WITH company executives and their investor relations departments under pressure to allocate more time to meeting with investors and analysts at home and on the road, wouldn’t it be nice to lessen the burden while making access to management fairer at the same time?
That’s just what Rita Uotila, Vice President of Investor Relations at Finland-based Outotec Oyj, a technology and services company in the natural resources sector, has done by leveraging video webcasting.
Around the middle of each quarter, the company invites investors and analysts around the world to a live Q&A session with CEO Pertti Korhonen. Investors can email their questions to the company beforehand or call in to the webcast via numbers in the UK and the US.
Says Uotila: “Our shareholder base is very broad and we have a lot of shareholders around the world. To visit the main markets on a regular basis is part of our IR strategy, but there is only a limited number of meetings we can do face-to-face. The webcasts give equal access to our CEO no matter if the investor is in Germany, the USA or Australia.”
Email and phone questions
The mid-quarter Q&As have saved company management several hours of investor meetings per quarter. Previously, between 3 to 5 analysts wanted to visit the company between quarters, which disadvantaged those outside of Finland. There were also several requests for conference calls with management, each of which involved about an hour of management’s time.
The company now receives between 5 and 10 questions in advance of the mid-quarter Q&As and roughly 5 phone questions per webcast. Uotila starts each session with the emailed questions and then opens the phone lines. Webcast attendance is close to that of quarterly earnings calls, attracting up to 60 live participants.
Uotila says she tries to coordinate other announcements prior to the Q&As so that there are topical issues to discuss. The webcasts range in length from 20 to 45 minutes and are archived in the Webcast Center section of the company’s IR website.
The real-time nature of the live webcasts help Outotec comply with the fair disclosure requirements of the Finnish Securities Act, which mandate that information be disseminated simultaneously to all investors.
CEO happy with format and efficiency
“We feel that we have succeeded in both of our main goals: equal access and time management,” says Uotila. “We have noticed that increasingly many of our analysts are marketing the webcast in advance and writing short comments about what was said.”
The Q&As are recorded at the studios of the company’s service provider QSB Systems so there are no location costs and only one camera is used. The production cost is about $3,100, which is $1,500 less than the company’s quarterly earning presentations, which are also video webcast.
“Our CEO has been very happy with the format and efficiency so we are continuing these webcasts in 2011,” says Uotila.
The company has published a schedule of Q&As for the coming year in the IR website’s calendar and also pushed the information out via a news release.
What do you think of Outotec’s mid-quarter Q&As? Is this something you might consider offering at your company?