May 21, 2007, Baku—IFC, the private
sector arm of the World Bank Group, and the State Committee for Securities,
under the auspices of the President of the Azerbaijan Republic, have held
a seminar for joint stock companies to raise awareness of shareholders’
rights and treatment of stakeholders. IFC experts prepared and presented
two case studies on shareholder rights, and discussed how to organize successful
annual shareholder meetings.
The seminar, “Shareholders' Rights
and General Meetings of Shareholders: Practices, Requirements, and Current
Trends,” was attended by representatives from more than 30 companies.
The opening remarks were made by Gunduz Mammadov, Chairperson of the State
Committee for Securities; Thomas Meyer, Deputy Regional Director of the
Swiss Cooperation for the South-Caucasus; and Charles Canfield, IFC Project
“The protection of shareholders’ rights
has been an important issue for SCS since its opening. Although efforts
to protect securities holders’ rights decreased violations, they could
not be eliminated altogether. Considering the significance of corporate
governance events, meetings with the executives of joint stock companies,
and public awareness campaigns in Azerbaijan, IFC’s work to address them
is highly commendable,” said Gunduz Mammadov, SCS Chairperson.
“By jointly organizing this seminar,
the State Committee for Securities is showing its commitment to corporate
governance reform to Azerbaijani companies and policy makers,” said Charles
Canfield, IFC Project Manager.
IFC Advisory Services in the region
led the Azerbaijan Corporate Governance Project, which presented survey
results in 2007 that highlight the importance of raising awareness of shareholders’
rights in local companies.
The seminar also addressed paying of
dividends by companies. Canfield concluded, “We hope that participants
will realize the importance of paying dividends and start putting it into
IFC, the private sector arm of the World
Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries.
IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners
in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people
have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06,
IFC Financial Products has committed more than $56 billion in funding for
private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications
for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services
and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support
to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure,
to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance,
and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability. For more information,
please visit www.ifc.org.