The level of disclosure and comprehensiveness from the reporting of Halma’s 2015 performance is largely consistent with the organisational health and performance elements contained within the PWC Value Framework. According to the framework, this will enable readers to establish a greater higher degree of comprehension when assessing the Firm’s performance.
One key finding is that many of the elements link back to the overall Firm strategy. This interconnection demonstrates
the relationship interdependencies that exist between the categories.The majority of the 17 PwC framework elements were easily accessible within the report, presented in many occasions both qualitatively and graphically. Without access, and presentation in a comprehendible format, the level of comprehensiveness reported is secondary.
Comprehensiveness For readers to establish a greater insight and increased understanding from the information set, Halma should focus its reform on the following key areas:
1. Communication of budgets/performance targets
2. Provide historical metrics to enable trend assessments
3. Provide benchmarking to give to give an operating environment perspective
4. Provide medium and long-term targets
This study conducted has limitations. Some limitations include:
1. The information set (2015 Annual report) is a public document which may be viewed by markets competitors.
The deeper the level of reporting, the greater the risk to any competitive advantage
2. The scope is of a single reporting period is studied, further historical analysis may be required to understand
the effectiveness of reporting
3. The study is heavily reliant on research interpretation
4. The nature and quality of performance reporting will be different in other entities, industries and operating environments.Swedish Match's Communication of Goals and Objectives
“Sustainability work for Swedish Match is concentrated in those areas which are most important for the Company and our stakeholders. We create shareholder value by offering tobacco consumers enjoyable products of superior quality in a responsible way. By providing products that are recognized as safer alternatives to cigarettes, we can contribute significantly to improve public health”. - Lars Dahlgren, President and CEO, Swedish Match Annual Report 2016, Page-5.
“Our name may have changed but our strategy and values remain the same. We continue to run a responsible and successful business that’s focused on maximising sustainable returns for our shareholders”. Mark Williamson, Chairman, Imperial Brands Annual Report 2016, Page-5.
Reporting characteristics that drive ‘Strategies & Objectives’
The operations of Swedish Match are characterized by its strong cash flows. Its management believes that excess funds should be returned to shareholders through distribution of dividends and share buybacks, (Marchildon & McDowall, 2013).
Imperial’s strategy is to focus on maximising its sales to deliver a sustainable return to the shareholders. Imperial wants to achieve this by building the contribution of its Growth and by improving its quality of growth, while prioritising profit delivery and by driving performance across the geographic footprint, (Mudra, 2014).
Extensiveness & Accessibility
The ever-increasing levels of regulations and restrictions imposed by governments and other non-government regulators are reducing consumption of tobacco, most notably, consumption of cigarettes. These regulations are impacting the growth and production of tobacco products thus curtailing the availability and accessibility of its products, (Yona, 2011).
Imperial uses Key Performance Indicators to measure the progress made in delivering the group’s strategy. The measures adopted reflect the group’s priorities and these are used for monitoring and driving business performance. The management focuses on maximising the available opportunities by building the contribution and strategically managing the markets for delivering Growth and Returns, (Keown et al, 2012).
Global tobacco market comprises of smoking tobacco products and smokeless tobacco products.
Cigarettes from the largest segment, accounting for 90% of all globally consumed tobacco.
In comparison, smokeless tobacco segment, though small, is growing substantially.
Imperial has policy of supporting any reasonable, but proportionate and evidence-based regulation, especially those which respects adult freedom and recognises that tobacco products are being patronised by millions worldwide, (Gibson & Fraser, 2013).
Swedish Match’s Strategy and Objectives have been well communicated throughout the report. Although the group has focussed less on its long-term targets, its strategic and objective performance information is ‘good’.
However, the strength of Imperial’s Strategy and Objectives performance information has focussed more on developing the business in the future and I find it to be ‘below average’.
Report Extract: Chief Executive’s Strategic Review
“This was another year of strong value creation and I’d like to thank our people across the business for all their hard work and dedication. Their focus on driving quality growth, embracing new ways of working and effectively managing cost and cash has been integral to our success”. - Lars Dahlgren, President and CEO, Swedish Match Annual Report 2016, Page-5.
Our business model illustrates how we create value. Consistently applying our Sales Growth Drivers to our Growth and Specialist BRANDS, combined with effective cost management, delivers quality sales with high operating margins. We use this cash to reinvest to support growth, pay down debt or return to shareholders through dividends. Mark Williamson, Chairman, Imperial Brands Annual Report 2016, Page-5.
Reporting characteristics that drive ‘Strategies & Objectives’
Imperial Brands' Communication of Goals and Objectives
Swedish management is apprehensive that global tobacco market has undergone a major shift in consumption trends of cigarettes. Swedish realises that consumer engagement is increasingly becoming important in many of its product categories. Hence, educating the consumer about non-tobacco products and their less harmful health characteristics is essential to build product awareness, (Greuning, Scott & Terblanche, 2011).
