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October 22, 2021 Webranking

German companies continue to perform well but need to improve communication about risk management

By Freja Nilsson

German companies continue to perform better than the European average in this year's Webranking. We have ranked the 62 largest companies in Germany to evaluate how well they meet the needs and expectations of their stakeholders, such as analysts, investors, jobseekers, and the media. German companies are especially strong in financial reporting and press information.

In this year's Webranking by Comprend German companies continue to perform slightly better than the European average. The average score of the 62 ranked German companies is 45.3 out of 100, and the European average is 43.6. Since last year, the average score has increased slightly by 0.9 points (from 44.2) but does not come close to the 2018-2019 high of 51.6.

Excellent material provided from financial presentations

German companies perform best when it comes to material related to reporting such as annual and interim reports and presentations, receiving on average 55 points which is better than the European average of 51 points. This is especially true when it comes to financial presentations. German companies do a great job providing downloadable PDFs or PPTs of the presentations (98% of the companies) and providing an archive of presentations covering at least three years (97% of the companies).

Deutsche Telekom, one of Germany's top performers, have a well-structured archive for financial presentations divided by quarter and with key points highlighted. These features make it easy for the visitor to get a good overview of the latest reports. They also provide captions for the webcast included, which not many companies do. It is essential to have captions in videos to live up to accessibility standards so that people with hearing impairments or who, for other reasons, cannot listen to the presentation can access the content.

Screenshot of  Deutsche Telekom's reporting archive

German companies provide extensive media sections

German companies have also performed well when it comes to providing information to the media. The German companies have scored on average 54 points, compared to the European average of 48 points. The best performing company in this section is Deutsche Post (DHL Group).

The Media section of Deutsche Post's website contains all areas that a journalist might need, such as an extensive media archive that also includes infographics. Fact sheets, for example covering sustainability, are also provided directly on the media landing page, making it easy to find for those looking for more information.

Screenshot of  Deutsche Post's media section

Risk management and financial targets the most significant areas for improvement

The section where German companies struggle to meet stakeholder expectations the most is the Investor Relations section. The companies especially struggle to communicate about risk management and financial targets and how they have performed in achieving the financial targets.

Only 10% of German companies provide information about how they are prepared to manage various types of risks, compared to the European average of 18%. According to the stakeholders, financial risks are the most important type of risk to present, as 96% of the respondents of Comprend's Capital Market survey 2021 find this important. Still, only 8% of the German companies include this information. The types of risks that the companies most rarely inform about are regulatory risks (2%) followed by strategic risks (3%).

However, the German top performer BASF provide detailed information about the risk management process in their online annual report. It is also complemented by a chart creating a clear overview.

Screenshot from BASF's online annual report

When it comes to information about which financial goals the companies have and how they have achieved them, not many German companies include this information.

Looking at the 20 largest German companies, 20% include their financial goals in numbers. Compared with Sweden, 70 % of all companies provide financial goals in numbers. 11 % of the German companies describe how they have achieved their financial goals in the past.

A company that includes their financial targets is ThyssenKrupp. There is a clear division between financial targets and sustainability targets, and they present the targets in a table with links to more information.

Screenshot from Thyssen Krupp's corporate website

The top performers in Germany

BASF keep first place, and Henkel have moved up to second place, while Deutsche Telekom have moved down one position to third place. Henkel has improved their score by 2.1 points while Deutsche Telekom's score have dipped by 4.5 points. BASF are especially strong in the Investor Relations and Careers sections of their website. Henkel perform well when it comes to sustainability and careers information. Like BASF and Henkel, Deutsche Telekom also do a good job communicating career information, and they are also strong in financial reporting.

The best climber is HelloFresh, who have improved their score by 15.3 points since last year's ranking. Well done!

Germany top 10

1BASFEurope 500, Germany5520 Chemicals71.4
2HenkelEurope 500, Germany4020 Consumer Products and Services65.1
3Deutsche TelekomEurope 500, Germany1510 Telecommunications59.7
4BMWEurope 500, Germany4010 Automobiles and Parts58.1
5ContinentalEurope 500, Germany4010 Automobiles and Parts56.9
5SymriseEurope 500, Germany5520 Chemicals56.9
7RWEEurope 500, Germany6510 Utilities55.9
8Merck KgaaEurope 500, Germany2010 Health Care55.7
9ThyssenKruppEurope 500, Germany5020 Industrial Goods and Services55.2
10Infineon TechnologiesEurope 500, Germany1010 Technology55.1

See the full German results or read more about the Webranking Report.

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