As an AIM quoted company MSI INTERNATIONAL plc, under AIM Rule 26, is required to adopt a recognised corporate governance code, describe how it complies with that code and provide details of where it does not comply with its chosen corporate governance code.
MS INTERNATIONAL plc has chosen to adopt as far as practical for a Group of its size the April 2018 QCA Corporate Governance Code with effect from 28th September, 2018. The Chairman assumes principal responsibility for corporate governance.
The Board is responsible for ensuring that MS INTERNATIONAL plc has the strategy, people, structure, and culture in place to deliver value over the medium to long-term to shareholders and other stakeholders of the Group and is committed to high standards of governance, as is appropriate for a company of its size and structure.
The Board is chaired by the Executive Chairman Michael Bell, who has no other significant commitments and is responsible for the operation, strategic focus, and direction of the business. The executive directors include Michael O’Connell and Nicholas Bell. There are two non-executive directors, Roger Lane-Smith and David Hansell, with Roger Lane-Smith being designated as Senior Independent Director.
The two non-executive directors devote sufficient time to fulfil their responsibilities to the Company. The Board has considered their length of service as directors and employees and has determined that in terms of interest, experience, and judgement they all remain independent. Consequently, the Board considers itself to be compliant with the QCA code in having two or more independent non-executive directors.
The Board meets at least quarterly throughout the year to direct and assess the overall strategy and operating performance of the Group. All directors have full and timely access to all relevant information to allow them to carry out their responsibilities. Executive directors, except for Company business trips and holidays, meet on a daily basis when possible. Additionally, each of the divisional operations have monthly review meetings which are attended by the Executive Chairman and the Group Financial Director.
The Board is supported by an Audit Committee and a Remuneration Committee. Roger Lane-Smith and David Hansell are members of both committees, with Roger Lane-Smith serving as Chairman.
The Audit Committee normally meets two or three times a year and has the responsibility for reviewing the interim statements, the annual report, and the effectiveness of the system of internal controls with the Group’s external auditor. The external auditor has direct access to the Committee without the executive directors being present. The ultimate responsibility for reviewing and approving the Group financial statements remains with the Board.
The Remuneration Committee, which meets as required, has the responsibility for making recommendations to the Board on the remuneration packages, including share option schemes and bonuses, of each of the executive directors.
Due to the size of the Group there is no Nominations Committee. The Chairman discusses the appointment or replacement of directors with the Board as a whole. The Board are aware of the age profile of the directors, and this is under review.
The number of meetings and members attendance of Board and Committee meetings during the financial year ended 30th April, 2023 was as follows:
|Number of meetings in the year||6||3||2|
Board experience, skills and evaluation
Due to the size of the Group, and the nature of its operations and strategic demands, there is no formal Board performance evaluation process in place. However, the Chairman periodically meets with the executive and non-executive directors to ensure they are committed, their respective contributions are effective and productive and, where relevant, they have maintained their independence.
The Board has considered its structure and composition and believes it to be appropriate having taken into account the nature and characteristics of the Group.
As the directors have all served the Group as employees and directors over many years, the Board believes it is not necessary to give any further details of their experience other than that shown in the list of directors and the Notice of Annual General Meeting.
In the opinion of the Board, the directors as a whole have the appropriate balance of skills and experience necessary to ensure that the Group is managed for the long-term benefit of all stakeholders.
Internal control systems
The Board is responsible for establishing and maintaining the Group’s system of internal control. Internal control systems are designed to meet the particular needs of the operating company concerned bearing in mind the resources available and the risks to which it is exposed, and by their nature can provide reasonable but not absolute assurance against material misstatement or loss. The key procedures which the directors have established with a view to providing effective internal control are set out below.
The Board has overall responsibility for the Group and there is a formal schedule of matters specifically reserved for decisions by the Board which covers the key areas of the Group’s affairs, including dividend policy, acquisitions and divestment policy, approval of budgets, capital expenditure, major buying and selling contracts and general treasury and risk management policies. There is a clearly decentralised structure which delegates authority, responsibility, and accountability, including responsibility for internal financial controls, to management of the operating companies.
Responsibility levels and delegation of authority and authorisation levels throughout the Group are set out in the Group’s corporate accounting and procedures manual.
There is a comprehensive system for reporting financial results. Monthly accounts are prepared on a timely basis. They include income statement, balance sheet, cash flow and capital expenditure reporting with comparisons to budget and forecast. The budget is prepared annually and revised forecasts are provided monthly.
There is an investment evaluation process to ensure Board approval for all major capital expenditure commitments.
There is also a contract evaluation process to ensure directors approval for all major sales contracts.
