SHAREHOLDERS’ RIGHT AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Principle 14: Shareholder Rights
The Company respects and upholds shareholders’ rights, and tenders its communication with shareholders with care. The Board recognises and exercises its overall responsibility to shareholders, by ensuring accurate financial reporting for the Company’s overall internal control framework, including financial, operational, information technology and compliance controls, risk management policies and through systems needed to safeguard the shareholders’ investments and assets of the Company. The Company’s Bye-laws were amended to provide for the attendance by nominees of shareholders at general meetings. The Company encourages and facilitates shareholder engagement and participation through its meetings and briefings referred to in Principle 15 (below).
Principle 15: Communication with Shareholders
The Company engages in regular, effective and fair communication with shareholders. The Board is mindful of the obligations to provide timely information and full disclosure of material information to shareholders in accordance with the statutory requirement and the listing manual of the SGX-ST. Information is communicated to shareholders on a timely basis. All material information and financial results are released through SGXNET.
Notice of the AGM or the Special General Meeting (“SGM”), if any, and Annual Reports are issued to all shareholders of the Company. The Notice of AGM or SGM is also advertised in newspaper and announced via SGXNET. Information on major new initiatives of the Company is also disseminated via SGXNET, news release and made available on the Company’s website.
Regular meetings are held with investors, analysts, fund managers and the press. The Group also has a corporate web-site (www.azeus.com) where shareholders and members of the public are able to access up-to-date corporate information and new events related to the Group.
While the Company has no official policy on the payment of dividends, it has consistently paid out the bulk of its profits as dividends since its listing in 2004. The amount of dividends paid each year will depend on factors that include the Group’s profit level, cash position and future cash needs.
Subject to shareholders’ approval at the forthcoming AGM, the Board is recommending a final dividend of 21.0 HK cents per share for the financial year ended FY2019.
Principle 16: Conduct of Shareholder Meetings
The AGM of the Company represents the principal forum for dialogue and interaction with all shareholders. At each AGM, the Board welcomes questions from shareholders who have an opportunity to raise questions or share their views regarding the proposed resolutions and the Company’s business and affairs, either informally or formally before or at the AGM.
The Chairman of the Board Committees, Directors, senior management and external auditors will be present and available at the general meeting to attend to the queries/questions from shareholders.
As a matter of policy and practice, minutes of general meetings including comments from shareholders, on all or any issues on the agenda, and responses from the Board and Management, are always available to shareholders upon request.
In compliance with the listing rules of the SGX-ST and to promote greater transparency in general meetings and enhancing shareholders’ engagement, the Company has been conducting voting by poll on all resolutions tabled at all general meetings since 1 August 2015.
Separate resolutions are proposed at general meetings for each distinct issue. Details results of the poll voting on each resolution tabled at the general meetings (with the number of votes cast for and against each resolution and the respective percentages) are released via SGXNet on the same day after the conclusion of the general meeting.
The Company has not amended its Bye-Laws to provide for absentia voting method. As the authentication of Shareholder identity information and other related security issues remain a concern, the Company has decided, for the time being, not implement voting in absentia by mail, e-mail or fax.
Code of Business Conduct
The Directors, officers and employees are required to observe and maintain high standards of integrity, as are in compliance with law and regulations and the Company’s policies.
Dealings in Securities
The Company has adopted an internal code of practice for securities transactions by all Directors, officers and employees of the Group in compliance with Rule 1207(19) of the Listing Manual of SGX-ST.
In compliance with the above-mentioned Rule, Directors, officers and employees of the Group have been advised not to trade in the listed securities of the Company when in possession of unpublished price-sensitive information or on short-term considerations. Directors, officers and employees are also advised not to trade in the Company’s securities during the period commencing one month before the announcement of the Company’s half year and full year financial results and ending on the day of the announcement of the relevant results. All directors, officers and managers are required to file with the Company regular reports on all their dealings in the listed securities of the Group during the financial year.
There were no material contracts (including loans) of the Company or its subsidiaries involving the interests of the CEO, directors or controlling shareholders, which subsisted at the end of the financial year or have been entered into since the end of the previous financial year.
Interested Person Transactions
The Group has adopted an internal policy in respect of any transactions with interested persons and established procedures for the review and approval of such transactions.
An interested person transactions will be properly documented and submitted to the AC for half-yearly review to ensure that they are carried out on an arm’s length basis, on normal commercial terms and will not be prejudicial to the interests of the Company and its minority shareholders.
There were no significant interested person transactions during the financial year.
Whistle Blowing Policy
The whistle blowing policy of the Group serves to encourage and provide a good channel to employees to report and to raise, in good faith and in confidence, concerns about possible improprieties in financial reporting, criminal activities, failure to comply with the laws and regulations, any suspected wrongdoing of fraud or other matters. A well-defined process ensures independent investigation of such matters and the assurance that employees will be protected to the extent possible from reprisals. Under the policy, employees may report their concerns to either the human resource department or even approach the Independent Directors. There were no whistle blowing incidents reported during the year.