The twenty-seventh Annual General Meeting of Pennon Group Plc was held at Sandy Park Conference Centre, Sandy Park Way, Exeter, Devon EX2 7NN on Friday 1 July 2016 at 11am.
The twenty-sixth Annual General Meeting of Pennon Group Plc was held at Exeter Golf and Country Club, Topsham Road, Countess Wear, Exeter EX2 7AE on Thursday 30 July 2015 at 11am.
The twenty-fifth Annual General Meeting of Pennon Group Plc was held at Exeter Golf and Country Club, Topsham Road, Countess Wear, Exeter EX2 7AE on Thursday 31 July 2014 at 11am.
The twenty-fourth Annual General Meeting of Pennon Group Plc was held at Sandy Park Conference Centre, Sandy Park Way, Exeter, Devon EX2 7NN on Thursday 1 August 2013 at 11am.
The twenty-third Annual General Meeting of Pennon Group Plc was held at Sandy Park Conference Centre, Sandy Park Way, Exeter, Devon EX2 7NN on Thursday 26 July 2012 at 11am.
The twenty-second Annual General Meeting of Pennon Group Plc was held at Sandy Park Conference Centre, Sandy Park Way, Exeter, Devon EX2 7NN on Thursday 28 July 2011 at 11am.
Good morning and welcome to Pennon’s 2016 Annual General Meeting.
My name is John Parker and I am Chairman of Pennon Group. With me on the podium today are my fellow directors.
To the far right is Martin Angle who is a Non-executive Director of Pennon and Chair of the Remuneration Committee. Next to Martin, is Gill Rider, our Senior Independent Director and Chair of the Sustainability Committee and next to Gill is Neil Cooper, a Non-executive Director of Pennon and Chair of the Audit Committee.
On my left is Chris Loughlin, Pennon’s Group Chief Executive Officer, next to Chris is Susan Davy, Chief Financial Officer and next to Susan is Ian McAulay, Chief Executive Officer of Viridor.
Next to Ian is Lord Matthew Taylor and on his left is Martin Hagen, both of whom are South West Water Non-Executive Directors.
Immediately on my right, is Helen Barrett-Hague who is our Group General Counsel and Company Secretary. Helen was appointed to this role in March this year, taking over from Ken Woodier who has retired after 18 years service at Pennon.
Ken Woodier our previous Group General Counsel and Company Secretary decided to retire in the year. He has served the Company in a diligent, professional and committed way for some 26 years. We thank him and wish him well in the future.
You may recall that last year I attended the Annual General Meeting as Deputy Chairman, this year I am delighted to be here as Chairman of the Pennon Group.
This has been a transformative year. I am pleased to report that the Group has delivered a strong operational and financial performance, whilst keeping our commitment to maintain South West Water customer bills below inflation.
Within our Viridor business, we have seen significant earnings growth driven by the build-out of Energy Recovery Facilities across the UK. Whilst South West Water has successfully integrated Bournemouth Water and the combined water business is outperforming its regulatory contract. This strong performance across the Group underpins our sector-leading dividend policy of 4% growth per annum above RPI inflation to 2020.
I’ve spent a lot of time getting to know Pennon’s operations since I took over as Chairman last August. I’ve examined the strengths of the Group, both at South West Water and Viridor and looked to the future of the Group. I have found talented and committed people throughout the organization. Moreover, the three pillars I expect to see at boardroom level are in place: we have strong central financial controls, sound administration and good governance.
In the Autumn of 2015 we undertook a review of the Group’s strategic priorities and the outcome of this has given rise to an evolution in the Group strategy. In particular, we identified that greater commonality existed between the water business and the Waste Management business. As a result of the review we instigated a more homogenous risk profile across the two businesses, with Pennon’s investment proposition now premised on an increased proportion of contracted long-term revenues.
Following the strategic review, the Board decided to create a new role of Group Chief Executive Officer, and with effect from 1 January, this year, appointed Chris Loughlin., who was previously the Chief Executive of South West Water.
Chris now has the task of driving forward our Group strategy, which will involve looking across the business at how we can integrate some of the shared services across the Group such as HR, Finance and Corporate Affairs, share best practice, deliver synergies, capitalise on emerging opportunities; and identify opportunities for growth.
Both Viridor and the Water and Waste Water business have a breadth and depth of experience in managing large asset bases and in using engineering excellence, technology and innovation to deliver efficiency and effectiveness.
By sharing knowledge across the Group and harnessing our combined skills we can provide even better services to our wide customer base of local authorities, major corporate clients and household customers throughout the UK.
By driving integration across the Group we will also be able to extract tangible efficiencies and synergies.
On Board matters, changes to our governance structure were implemented on 1 April 2016, this saw our existing Pennon independent Non-executive Directors, Martin Angle, Neil Cooper and Gill Rider being appointed as additional non-executive Directors to the South West Water Board. In addition, the Pennon Board has been pleased to welcome the non-executive Directors of South West Water, Martin Hagan and Lord Matthew Taylor. Martin and Matthew will participate in the plenary sessions of the Pennon Group Board and its Committees whilst continuing to be non-executive Directors of South West Water.
As a result of these initiatives the new Pennon will be leaner, more nimble and will be better able to capitalise on strategic opportunities, whilst developing our people, our focus on safety, protecting the environment, helping the communities in which we operate, and enhancing shareholder value.