As an AIM-quoted company, B90 and its subsidiaries (together, the “Group”) are required to apply a recognised corporate governance code, demonstrating how the Group complies with such corporate governance code and where it departs from it.
The Board of Directors of the Company (“Directors” or “Board”) have adopted the QCA Corporate Governance Code (the “QCA Code”). The Board recognises the principles of the QCA Code, which focus on the creation of medium to long-term value for shareholders, without stifling the entrepreneurial spirit in which small to medium sized companies, such as B90, have been created.
Application of the QCA Code
In the spirit of the QCA Code it is the Board’s job to ensure that the Group is managed for the long-term benefit of all shareholders and other stakeholders with effective and efficient decision-making. Corporate governance is an important part of that job, reducing risk and adding value to the Group. The Board will continue to monitor the governance framework of the Group as it grows.
B90 is an online marketing and operating company that seeks to grow shareholder value through organic growth and acquisitions. B90’s aim is to build a portfolio of gaming brands through a combination of strong organic growth as well as strategic acquisitions that complement the current business.
The Board aims to achieve these objectives through the adoption of best working practices and by leveraging its industry knowledge and expertise. We believe that the senior management team as well as the Board, together with their industry leading partners and networks, have the necessary capabilities to achieve organic and external growth in the future, as demonstrated, for example, by the acquisition in 2017 of the 51% interest in online sportsbook and casino gaming company, Bet90. The Company acquired the remaining 49% in January 2020 and therefore now owns 100% of the operations.
In accordance with the AIM Rules, B90 applies (and in some cases departs from) the QCA Code in the following way:
Principle 1 – Establish a strategy and business model which promote long-term value for shareholders
B90 is an online marketing and operating company in the gaming sector that seeks to grow shareholder value through organic growth and acquisitions, key aspects of which are ensuring customer satisfaction on both a B2B and B2C basis and strengthening the B90 brand.
Principle 2 – Seek to understand and meet shareholder needs and expectations.
B90 has engaged in active dialogue with shareholders through regular communication and the Company’s Annual General and one-on-one discussions. New information is released via the regulatory news service (RNS) before anywhere else and the website is update accordingly
Principle 3 – Take into account wider stakeholder and social responsibilities and their implications for long-term success
The Board recognises the importance of its wider stakeholders – employees, contractors, suppliers, customers, regulators and advisors – to its long-term success. The Board has established expectations that these key resources and relationships are valued and monitored. In particular, the Company’s business model of outsourcing some its key activities requires reliable dialogue with contractors to ensure the successful pursuit of its long-term strategic objectives. Furthermore, the Board intends to actively seek to engage regularly with its corporate advisers to ensure proactive communication regarding the Company’s activities. In doing so, the Company is able to take any feedback into account and adjust its actions accordingly to ensure it stays focused on long-term performance. The Board recognises that the Company operates within a competitive and fast changing industry and strives to remain alert to developments in a wider industry/society context.
Principle 4 – Embed effective risk management, considering both opportunities and threats, throughout the organisation
B90 operates within a complex business environment and an industry that is fundamentally driven by regulatory processes. The Board has set out its understanding of the principal risks and uncertainties in its Annual Report and regularly reviews its strategies for minimising any adverse impact to the Company or its investors.
The Directors acknowledge their responsibility for the Group’s system of internal control, which is designed to ensure adherence to the Group’s policies whilst safeguarding the assets of the Group, in addition to ensuring the completeness and accuracy of the accounting records. Responsibility for implementing a system of internal financial control is delegated to the CFO.
The essential elements of the Group’s internal financial control procedures involve:
- Strategic business planning
The Board regularly reviews and discusses the Group’s performance and strategic objectives.
- Performance review
The Directors monitor the Group’s performance through the preparation and consideration of monthly management accounts and daily through KPIs and regular reviews of its expenditure and projections. In addition, detailed financial projections for each financial year are prepared and are subject to formal and regular review against actual trading by the Board.
