt out by one single company.
Financial reporting close to 50% of the maximum score
Although this is a section where relatively high scores could be reasonably expected, more than half of the companies surveyed could not achieve even half of the maximum score. If a PDF annual report is offered as a rule, the display of key financial ratios for an instant appraisal of the company proved to be less frequent. Online annual reports, increasingly relied upon to make financial information more readily available and more easily digestible, are the exception rather than the rule.
Corporate governance barely scores on remuneration and insider transactions
Portuguese listed companies' average score of 24% on corporate governance themes hides worryingly low readings in key items such as board remuneration and insider transactions. Although a corporate governance report as well as AGM and general board information are frequently on offer, hard data on board remuneration and transactions by insiders are mostly missing. Only three companies scored on remuneration, while no company reported on insider transactions.
Corporate responsibility varies widely between companies
Between top performer Galp Energia, which came close to full score, and two companies at the bottom, which did not score at all, results varied widely. Although an attempt at CSR strategy or a reflection on materiality is within reach for most, only three companies could provide meaningful information about responsible tax policy or anti-corruption initiatives. Hard data on CSR targets and their achievement are still a rarity.
Careers is an item that deserves the attention of just a few
Four companies showed no interest at all in posting information about careers and none of the other eleven could come over the 50% barrier. Whereas information on skills development scored comparatively well, items such as information on the remuneration candidates can expect, employee testimonials and HR contacts were roughly treated by companies as a whole. On HR contacts only four companies provided any information at all.
Increasing site responsiveness is a welcome trend
As people increasingly use mobile devices to visit websites, these are expected to enhance user experience with responsive design and high page-loading speeds. In one year, the share of responsive websites almost doubled from 22% to 40% and one third of the companies surveyed achieved mid-range performance in mobile loading speeds. The general user-friendliness of sites also rose in spite of stricter evaluation criteria.
Webranking by Comprend 2016-2017 – Portugal
Galp Energia came on top, as it has consistently done for the last five years, boosting its performance to 56.2 points from 54.4 a year earlier. Jerónimo Martins came in second with 46.3 points followed by EDP Renováveis with 43.1. EDP and REN took the 4th and 5th places with 42.3 and 36.2 points, respectively. The average for the 15 companies surveyed was 31.1 points, a significant deterioration compared with a year earlier.
Portugal Top 15 – Webranking by Comprend 2016-2017
|Rank||Company||Score 2016||Score 2015||Change in score|
Commenting on this year’s overall Portuguese results, Miguel Cruz de Oliveira, Director – France, Spain and Portugal at Comprend, said:
"There are multiple gaps in the digital corporate communications of leading Portuguese companies. While substandard content on investor relations and corporate governance has a negative impact on fair valuation, the lack of relevant information on careers does not bode well for the renewal of the talent base of major listed companies. Technology must also improve by pushing forward the effort on site responsiveness and mobile page-loading performance."
See the full Portuguese result here
For further information, please contact Miguel Cruz de Oliveira, Director - France, Spain and Portugal at +351 919 935 833 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about webranking
Webranking is Europe's leading survey of corporate websites and the only global ranking that is based on stakeholder demands. By identifying what the corporate audiences expect, we can help companies identify how to improve their corporate website content to better meet stakeholder needs.