Imperial believes its portfolio consists of Growth, Specialist and Portfolio BRANDS. Markets have accepted the Growth BRANDS as they have broader consumer appeal; Specialist BRANDS too enjoy a strong appeal among specific consumer groups. Portfolio BRANDS have a mix of the local and regional characteristics, (Richard (ed), 2014).
Regulations and restrictions on tobacco products are getting widespread to cover more tobacco products. Hence, adjacent product categories, which are replacements of cigarettes, need to be brought in consideration and focus so that consumer needs are met, (Greuning, Scott & Terblanche, 2011).
In this respect, Imperial BRANDS have been consistently delivering alternate products and have a track record of following a compliant strategy. This has been helpful in generating handsome returns to the shareholders and has also helped the group in setting up a strong platform for the creation of future values, (Moens & Jones (ed), 2013).
In general, consumption of cigarettes and tobacco products has been in a declining stage in most developed countries over the past decade. Although cigarette consumption is on an increase in many emerging markets, Swedish Match has not followed the practice to produce tobacco products and cigarettes, (Schaffer, Agusti & Dhooge, 2014).
Imperial BRANDS has been following the initiative of comprehensively and actively directing its investments into those segments of the global markets where it can derive the best returns and thus avoid those market segments which give unprofitable low volumes, (Marchildon & McDowall, 2013).
Despite facing opposition from governments and non-government organizations to reduce tobacco consumption the Business Model performance information of the group is ‘good’.
The group’s performance information about its Business Model is ‘very good’ as the group’s track record of delivering consistent returns to its shareholders has created a strong platform for the creation of future values.
Report Extract: Chief Executive’s Strategic Review
“This reinforced the strength of our strategy and highlighted opportunities to drive even greater focus on our strategic priorities: strengthening our portfolio, developing our footprint, optimising our cost base and embedding capital discipline”. Alison Cooper Chief Executive, Imperial Brands Annual Report 2016, Page-11.
Reporting characteristics that drive ‘Strategies & Objectives’
At Swedish Match, appropriate competencies have been in place at the organization level and in the governance structure where clear responsibilities have been set with prerequisites defined for risk management at all administrative levels. The group’s Code of Conduct also ensures that an organizational culture is maintained which helps in preventing the administrators to take those risks which are deemed to be unacceptable, (Moens & Jones (ed), 2013).
At Imperial BRANDS, the management defines ‘risks’ as anything which could prevent the group from achieving its strategic objectives. The management’s goal is to achieve the required strategic objectives and let the administrator’s capitalise on the growth opportunities that require the management to deal effectively with the risks faced, (Schaffer, Agusti & Dhooge, 2014).
Extensiveness & Accessibility
Key Performance Indicators
The Board of Directors of Swedish Match oversees the Company’s risk management processes, and is empowered to finalise the group’s strategic plans and the risks associated with it. The risks are tackled on the basis of the recommendations received from the Group Management Team, (Mudra, 2014).
At Imperial BRANDS, risk is considered to be an inherent part of the group’s operating environment. The ambiguous, volatile, complex and the uncertain world in which the group operates require effective management of the known risks, together with identification and assessment of any emerging risks, in order to achieve the group’s strategic objectives, (Keown et al, 2012).
The management of Swedish Match conducts an annual review of the major risks, as part of its strategic planning process to assess methodologies to avoid such risks. This review and the assessments held help the management to ensure that it can take appropriate action, thereby helping the group in reducing and preventing the undesired risks, (Schaffer, Agusti & Dhooge, 2014).
The Imperial Group’s risk management framework has been aligned to its operating model and has been assembled as an integrated approach in the governing policy of the group. This structure not only encourages communication, it also helps in diffusing escalation of risk across the Group’s diverse geographical footprint, (Moens & Jones (ed), 2013).
The performance information of Risk Management created by Swedish Match through education and information distribution about Swedish Match’s tobacco products, makes this feature ‘very good’ especially when it highlights the less harmful health characteristic of its products as compared to cigarettes.
Imperial’s risk management approach depends on deployment of technical experts having knowledge and practical skills for developing appropriate policies, processes and control structures to support the management. I find it to be an ‘excellent’ way of mitigating risks.
“This has been an eventful and exciting year for Swedish Match Group, which has been making good developments for innovative smokeless products both in Scandinavia and in markets outside of Scandinavia, a record performance for our cigar business in the US, and the successful IPO and subsequent reduction in ownership of Scandinavia Tobacco Group”. Lars Dahlgren, President and CEO, Swedish Match Annual Report 2016, Page 3.