Principle 5 – Maintain the Board as a well-functioning, balanced team led by the Chairman
The Board comprises four Directors of which three are Executives and one is a Non-executive, reflecting a blend of different experience and backgrounds. Considering the 2020 fundraises, in which the Group’s Non-excutive Director Mark Rosman has participated, the Board considers, at this moment, none of the Directors to be completely independent as a Director in terms of the QCA guidelines. Accordingly, the composition of the Board does currently not satisfy the QCA recommendation that there are at least two independent Non-executive Directors on the Board.
The Board meets throughout the year and all major decisions are taken by the Board as a whole. The Group’s day-to-day operations are managed by the Executive Directors. All Directors have access to the Company information and any Director needing independent professional advice in the furtherance of his/her duties may obtain this advice at the expense of the Group.
Although the Board is satisfied that it has a suitable balance of knowledge of the Group, experience and skills to enable it to discharge its duties and responsibilities effectively, and that all Directors have adequate time to fill their roles, the Group intends to appoint an independent Non-Executive Director in due course and we will make further announcements as and when appropriate.
The role of the Chairman is to provide leadership of the Board and ensure its effectiveness on all aspects of its remit to maintain control of the Group. In addition, the Chairman is responsible for the implementation and practice of sound corporate governance.
Our Non-executive director is expected to devote as much time as is necessary for the proper performance of his duties. Executive directors are full-time employees or services providers and expected to devote as much time as is necessary for the proper performance of their duties.
During 2019 the Board held seven (7) formal meetings either in person or by call, all of which were attended by all Directors. The Board also passed ten (10) unanimous written resolutions.
Principle 6 – Ensure that between them the directors have the necessary up to-date experience, skills and capabilities
The Board considers its current composition to be appropriate and suitable with the adequate and up-to-date experience, skills and capabilities to make informed decisions. Each member of the Board brings a different set of skills, expertise and experience, making the Board a diverse unit equipped with the necessary set of skills required to create maximum value for the Company.
The Board is fully committed to ensuring its members have the right skills. Members of the Board must be re-elected by the shareholders of the Company if they have not been re-elected at the previous two annual general meetings in accordance with the Company’s Articles of Association, thereby providing shareholders the ability to decide on the election of the Company’s Board.
The biographical details of the Directors are:
Karim Peer, Non-Executive Chairman, aged 57, has undertaken numerous roles including being Managing Director of Open Bet, a leading provider of sportsbook, casino gaming and betting shop technology helping acquire Alphameric plc and growing annualised revenues to approximately £56m. Karim was part of the team that sold Open Bet to Vitruvian Partners in a deal worth more than £200m. Since 2014, Karim has been CEO of ClearLakeBlue Limited (“ClearLakeBlue”), which provides strategic consultancy and advice to corporates and private equity. His company focuses on restructuring, turnarounds and financial planning and works with corporates to prepare them for growth and to assist them in raising new capital.
Marcel Noordeloos, Chief Financial Officer, aged 53, was Group Finance Director at Playlogic International NV between 2006 and 2009 and Chief Financial Officer at Playlogic Entertainment Inc from March 2009 until December 2010 prior to becoming Chief Financial Officer at the Company. Marcel has held several management positions with among others Nike EMEA (2002-2006) and PwC (1992-2001). Marcel holds an RA Degree (Registered Accountant) from the University of Amsterdam.
Mark Rosman, Non-Executive Director, aged 54, has over 15 years of experience advising on private equity investments and managing private equity portfolios. Mark worked for Galladio Capital Management B.V. for eleven years and held the role of chief operating officer from 2006 until his departure in 2010. Since leaving Galladio, Mark has served as chief executive officer of The Nestegg B.V., a private equity management and advisory firm that advises high net worth individuals on the structuring and management of investments. Mark is a law graduate from VU University Amsterdam and has an MBA from Rotterdam School of Management.The Board also consults with external advisers, such as it Nominated Adviser and the Company’s lawyers, and with executives of the Company on various matters as deemed necessary and appropriate by the Board.
Principle 7 – Evaluate Board performance based on clear and relevant objectives, seeking continuous improvement
B90’s Board is small and extremely focussed on implementing the Group’s strategy. However, given the size and nature of the Group, the Board does not consider it appropriate to have a formal performance evaluation procedure in place, as described and recommended in Principle 7 of the QCA Code. The Board will closely monitor the situation as it grows.
