The directors of Botswana Diamonds plc (“Botswana” or the “Company”) recognise the importance of sound corporate governance. As a company whose shares are traded on AIM, the Board has concluded that it will adopt the corporate governance code published by Quoted Companies Alliance Corporate Governance Code 2018 (“the QCA Code”).
In addition, the Company has an established code of conduct for dealings in the shares of the Company by directors and employees.
John Teeling, in his capacity as Chairman, has assumed responsibility for ensuring that the Company has appropriate corporate governance standards in place and that these requirements are communicated and applied.
The Board currently consists of 6 directors: Executive Chairman; Managing Director; Financial Director (and Company Secretary) and three Non-Executive Directors. The Board considers that appropriate oversight of the Company is provided by the currently constituted Board.
The 10 principles set out in the QCA Code are listed below, with an explanation of how Botswana applies each of the principles and the reason for any aspect of non-compliance. Where reference is made to the Annual Report, it is a reference to the latest Annual Report for the year ended 30 June 2017, which can be viewed at the following link.
John Teeling, Chairman
1. Establish a strategy and business model which promote long-term value for shareholders
The Company is an African focussed diamond exploration company and has a clearly defined strategy and business model that has been adopted by the Board. This strategy is set out on pages 4, 5 and 6 of the Annual Report.
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. Institutional shareholders and analysts have the opportunity to discuss issues and provide feedback at meetings with the Company. In addition, all shareholders are encouraged to attend the Company’s Annual General Meeting and any other General Meetings that are held throughout the year.
Investors also have access to current information on the Company though its website (www.botswanadiamonds.co.uk) and through James Campbell, Managing Director who is available to answer investor relations enquiries. The Company provides regulatory, financial and business news updates through the Regulatory News Service in accordance with the AIM Rules.
3. Take into account wider stakeholder and social responsibilities and their implications for long-term success
The Board is committed to having the highest degree possible of Corporate Social Responsibility in how the company undertakes its activities. We aim to have an uncompromising stance on health, safety, environment and community relations. The Company policy is that all Company activities are carried out in compliance with safety regulations, in a culture where the safety of personnel is paramount. The Company will ensure an appropriate level of contact and negotiation with all stakeholders including landowners, community groups and regional and national authorities. This is carried out by James Campbell and local management in Botswana and South Africa.
4. Embed effective risk management, considering both opportunities and threats, throughout the organisation
The Board regularly reviews the risks to which the Company is exposed and ensures through its meetings and regular reporting that these risks are minimised as far as possible whilst recognising that its business opportunities carry an inherently high level of risk. The principal risks and uncertainties facing the Company at this stage in this development and in the foreseeable future are detailed on page 18 and 19 of the Annual Report together with risk mitigation strategies employed by the Board.
5. Maintain the board as a well-functioning, balanced team led by the chair
The Board’s role is to agree the Company’s long-term direction and strategy and monitor achievement of key milestones against its business objectives. The Board meets formally at least four times a year for these purposes and holds additional meetings when necessary to transact other business. The Board receives reports for consideration on all significant strategic, operational and financial matters.
The Board is supported by the audit and remuneration and the nomination committees, detailed below.
The Board comprises Chairman. John Teeling (Chairman), the Managing Director James Campbell, Financial Director and Company Secretary, James Finn, and three non-executive directors, David Horgan, Robert Bouquet and Anne McFarland. Currently James Campbell is a full time employee. Executive and non-executive directors are subject to re-election intervals as prescribed in the Company’s Articles of Association. At each Annual General Meeting one-third of the Directors, who are subject to retirement by rotation shall retire from office. They can then offer themselves for re-election. On appointment the director receives a letter of appointment from the Company. The Non- Executive Directors receive a fee for their services as a director which is approved by the Board, being mindful of the time commitment and responsibilities of their roles and of current market rates for comparable organisations and appointments. The non-executive Directors are reimbursed for travelling and other incidental expenses incurred on Company business.
