The Board is accountable to the Company’s shareholders for good corporate governance and it is the objective of the Board to attain a high standard of corporate governance. The Board has adopted the Quoted Companies Alliance Corporate Governance Code (“QCA Code”) and the following information details how the Company complies with the 10 Principles of the QCA Code. The Board will monitor the suitability of the QCA Code on an annual basis and revise its governance framework as appropriate as the Company evolves.
References to “the Company” refer to Primorus Investments plc.
Principle 1 – Establish a strategy and business model which promote long-term value for shareholders
The Board has concluded that the highest medium and long term value can be delivered to its shareholders by the adoption of an investing strategy for the Company. Primorus Investments is an investing company with a focus to establish and/or acquire a diverse portfolio of direct and indirect interests in companies and/or projects at any stage of their development or operational lifecycle with a particular focus on the natural resources, energy, clean technology, financial technology, business technology, infrastructure, property, consultancy, brand licensing and leisure sectors. However, the Company will consider opportunities in all sectors as they arise if the Board considers there is an opportunity to generate potential value for Shareholders. The Company will consider possible opportunities anywhere in the world.
Full details of the Company’s current Investment Policy can be seen here.
The strategy is reviewed annually and more frequently as circumstances dictate.
Principle 2 – Seek to understand and meet shareholder needs and expectations
The Board is committed to maintaining good communication and having constructive dialogue with its shareholders. The Company has close ongoing relationships with its private shareholders. Shareholders and analysts can discuss issues and provide feedback at meetings with the Company. In addition, all shareholders are encouraged to attend the Company’s Annual General Meeting. Shareholders also have access to current information on the Company via its website, www.primorusinvestments.com, and via Rupert Labrum, Executive Chairman, who is available to answer investor relations enquiries.
Principle 3 – Take into account wider stakeholder and social responsibilities and their implications for long-term success
The Board recognises that the long-term success of the Company is reliant upon the efforts of its management team, its investee companies and stakeholders. The Board is therefore charged with the responsibility to ensure that there is as close as practicable oversight and contact with its key investee companies and shareholder relationships. Furthermore, the Board considers the wider impacts of any investee company in terms of their social and environmental impacts.
Principle 4 – Embed effective risk management, considering both opportunities and threats, throughout the organisation
|Financial||Liquidity, market and credit risk
Inappropriate controls and accounting policies
|Inability to continue as going concern
Reduction in asset values
Incorrect reporting of assets
|Robust capital management policies and procedures
The board agrees and signs off all annual reports which detail accounting policies.
Due to size of the company – the board discusses and agrees all payments over £25,000.
|Regulatory adherence||Breach of rules||Censure||Strong compliance regime instilled at all levels of the Company|
|Strategic||Damage to reputation
Inadequate disaster recovery procedures
|Inability to secure new capital or investments
Loss of key operational and financial data
|Effective communications with shareholders coupled with consistent messaging to potential investees
Off-site storage of data
|Management||Recruitment and retention of key people||Reduction in operating capability||Stimulating and safe working environment
Balancing salary with longer term incentive plans
Principle 5 – Maintain the board as a well-functioning, balanced team led by the chair
As at the date hereof the Board is comprised of Rupert Labrum (Executive Chairman), Matthew Beardmore (Chief Executive Officer) and Hedley Clark (Non-Executive Director). Biographical details of the current Directors are set out within Principle Six below. Executive and Non-Executive Directors are subject to re-election at intervals of no more than three years. The Executive Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer are considered to be full-time employees whilst the Non-Executive Director is considered to be part-time but is expected to provide as much time to the Company as is required. The Board elects a Chairman to chair every meeting.
The Board meets formally at least four times per annum but regular contact is maintained so that all directors are informed of relevant developments and are able to have discussions whenever required. It has established an Audit Committee and a Remuneration Committee, particulars of which appear hereafter. The Board has agreed that appointments to the Board are made by the Board as a whole and so has not created a Nominations Committee. The Board considers that this is appropriate given the Company’s current stage of operations. It shall continue to monitor the need to match resources to its operational performance and costs and the matter will be kept under review going forward.
Hedley Clark is considered by the Board to be an Independent Director. The Board notes that the QCA recommends a balance between executive and non-executive Directors and recommends that there be two independent non-executives. As it has only one independent non-executive director, the Board does not currently fully comply with this requirement and will consider making further appointments as the scale and complexity of the Company grows, which is expected to be when the Company’s market capitalisation of over £10 million.
Attendance at Board and Committee Meetings
The Company shall report annually on the number of Board and committee meetings held during the year and the attendance record of individual Directors. To date in the current financial year, the Directors have a 100% record of attendance at such meetings. To be efficient, the Directors meet formally and informally both in person and by telephone. To date, there have been at least quarterly formal meetings of the Board, and the volume and frequency of such meetings is expected to continue at this rate.
Principle 6 – Ensure that between them the directors have the necessary up-to-date experience, skills and capabilities
Appropriate Skills and Experience of the Directors
The Board currently consists of three Directors. The Company believes that the current balance of skills in the Board as a whole, reflects a very broad range of commercial and professional skills across geographies and industries and each of the Directors has experience in public markets.
The Board recognises that it currently has a limited diversity and this will form a part of any future recruitment consideration if the Board concludes that replacement or additional directors are required.
The Board shall review annually the appropriateness and opportunity for continuing professional development whether formal or informal. Currently each of the board are involved in financial markets and increase their awareness and skills via reading and participation in commercial transactions from time to time.