“Imperial BRANDSs continues to be run in an open and transparent manner. You can find out more about our governance framework and the work of the Board and its Committees in the Governance Report. The composition of the Board changed during the year. We have the right strategy, the right BRANDS and the right people, and that puts us in a strong position to create further value for shareholders over the coming years”. – Mark Williamson, Chairman, Imperial Brands Annual Report 2016, Page-3.
The Board of Directors is responsible for appointing, issuing instructions and monitoring the work of the President. The working procedure for Board of Directors is established at the statutory Board meeting every year. The working procedure includes instructions which are related to the roleplayed by the Chairman of the Board, dividing responsibilities between the Board of Directors and the Company President and guidelines to be issued for financial reporting to the Board. The Chairman of the Board has the responsibility to organize as well as to direct the work to be undertaken by the Board and is also to ensure that the Board fulfils its obligations. The other responsibilities which the Chairman must fulfil is forwarding of owners’ opinion to the Board of Directors, (Greuning, Scott & Terblanche, 2011).
Regulation and Trends in the Tobacco Industry
At Imperial Brands, the Directors have the collective responsibility and accountability towards the shareholders for maintaining the long-term sustainable success of the Group. On the other hand, the Board is responsible for providing overall leadership and guidance to the Group Management Team by setting the strategy targets and oversee their implementation. Hence, being part of the governance framework, it is for the Board to adopt the schedule of matters and pass the final decision on them. The schedule of matters includes tasks such as approval of Group’s strategy, dividends, business plans and make major financial announcements. The Board also has the responsibility to approve any acquisition or disposal of fixed assets which exceed the stipulated thresholds, (Gibson & Fraser, 2013).
Extensiveness & Accessibility
Board of Swedish Match has, in the recent years, devoted much time on the strategic assessment of Scandinavian Tobacco Group (STG). This has been done in accordance with the financial policy practiced by Swedish Match. The Board had proposed that all the excess cash which has been derived from divestments and which the company did not require for its day to day working would be distributed amongst the shareholders. For all such policy decisions, Swedish Match applies the Swedish Code of Corporate Governance, (Schaffer, Agusti & Dhooge, 2014).
The Board also delegates responsibility to develop and implement the Group strategy for day-to-day management to the CEO, who is supported by the Operating Executive (OPEX), which is chaired by the CEO. Apart from this, there are Board Committees who are also delegated with other matters. These delegations are controlled by clearly defined terms and written limits. The OPEX is made up of senior executives who come from all sections of the Group. Its role is to oversee operational execution and to deliver the Group’s strategic and financial plans. Apart from this, the OPEX and the Audit Committee are responsible for the internal controls to function effectively and also control the risk management processes throughout the Group, (Keown et al, 2012).
Swedish Match is governed by a variety of rules and some of them are – Company’s Articles of Association, Swedish Companies Act, Swedish Code of Corporate Governance and Rule Book for Issuers on Nasdaq Stockholm including some other applicable regulations and laws. The internal regulations and standards which also affect Swedish Match’s corporate governance, will include Board’s instructions to the CEO, Board’s Rules of Procedure, Group’s Code of Conduct and any other policy document which is issued within the Group, (Marchildon & McDowall, 2013).
The OPEX Committee reviews and evaluates the composition of the Board Committees so that an appropriate knowledge, balance of skills and experience is maintained so as to enable the committees to function effectively. In place Succession Plans are used for NEDs, Executive Directors and Group’s senior management and also the OPEX and these are reviewed periodically. The Committee has to retain an overview of the development plans keeping in view the wider organisational structure and its talent management processes, (Greuning, Scott & Terblanche, 2011).
The Company has not reported any deviation from the applicable Codes and also from the explanations provided in its Annual Report 2016, the performance information of Risk Management which has been created by Swedish Match makes this feature ‘very good’.
The Company has not reported any deviation from the applicable Codes and also from the explanations provided in its Annual Report 2016, the performance information of Risk Management which has been created by Swedish Match makes this feature ‘good’.
“We work with honest and straight-forward relationships with our suppliers, providing clear indications of expected volumes for next year’s production and consumption and clear prerequisites on expected quality in delivered product. The blender, procurer and sustainability expert work together in a team to assure progress in sustainable sourcing of raw tobacco. We have an integrated approach to procurement and have put quality in our snus products and the GOTHIATEK® standard first for nearly two decades. This allows us to pursue traceability further up the chain”. Martin Olsson, Director of Leaf Operations, Scandinavia Division, Swedish Match Annual Report 2016, Page 35.
“Our European distribution business Logista has a history of delivering good results and 2016 was no exception. Distribution fees and adjusted operating profit both increased and the Logista team continues to focus on cost management and new growth opportunities to further drive the profitable development of the business”. Alison Cooper Chief Executive, Imperial Brands Annual Report 2016, Page-11.
