Corporate governance

Remgro Limited (“Remgro”) endorses and is fully committed to compliance with the principles of the King II Report's Code of Corporate Practices and Conduct. The Board advocates sound governance practices by all entities the Company is invested in and all the Company’s listed subsidiaries and associated companies endorse the Code of Corporate Practices and Conduct where applicable.

Remgro is an investment holding company. Reference to “the Group” in this context denotes the Company and its wholly owned subsidiaries. Each entity in which the Company is invested has its own governance structures. Effective corporate governance forms part of the Group’s investment assessment criteria which is further monitored by non-executive board representation on those boards.

In setting the parameters for this report, guidance was taken from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Boundary Protocol. Disclosure is limited to those entities that could generate significant impact on the Group’s sustainability performance and where it exercises control over the financial and operating policies of such entities, save where those entities disclose the relevant information in their own publicised annual reports.

In giving effect to its risk management responsibilities, the Group has implemented and maintained a continuous risk management review programme to ensure a coherent governance approach throughout the Group.

The following are the notable aspects of the Group’s corporate governance.

BOARD CHARTER

The Board has adopted a formal charter which has been implemented to:

The charter has been endorsed by all directors of Remgro and is available for inspection at the registered address.

The Board, having reflected on the following, is satisfied that, for the year under review, the required actions contained in the charter were executed satisfactorily.

COMPOSITION OF THE BOARD

Remgro has a fully functional Board that leadsandcontrols the Group. On 31 March 2008, the Board comprised of five executive and eleven non-executive directors of whom six are independent.

The roles of the chairman and the chief executive officer are separated. The chairman is a non-executive director but is not independent.

Board members are listed here.

ROLE AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE BOARD

The Board is ultimately responsible for the strategic direction, risk appetite, performance and affairs of the Company. In directing the Group, the Board exercises leadership, integrity and judgement based on fairness, accountability, responsibility and transparency so as to achieve sustainable prosperity for the Group.

After approving operational and investment plans and strategies, the Board empowers executive management to implement these and to provide timely, accurate and relevant feedback on progress made.

The Board remains accountable for the overall success of the approved strategies, based on values, objectives and stakeholder requirements, and for the processes and policies to ensure the effectiveness of risk management and internal controls. The Board is the focal point of the Group’s corporate governance and is also responsible for ensuring that it complies with all relevant laws, regulations and codes of best business practices.

The Board is responsible for monitoring the operational and investment performance of the Group including financial and non-financial aspects. It is also responsible for ensuring that procedures and practices are in place which will protect the Group’s assets and reputation through accurate and transparent reporting.

The Board has established the following subcommittees to assist it in discharging its duties and responsibilities:

The Board is responsible for the appointment and induction of new directors. Non-executive directors are selected for their broader knowledge and experience and are expected to contribute effectively to decision-making and the formulation of strategies and policy.

Executive directors contribute their insight of day-to-day operations enabling the Board to identify goals, provide direction and determine the feasibility of the strategies proposed. These directors are generally responsible for taking and implementing all operational decisions.

MEETINGS AND QUORUMS

The articles of association requires three directors to form a quorum for Board meetings. A majority of members, preferably with significant representation of the non-executive directors, are required to attend all committee meetings.

The Board meets at least six times a year. The Audit and Risk Committee meets at least four times a year, and the Remuneration and Nomination Committee meets at least once a year.

MATERIALITY AND APPROVAL FRAMEWORK

Issues of a material or strategic nature, which can impact on the reputation and performance of the Group, are referred to the Board. Other issues, as mandated by the Board, are dealt with at senior management level.

The minutes of all the committee meetings are circulated to the members of the Board. Issues that require the Board’s attention or a Board resolution, are highlighted and included as agenda items for the next Board meeting.

REMUNERATION PRINCIPLES

The Company’s policy that guides the remuneration of all directors and senior management is aimed at:

In accordance with these objectives, the Remuneration and Nomination Committee annually reviews and evaluates the contribution of each director and member of senior management and determines their annual salary adjustments. For this purpose it also considers salary surveys compiled by independent organisations.

DUTIES OF DIRECTORS

The Companies Act places certain duties on directors and determines that they should apply the necessary care and skill in fulfilling their duties. To ensure that this is achieved, best practice principles, as contained in the King II Report on Corporate Governance for South Africa, are applied.