Rupert Labrum is a former investment banker, who retired after a successful career in the City of London. He was involved with Treasury and funding operations of international banks and building societies. He worked as a fund manager at Gartmore Investment Management and previously ran a proprietary derivatives trading desk at Deutsche Bank. Over the last several years, Mr Labrum has been an active investor in multiple private and publicly quoted companies. He has held notifiable positions in several AIM-quoted companies, and is the Company’s largest shareholder, holding an aggregate interest in its shares of approximately 21%.
Chief Executive Officer
Matthew Beardmore is a practising solicitor and commercial manager. He has acted on many investments, commercial transactions, property transactions and major projects amounting to several billion pounds during his career. Mr Beardmore was previously a non-executive director of AIM-quoted lnfraStrata plc, where he was instrumental in both completing and managing the company’s EU grant applications.
Hedley Clark is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. After nine years working in private practice, the last five at KPMG, he left to take up senior financial and management roles in various companies where he gained a wealth of international business experience. This included two successful start-ups. Up until the sale of the business in 2021, for the previous 12 years, Mr Clark’s principal role had been as Managing Director of Credence Background Screening Limited, a successful background screening company which, since his initial involvement in 2009, has seen significant revenue and profits growth.
Principle 7 – Evaluate board performance based on clear and relevant objectives, seeking continuous improvement
Internal evaluation of the Board, the Committee and individual directors is undertaken on an annual basis in the form of informal discussions. The annual report details the progress which the Board and the Company has made for each relevant financial year.
No succession planning is deemed necessary at this point due to the small size of the Company.
Each director is also assessed by shareholders on a three-year rotation basis at AGM when their re-appointment is due.
Principle 8 – Promote a corporate culture that is based on ethical values and behaviours
The Board recognises that its decisions regarding strategy and risk will impact the corporate culture of the Company as a whole and that this will impact its performance. The Board is aware that the tone and culture set by the Board will greatly impact all aspects of the Company as a whole. The corporate governance arrangements that the Board has adopted are designed to ensure the Company delivers long-term value to its shareholders and that shareholders have the opportunity to express their views and expectations for the Company in a manner that encourages open dialogue with the Board.
A large part of the Company’s activities is centred upon what needs to be an open and respectful dialogue with investee companies and investors and other stakeholders. Therefore, the importance of sound ethical values and behaviours is crucial to the ability of the Company to successfully achieve its corporate objectives. The Board places great import on this aspect of corporate life and seeks to ensure that this flows through all that the Company does.
The directors consider that at present the Company has an open culture facilitating comprehensive dialogue and feedback and enabling positive and constructive challenge. The Company has adopted a code for Directors’ and employees’ dealings in its securities which is appropriate for a company whose securities are traded on AIM and is in accordance with the requirements of the retained EU law version of the Market Abuse Regulation (“MAR”) that has applied in the UK from the end of the Brexit transition period (being 11:00 pm on 31 December 2020).
Principle 9 – Maintain governance structures and processes that are fit for purpose and support good decision-making by the board
The Board provides strategic leadership for the Company and operates within the scope of a strong corporate governance framework. Its purpose is to ensure the delivery of long-term shareholder value, which involves setting the culture, values and practices that operate throughout the business, and defining the strategic goals that the Company implements in its business plan.
The Board defines a series of matters reserved for its decision and has approved terms of reference for its audit and remuneration committees to which certain responsibilities are delegated.
The chair of each committee reports to the Board on the activities of that committee.
The Audit Committee has primary responsibility for ensuring that the financial performance of the Company is properly measured and reported on, reviewing the interim financial information and annual financial statements before they are submitted to the Board. The committee also reviews, and reports on, reports from the Company’s auditors relating to its accounting controls. It makes recommendations to the Board on the appointment of auditors and the audit fee. The committee monitors the scope, results and cost-effectiveness of the audit. It has unrestricted access to the Company’s auditors.
The current committee members are Hedley Clark (Chairman) and Rupert Labrum.
The Remuneration Committee is chaired by Hedley Clark. The committee reviews the performance of the executive directors and employees and makes recommendations to the Board on matters relating to their remuneration and terms of employment. The committee also considers and approves the granting of share options pursuant to the share option plan and the award of shares in lieu of bonuses pursuant to the Company’s Remuneration Policy.
The Board has agreed that appointments to the Board will be made by the Board as a whole and so has not created a Nominations Committee.
The Board currently has one non-executive director.
Due to the small size of the Company, it is deemed not necessary to appoint further non-executive directors until the Company’s market capitalisation exceeds £10 million.
In accordance with the Companies Act 2006, the Board complies with: a duty to act within their powers; a duty to promote the success of the Company; a duty to exercise independent judgement; a duty to exercise reasonable care, skill and diligence; a duty to avoid conflicts of interest; a duty not to accept benefits from third parties and a duty to declare any interest in a proposed transaction or arrangement. There are no plans at this stage to increase the governance framework until the Company’s market capitalisation exceeds £10 million.
Principle 10 – Communicate how the company is governed and is performing by maintaining a dialogue with shareholders and other relevant stakeholders
The Board is committed to maintaining good communication and having constructive dialogue with its shareholders. The Company has close ongoing relationships with its private shareholders. Shareholders can discuss issues and provide feedback at meetings with the Company and are encouraged to attend the Company’s Annual General Meeting.
Investors also have access to current information on the Company though its website, www.primorusinvestments.com, and via Rupert Labrum, Executive Chairman, who is available to answer investor relations enquiries.
The Company is currently considering, subject to the necessary formalities, to move to electronic communications with shareholders to maximise efficiency. The Company’s website details various information: annual reports, AGM notice of meetings and RNS announcements detailing results of meetings and other relevant information.
The Company shall include, when relevant, in its annual report, any matters of note arising from the audit or remuneration committees.
This information was last updated on 5 September 2022.