Management of Swedish Match contained relevant sustainability frameworks in the process to define those issues which are material to the group. Materiality has always been assessed on the basis of issues which are of global context. The group’s actual impact is based on the management’s potential of directly or indirectly influencing the issues, as well as its impact on long term viability of the group’s business. The group’s ‘Group Management Team’ has the collective responsibility of Swedish Match’s efforts on sustainability. The Group Management Team is actively involved in the process of defining and setting the strategy. In order to make the group’s sustainability strategy a reality to cover all parts of the group, management has built a parallel organization across all operating units which back up both, the development and implementation of the sustainability strategy, (Richard (ed), 2014).
Overall distribution of our products in all the operational areas is based on the principals that we follow in our distribution business system named Logista. This system has created history by delivering good results all through and hence, 2016 was no exception. The Group was able to maintain a steady outflow in Distribution Fees and the Group’s operating profit. Through a robust distribution network through the Logista team, both the factors showed an increased trend which the management hopes to continue. The management is also focussing on cost management and is constantly looking for new growth opportunities in order to further drive profitability and development of the group’s business. Group’s track record of consistent delivery based on its strategical planning has generated significant returns for the shareholders and has created a strong platform for future value creation, (Moens & Jones (ed), 2013).
Swedish Match maintains a Supplier Code of Conduct which is aligned to the group’s Code of Conduct and is the basis of the group’s relationship with its suppliers. It also forms an integral part of the majority of the group’s significant business agreements with its suppliers. Group activities in this context include dialogue and communication of the group’s requirements, the follow-up on adherence and the issue of proactive community investments. The group’s focus on tobacco growing is also confined to this risk assessment. The group also carries out due diligence process for the other direct materials which are involved. A thorough compliance, risk screening as well as the supplier’s assessments is carried out involving the purchasers in conjunction with the suppliers. The group’s process has been tailored to the local conditions and is in fact less formalized than that used for raw tobacco, (Schaffer, Agusti & Dhooge, 2014).
Group’s strategy to reduce its number of brands helped the management to align the group’s global manufacturing and supply chain in delivering operational efficiencies and also in optimising the working capital needs of Imperial Brands. Along with this, the management is also adopting new ways to work on lean principles in order to reduce the overheads and improve supply chain effectiveness. The management has already established a track record by increasing operating profit margins along with adjusted earnings per share. The group’s capital discipline has helped in driving a high cash conversion rate which demonstrates the group’s commitment for growth of dividends, repayment of debts and more investment in the business, (Moens & Jones (ed), 2013).
With the group’s implementation of the Sustainable Tobacco Programme (STP), the management is able to build a more in-depth knowledge on the sustainability issues in the group’s raw tobacco value chain. The management carries out assessments and reviews on the basis of the seed variety which is based on specific data about the farms from whom Swedish Match purchases the raw tobacco. The requirements, as contained in the STP, are very comprehensive and are based on obtaining evidence from suppliers. These policies will keep the process in a transition period for another two years and the suppliers will have to adapt to these requirements under the new programme. In the next three years, after the management has completed a full review cycle of the process, the management will have formed the new baseline. This will also include a detailed profile for the farms from whom the raw tobacco is sourced, (Yona, 2011).
Swedish Match aims at pursuing an integrated approach towards procurement of its raw tobacco. The management is piloting this comprehensive approach towards its snus products and the responsibility of the implementation of this programme is with the Leaf Operations of Scandinavia Division. This division is responsible for the balancing of all the relevant parameters which are being considered during the procurement process and these include – product quality, sales prognosis, price as well as the social and environmental issues, (Marchildon & McDowall, 2013).
On the basis of the strength of Swedish Match’s Strategy and Objectives performance information, the processes put in the supply chain management are apt for developing the group’s business and I find it to be ‘excellent’.
Strategy and Objectives have been well placed by the management of Imperial Brand and although the group has not focussed well on its long-term supply chain targets, its strategic and objective performance information is ‘good’.
Gibson, A. and Fraser, D. (2013) Business Law 2014. Frenchs Forest, NSW: Pearson Higher Education AU.
Greuning, H., Scott, D. and Terblanche, S. (2011) International Financial Reporting Standards: A Practical Guide. Washington DC: World Bank Publications.
Keown, A.J., Martin, J.D., Petty, J.W. and Scott, D.F. (2012) Financial Management: Principles and Applications (10th ed). New Delhi: Pearson Education India.
Marchildon, G.P. and McDowall, D. (2013) Canadian Multinationals and International Finance. New York: Routledge.
Moens, G. and Jones, R. (ed). (2013) International Trade and Business Law Review, Volume 10. Oxon: Routledge.
Mudra, J. (2014) International Financial Management (12th ed). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
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Schaffer, R., Agusti, F. and Dhooge, L. (2014) International Business Law and Its Environment (9th ed). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.
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