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. Furthermore, in December 2021, the Company acquired 100% of the operations of Spinbookie.com, another sportsbook and casino operator.
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 five Directors of which two are Executives and three are Non-executives, 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, Martin Fleisje and Andy McIver to be completely independent as a Director in terms of the QCA guidelines. Accordingly, the composition of the Board does currently 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 directors are 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 2022 the Board held six (6) formal meetings either in person or by call, all of which were attended by all Directors. The Board also passed seven (7) 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:
Ronny Breivik (Executive Chairman)
Ronny (49) has worked in online gaming since 1997 and launched the first gaming portal in Norway. In the early 2000s, Ronny was involved in a start-up, OddsAlive.com, which was subsequently sold to BetInternet in 2003. From 2004 until 2006 Ronny worked with Sportingbet.com, while also taking on the role of Product Manager for Bet24.com, which was later sold to the Modern Times Group. While at Bet24.com, Ronny introduced live betting and online poker to that company's product portfolio, creating and honing a profitable business model for live betting and online poker. From 2006 until 2011, Ronny was the CEO of M&B Poker Invest Ltd, which specialised in betting affiliation. During this time, Ronny co-founded and was one of the pioneers of the world's first 'rakeback' site, arguably disrupting the online poker world
Marcel Noordeloos (Finance Director):
Marcel (54) was Group Finance Director at Playlogic Internation NV betweeen 2006 and 2009 before becoming Chief Financial Officer of Playlogic Entertainment Inc (listed on Nasdaq in New York) in March 2009. Marcel became Chief Financial Officer at B90 Holdings plc in January 2011. Marcel has held several management positions with among others Nike (2002-2006) and PwC (1992 - 2001). Marcel holds an RA Degree (Registered Accountant) from the University of Amsterdam.
Mark Rosman (Senior non-executive Director):
Mark (56), Senior non-executive Director, has over 20 years of experience advising on private equity investments and managing private equity portfolios. Mark worked for Galladio Capital Management BV for eleven years and held the role of Chief Operating Officer from 2006 until his departure in 2010. Since leaving Galladio, Mark has serviced as Chief Executive Officer of The Nestegg BV, 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 the Rotterdam School of Management.
Martin Fleisje (Non-executive Director):
Non-Executive Director, aged 42, Martin is currently chief financial officer of Induct AS, a Norwegian software company. Prior to joining Induct AS, Martin spent the majority of his career in wealth management and sales most recently with Kraft Finans AS and Pioner Kapital AS, both based in Norway.
Andy McIver (Non-executive Director):
Non-Executive Director, aged 60, Andy has long been involved with a host of successful gaming businesses and, for the last three years, has been Non-ExecuCve Chairman of a leading Italian gambling company, Planet Win/SKS365 Malta Ltd. From mid-2016 to early 2018, Andrew was Group Chief ExecuCve of Jackpotjoy plc, one of the world’s largest online bingo companies at the Cme, with an EBIDTA of £100 million. With global operations, it was initially listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange as a roll-up vehicle, rapidly growing through an acquisition strategy. Andy has also been Director of Finance for House of Fraser plc and held senior roles at British Telecom plc, Hilton Group Finance plc (now Ladbrokes Group Finance plc), and Signet Group plc (now Signet Group Limited). He has also acted as a Non-Executive Director for both AIM-quoted and private companies. He began his career as a Chartered Accountant with Arthur Andersen LLP, following which he moved into corporate finance at Kleinwort Benson.
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:
Martin Fleisje (Chairman)
Mark Rosman (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.
CLA Evelyn Partners Ltd (previously named 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 Ronny Breivik, Executive Chairman and Marcel Noordeloos, Finance Director.
Last Updated Date: 14 August 2023