02/07/2008 - 22:00

Governance survey

02/07/2008 - 22:00

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Western Australian companies have delivered diverse results in a report of corporate governance standards by chartered accountants WHK Horwath.

Governance survey

Western Australian companies have delivered diverse results in a report of corporate governance standards by chartered accountants WHK Horwath.

Resource companies Aquila Resources and Murchison Metals received a lowly one out of five star rating in the report, while investment manager Great Southern and miners Iluka Resources and Perilya received five stars.

WA companies Wesfarmers, GRD and Independence Group also earned impressive results with 4.5-star ratings.

The report provides an independent assessment of the corporate governance structures of Australia's largest 250 listed companies.

WHK Horwath Principal Sean McGurk said good corporate governance helped create value and provide accountability within companies.

The report, which was compiled by University of Newcastle Professor Jim Psaros, found that the number of companies receiving a one-star rating rose to 4 per cent this year, from 2.4 per cent in 2007.

Companies with a five-star rating also increased from 14 per cent (35 companies) in 2007 to 16 per cent (40 companies) this year.

Mr Psaros said despite the increased number of companies receiving a five-star rating, it was disappointing to see the number with a one-star evaluation also increasing.

"The sobering bad news is that the number of companies obtaining one star because of their significant deficiencies in corporate governance has also increased," he said in the report.

Key issues in the ranking of companies include whether they have an independent chairman, whether they have a majority of independent, non-executive directors and whether they have appropriate board committees.

Six companies ranked equal first in the report, including CSR, which improved its ranking from 42 in 2007.

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