Principle 8 – Promote a corporate culture that is based on ethical values and behaviours
We are committed to acting ethically and with integrity. We expect all employees, officers, directors and other persons associated with us to conduct their day-to-day business activities in a fair, honest and ethical manner.
For that purpose, we have adopted a Code of Business Conduct and Ethics (“Code”) which applies to all our workforce personnel. Pursuant to the Code, employees, directors and other relevant stakeholders are required to comply with all laws, rules and regulations applicable to us. These include, without limitation, laws covering anti-bribery, copyrights, trademarks and trade secrets, data privacy, insider trading, illegal political contributions, antitrust prohibitions, rules regarding the offering or receiving of gratuities, environmental hazards, employment discrimination or harassment, occupational health and safety, false or misleading financial information or misuse of corporate assets. The Code also includes provisions for disclosing, identifying and resolving conflicts of interest of the employees and Board members.
The Code includes provisions requiring all employees to report any known or suspected violation and ensures that all reports of violations of the Code will be handled sensitively and with discretion. We also recognise the benefits of a diverse workforce and are committed to providing a working environment that is free from discrimination.
We have also adopted a share dealing code, regulating trading and confidentiality of inside information by persons discharging managerial responsibility and persons closely associated with them (“PDMRs”).
We take all reasonable steps to ensure compliance by PDMRs and any relevant employees with the terms of the dealing code.
Principle 9 – Maintain governance structures and processes that are fit for purpose and support good decision-making by the Board
Corporate Governance Committees
The Board has established two committees, of which the composition is as follows:
Mark Rosman (Chairman)
Karim Peer (Chairman)
The Audit Committee
The Audit Committee meets twice during the year to review the published financial information, the effectiveness of external audit and internal financial controls including the specific matters set out below.
The terms of reference of the Audit Committee are to assist all the Directors in discharging their individual and collective legal responsibilities and during the meetings to ensure that:
- The Group’s financial and accounting systems provide accurate and up-to-date information on its current financial position, including all significant issues and going concern;
- The integrity of the Group’s financial statements and any formal announcements relating to the Group’s financial performance and reviewing significant financial reporting judgments contained therein are monitored;
- The Group’s published financial statements represent a true and fair reflection of this position; and taken as a whole are balanced and understandable, providing the information necessary for shareholders to assess the Group’s performance, business model and strategy;
- The external audit is conducted in an independent, objective, thorough, efficient and effective manner, through discussions with management and the external auditor; and
- A recommendation is made to the Board for it to put to shareholders at a general meeting, in relation to the reappointment, appointment and removal of the external auditor and to approve the remuneration and terms of engagement of the external auditor.
The Audit Committee does not consider there is a need for an internal audit function given the size and nature of the Group.
Significant issues considered by the Audit Committee during the year have been the Principal Risks and Uncertainties (which are set out in the this annual report) and their effect on the financial statements. The Audit Committee tracked the Principal Risks and Uncertainties through the year and kept in contact with the Group’s Management, External Service Providers and Advisers and received regular updates. The Audit Committee is satisfied that there has been appropriate focus and challenge on the high-risk areas.
Nexia Smith & Williamson, our external auditors, have been in office since 2013.
The external auditors are invited to attend the Audit Committee meeting to present their findings and this provides them with a direct line of communication to the Non-executive Director.
The Remuneration Committee
The terms of reference of the Remuneration Committee are to:
- recommend to the Board a framework for rewarding senior management, including Executive Directors, bearing in mind the need to attract and retain individuals of the highest calibre and with the appropriate experience to make a significant contribution to the Group; and
- ensure that the elements of the remuneration package are competitive and help in underpinning the performance-driven culture of the Group.
Principle 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 with its shareholders and in promoting effective dialogue regarding the Group’s strategic objectives and performance. Institutional shareholders and analysts have the opportunity to discuss issues and provide feedback via meetings with the Company. The Annual General Meeting and any other General Meetings that are held throughout the year are for shareholders to attend and question the Directors on the Company’s performance. Regular progress reports are also made via RNS announcements and the point of contacts are Karim Peer, Non-Executive Chairman and Marcel Noordeloos, CFO.
Last Updated Date: 9 December 2021