PracticeAccounting FirmsAwards 2006: Associated British Ports – Business annual report

Awards 2006: Associated British Ports – Business annual report

Accountancy Age Awards 2006 winner: Associated British Ports – Business annual report of the year

aa awards 2006

Sponsored by ICSA International

Associated British Ports, this year’s winner of the Annual Report and
Accounts for Business Award, took detail and clarity as its watchwords.As one of
the judges said: ‘This is a very impressive report and when reading it I learned
an enormous amount about the company in a very short space of time. There was
real insight to be had and the company had very good things to say.’

ABP’s report is easy to use. Material is organised into four tabbed sections.
‘Who we are’ sets out ABP’s business ­ its markets, ports, assets and investment
programme.

It includes ‘A short voyage around our business’, which explains the where,
what and how of ABP’s trade and gives a detailed yet simple overview of the
group’s sources of revenue, markets and investment programmes.

‘How we have performed’ includes the chairman’s statement, a strategy review
from the group CEO setting out steady growth predictions for 2006, and the now
optional operating and financial review.

The third section on results, or ‘How our results add up’, includes the
company’s group income statement, balance sheets, cashflow statements and notes.

The fourth, ‘How we behave’, goes into detail of remuneration, governance and
corporate social responsibility issues. A report into corporate social
responsibility lists ABP’s highlights from 2005 including the launch of a CSR
website.

The report also details injuries, health and safety training programmes,
employee turnover, environmental issues, plus information on community relations
programmes including charitable giving, arts sponsorship and community events.

Throughout the report, important details and key messages are emphasised in
large captions or as asides, drawing the reader’s attention to important
details.

For instance, on the contents page, a reader looking for the remuneration
report is directed to a short piece of text pointing out that a greater
proportion of pay is now performance-linked.

At the top of alternate pages within the operating and financial review, more
key facts are played up: operating profit was up by 5%; earnings per share by
6%; and total shareholder return for 2005 rose by 28%.

This report is methodical, factual and detailed. Characterful drawings bring
life to ABP’s story and the whole gives the impression of a company entirely
committed to the notion of transparency.

SHORT, SHARP BITES

From the off, ABP’s report puts across the key facts and sets out an unfussy
message with perfect clarity: ‘Whatever the economic climate, we keep on an even
keel. Our strategy is to make long-term, low-risk investments, based on firm
criteria. Our goal is steady growth, stretching far into the future.’

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