Details of how the Company has addressed the ten principles of the QCA Code in compliance with AIM Rule 26 are set out below:
- Establish a strategy and business model which promotes long-term value for shareholders
The Group’s long-term strategy is to invest in people, products, and processes to seek continuous improvement in its four diverse operating divisions: ‘Defence’, ‘Forgings’, ‘Petrol Station Superstructures’ and ‘Corporate Branding’, each holding a leading position in its specialist market.
- Seek to understand and meet shareholder needs and expectations
The shareholding structure of the Company is set out on the ‘Securities’ page on the Company’s website: msiplc.com/securities. The composition of the shareholders, including the directors, is currently primarily weighted towards private investors, with a significant institutional shareholder.
The AGM is the main forum for dialogue and discussion with private investors and the Board. The directors routinely attend the AGM and are available to answer any questions raised by shareholders. Shareholders can engage with the Company between AGMs by contacting the Company Secretary, Shelley Ashcroft ([email protected]). The Board also contacts significant institutional investors as and when appropriate.
- Take into account wider stakeholder needs and expectations
The Group is aware of its corporate social responsibilities and the need to maintain effective relationships with all of the stakeholders in the business including shareholders, employees, customers, suppliers and regulatory authorities. The Group’s operations, processes, and procedures are monitored and adapted to take account of changing stakeholder relationships whilst maintaining focus on the Board’s strategic objective of delivering value over the medium to long-term for the benefit of all stakeholders.
The Board aims to do what is in the best interests of the Company and seeks to maintain the highest standards of integrity in the conduct of the Group’s operations.
The requirement for regular disclosure of directors’ other interests and compliance to share dealing regulations all require high standards of behaviour.
The Group’s employment policies, such as Whistleblowing and Anti-Bribery and Corruption assist in setting a culture of ethical behaviour throughout the Group.
Through the various procedures and processes the Group has adopted, each diverse operating division ensures full compliance with the health and safety and environmental legislation applicable to each division.
- Embed effective risk management, considering both opportunities and threats, throughout the organisation
The Board reviews the effectiveness of the system of internal controls, and together with operational management, identifies and evaluates the critical business and financial risks of the Group. These risks are reviewed continually by both the directors and operational and divisional management. Where appropriate, action is taken to manage risks facing the business.
The Group’s corporate governance environment and its embedded procedures and systems will be updated and adapted to future changes in stakeholder relationships when considered appropriate by the Board.
- Maintain the Board as a well-functioning, balanced team led by the chair
Details of how the Board functions and its members are included in the ‘The Board’ section of this Corporate Governance statement.
The Board is supported by an Audit Committee and a Remuneration Committee, both chaired by Roger Lane-Smith. David Hansell, a non-executive director, also serves on both the Audit Committee and the Remuneration Committee. The Board as a whole operates as the Nominations Committee as and when required.
- Ensure that between them the directors have the necessary up-to-date experience, skills, and capabilities
Details of the directors’ experience, skills and capabilities can be found in the ‘Board experience, skills, and evaluation’ section of this Corporate Governance report.
- Evaluate board performance based on clear and relevant objectives, seeking continuous improvement
While there is no formal evaluation process in place, the Chairman periodically meets with executive and non-executive directors to discuss their performance and ensure that their respective contributions remain effective.
- Promote a corporate culture that is based on ethical values and behaviours
The Group’s four operating divisions hold leading positions within their specialist markets and have long-standing reputations as being highly competent and professional organisations with innovation and quality being integral to this. This reputation has been established over many years through leadership and the reinforcement of ethical principles by directors, managers, and employees.
- Maintain governance structures and processes that are fit for purpose and support good decision making by the Board
The Board maintains corporate governance policies and processes that are appropriate to the size and structure of the Group. The responsibility for corporate governance rests with the Board as a whole, with the Chairman assuming principal responsibility. The effectiveness of policies and processes are reviewed and adapted as necessary.
- Communicate how the company is governed and is performing by maintaining a dialogue with shareholders and other relevant stakeholders
The Board communicates its corporate governance policies through the Annual Report and through the Group website (www.msiplc.com).
The AGM is the main forum for dialogue and discussion with private investors and the Board. The Notice of Annual General Meeting is sent to shareholders at least 21 days before the meeting and all of the directors routinely attend the AGM and are available to answer any questions raised by shareholders. The results of each AGM are published on the website and by way of an RNS when the meeting has concluded. Copies of notice of meetings and Annual Reports from the last five years are kept on the Company’s website.
Shareholders can engage with the Company between AGMs by contacting the Company Secretary, Shelley Ashcroft ([email protected]). The Board also contacts significant institutional investors as and when appropriate.
Date of last review: 22nd June 2023