The Board is also responsible for formulating the Company’s communication policy and ensuring that spokespersons of the Company adhere to it. This responsibility includes clear, transparent, balanced and truthful communication to shareholders and relevant stakeholders.

After evaluating their performance in terms of their respective charters, the directors are of the opinion that the Board and the subcommittees have discharged all their responsibilities.

CONFLICTS

Mechanisms are in place to recognise, respond to and manage any potential conflicts of interest. Directors sign, at least once a year, a declaration stating that they are not aware of any undeclared conflicts of interest that may exist due to their interest in, or association with, any other company. In addition, directors disclose interests in contracts that are of significance to the Group’s business and do not participate in the voting process of these matters.

All information acquired by directors in the performance of their duties, which is not disclosed publicly, is treated as confidential. Directors may not use, or appear to use, such information for personal advantage or for the advantage of third parties.

All directors of the Company are required to comply with the Remgro Code of Conduct and the requirements of the JSE Limited (JSE) regarding inside information, transactions and disclosure of transactions.

COMPANY SECRETARY AND PROFESSIONAL ADVICE

All directors are entitled to seek independent professional advice concerning the affairs of the Group, at the Company’s expense.

All directors have unlimited access to the services of the company secretary, who is responsible to the Board for ensuring that proper corporate governance principles are adhered to. Board orientation or training is done when appropriate.

GOING CONCERN

At least once a year the Board considers the going concern status of the Group with reference to the following:

 

SERVICE COMPANY

A subsidiary of Remgro, M&I Group Services Limited (M&I), renders management and support services to Remgro and its group members. M&I recovers its costs through fees for services rendered to companies. An agreement has also been entered into with VenFin Limited to provide certain support and administrative services to the VenFin group of companies at fees determined annually. The net costs of M&I is part of the corporate costs of Remgro. Refer also to note 26 to the annual financial statements.

 

RISK MANAGEMENT AND INTERNAL CONTROL

In determining strategic goals, the Board of Directors has ensured its understanding of all the risks identified in the Group’s investment portfolio with a view to maximising sustainable profits and growth. These risks are continuously measured against the risk appetite determined by the Board.

The categories of risk identified can be broadly classified as follows:

The Board has documented and implemented a comprehensive risk management system, which incorporates continuous risk assessment, evaluation, and internal control embedment.

The Enterprise-wide Risk Management system applicable to the Group comprises the following:

In fulfilling its wider responsibilities under the Corporate Law Amendments Act, 24 of 2006, the following was added to the self-assessment methodology used to monitor the Audit and Risk Committee’s effectiveness:

Where required the Audit and Risk Committee implemented procedures to guide and record its decision-making processes.

The directors are of the opinion that, based on inquiries made and the reports from the internal and external auditors, the risk management programmes and systems of internal control of the Company and its dependent subsidiaries were effective for the period under review. In this regard Tsb Sugar, Rainbow Chicken and Wispeco are considered to be independent and are thereforenot reported on here.

The Audit and Risk Committee has satisfied itself that there are effective audit committees functioning at the Company’s independent subsidiaries, joint ventures and associated companies.

DEALINGS IN SECURITIES

In accordance with the Listings Requirements of the JSE, the Company has adopted a code of conduct for insider trading. During the closed period directors and designated employees are prohibited from dealing in the Company’s securities. Directors and designated employees may only deal in the Company’s securities outside the closed period, with the authorisation of the chairman or the managing director. The closed period lasts from the end of a financial reporting period until the publication of financial results for that period. Additional closed periods may be declared from time to time if circumstances warrant it.

 

ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS

    Audit and Remuneration
    Risk and Nomination
  Directorate Committee Committee
Number of meetings held 7 4 1
       
Attendance by directors      
JP Rupert 7   1
M H Visser 7    
P E Beyers 7    
W E Buhrmann 7    
G D de Jager 7 3 1
JW Dreyer 7    
D M Falck(1) 7 4  
PK Harris 6   1
E de la H Hertzog 6    
J Malherbe 7    
M M Morobe(2) 5    
J A Preller (Mrs) 7    
D Prins 7 4  
M Ramos (Miss) 5    
F Robertson 7 3 1
T van Wyk 7    
(1) Mr D M Falck retired as a member of the Audit and Risk Committee on 30 January 2008 but has attended meetings on invitation since.
(2) Mr M M Morobe was appointed as a director of the Company on 18 June 2007 and attended directors’ meetings from August 2007.