Information and control instruments
The Board of Directors is kept regularly informed about all important matters relating to the Group’s business activity. The CEO and members of Group Management attend Board of Directors’ meetings and report on the ongoing course of business, important projects, and events. Extraordinary occurrences are immediately brought to the attention of the members of the Board of Directors. To obtain a direct picture of local market situations, the Board of Directors regularly visits country subsidiaries and meets with local business management.
The Board of Directors is kept informed in writing on a regular basis through an extensive and complete Management Information System (MIS) covering profit and loss, balance sheets, cash flow, investments, and personnel of the Group and the individual subsidiaries. The information is provided on both a historical basis and as a year-end forecast.
Furthermore, members of the Board of Directors receive, on an annual basis, a detailed overall budget, together with a five-year medium-term plan with forecasts for future development of individual subsidiaries and the consolidated group of companies, covering profit and loss, balance sheet, cash flow, investments, and personnel. Furthermore, an annually updated Group-wide analysis of strategic, operational, and financial risks – including assessments, as well as actions taken to limit risks, and responsibilities – is also submitted to the Board of Directors. In order to assess the Group risk parameters, the Audit Committee also receives a quarterly report on securities and cash investments, currencies, raw-material procurement, and liquidity (risk control reporting). Members of Group Management regularly attend Audit Committee meetings.
The Group does not have an internal audit department; nevertheless, the internal financial control system, management information and risk management reporting of the Group is given very high attention.
Instead of an internal audit department, the so- called “Lindt internal control system” (LICS) serves as information and control instrument within Chocoladefabriken Lindt & Sprüngli AG. As part of the Lindt internal control system the Group determines so-called financial reference controls for the subsidiaries, which are tailored by the subsidiaries to local circumstances and risks.
The existence and effectiveness of these controls are self-assessed annually by the subsidiaries. The results of these annual assessments are supervised centrally by the group. Based on the observed results, a report regarding the financial internal control processes in the various corporate functions of subsidiary companies (amongst others IT, Procurement, Production, Sales, Salary Payments, Treasury, HR, and Financial Reporting) is submitted annually to the Audit Committee. Supervised by the group, subsidiaries then develop measures in order to react to control weaknesses and deficiencies.
Moreover, the external auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers AG act as an additional control instrument by, inter alia, testing the existence of the internal control system, i.e. the “LICS”. In the course of the yearly audit, the Audit Committee may also charge the auditors with special assignments, which go above and beyond legal and statutory requirements.