6. Ensure that between them the directors have the necessary up-to-date experience, skills and capabilities
The Board considers the current balance of sector, financial and public market skills and experience which it embodies is appropriate for the size and stage of development of the Company and that the Board has the skills and requisite experience necessary to execute the Company’s strategy and business plan whist also enabling each director to discharge his or her fiduciary duties effectively. Details of the current Board of Directors biographies are on the Company’s website at the link below
All Directors have access to the Company Secretary who is responsible for ensuring that Board procedures and applicable rules and regulations are observed.
The Board as a whole considers the Non-Executive Directors to be independent of management and free from any business or other relationship which could materially interfere with the exercise of their independent judgement.
7. Evaluate board performance based on clear and relevant objectives, seeking continuous improvement
Review of the Company’s progress against the long terms strategy and aims of the business provides a means to measure the effectiveness of the Board. This progress is reviewed in Board meetings held at least four times a year. The Managing Director performance is reviewed once a year by the rest of the Board and measured against a definitive list of short, medium and long-term strategic targets set by the Board.
Succession planning is considered periodically by the Board as a whole, although at present the current Board is focused on successfully executing the Company’s growth strategy.
8. Promote a corporate culture that is based on ethical values and behaviours
The Board recognises that their decisions regarding strategy and risk will impact the corporate culture of the Company and that this will impact performance. The Board is very aware that the tone and culture set by the Board will greatly impact all aspects of the Company and the way that employees behave. The exploration for and development of mineral resources can have significant impact in the areas where the Company and its contractors are active and it is important that the communities in which we operate view Company’s activities positively. 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 importance on this aspect of corporate life and seeks to ensure that this is reflected in all the Company does. The Company has an established code for Directors’ and employees’ dealings in securities which is appropriate for a company whose securities are traded on AIM, and is in accordance with Rule 21 of the AIM rules and the Market Abuse Regulation.
9. Maintain governance structures and processes that are fit for purpose and support good decision-making by the board
The Board has overall responsibility for all aspects of the business. The Chairman is responsible for overseeing the running of the Board, ensuring that no individual or group dominates the Board’s decision-making and ensuring the Non-Executive Directors are properly briefed on all operational and financial matters. The Chairman has overall responsibility for corporate governance matters in the Company and chairs the Nomination Committee. The Managing Director has the responsibility for implementing the strategy of the Board and managing the day-to-day business activities of the Company. The Company Secretary is responsible for ensuring that Board procedures are followed and applicable rules and regulations are complied with.
The Nomination Committee comprises the Chairman, Managing Director, Company Secretary and the Non-Executive Directors and meets at least once per year to examine Board appointments and to make recommendations to the Board in accordance with best practice and other applicable rules and regulations.
The Audit Committee, which is chaired by Managing Director, James Campbell, and also includes David Horgan meets at least twice a year and assists the Board in meeting responsibilities in respect of external financial reporting and internal controls. James Finn, the Company’s Financial Director also attends these meetings. The Audit Committee also keeps under review the scope and results of the audit. It also considers the cost-effectiveness, independence and objectivity of the Auditor taking account of any non-audit services provided by them.
The Remuneration Committee is comprised of Non-Executive Directors, David Horgan, Robert Bouquet and Anne McFarland. The Remuneration Committee meets at least once a year to determine the appropriate remuneration for the Company’s executive directors, ensuring that this reflects their performance and that of the Company. The Company has a share option scheme and also issues warrants to subscribe for shares to executive directors and employees.
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. Institutional shareholders and analysts have the opportunity to discuss issues and provide feedback at meetings with the Company.
Investors also have access to current information on the Company though its website http://botswanadiamonds.co.uk and through James Campbell, Managing Director who is available to answer investor relations enquiries. In addition, all shareholders are encouraged to attend the Company’s Annual General Meeting and any other General Meetings that are held throughout the year.
The Company’s financial reports can be found here: http://www.botswanadiamonds.co.uk/investors/financial-reports
In addition, the Company also uses Social Media platforms and provides access to news releases and general news relating to the Company’s business through twitter (@BotswanaDiamond), Facebook (BotswanaDiamondsPLC) and the Company page on LinkedIn (linkedin.com/company/Botswana Diamonds/).