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Eastern Europe Governance Disclosures Decline

The East West Management Institute (EWMI) has released the latest findings of its semi-annual survey of online investor relations of the ten largest listed company by market cap in 11 Central and Eastern European Countries. According to research assistant, Igor Solodovnik, the results show a disappointing decrease in disclosure standards across all the categories surveyed.

As part of their work for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Partners for Financial Stability Program, EWMI has  reviewed the English-language websites and annual reports of the ten largest listed companies in their CEE universe to assess current disclosure practices of the region’s blue chip companies. Comparisons are also made with the emerging BRIC markets.

Information on Board Members: 85% of the companies surveyed provide a list of board members online, compared with 91% in August 2008. 56% of the companies surveyed provide additional information about board members online, compared with 61% in August 2008.

Best Practice: Since 2004, the survey has included recommendations on the ideal corporate website and compares CEE companies with this standard. On February 16, 2009 52 of the 110 companies surveyed in CEE (47%) disclose information in all of the categories analyzed in the basic PFS Program survey: local-language website; English-language website; list of management; list of board members; additional information on management; and additional information on board members.

Comparisons with BRIC and Ukraine: The largest listed companies in BRIC also disclose slightly less information in this survey than in the previous survey. Companies in BRIC generally outperform peers in the eight CEE countries that joined the EU in 2004; however, in two categories (English-language website and list of supervisory board members) companies in the eight CEE countries outperform peers in BRIC. The Ukrainian companies surveyed disclose less information than their peers in both BRIC and CEE; however, a slight improvement was recorded vis-à-vis the previous survey.

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