COMPANY goals and profit and loss accounts were successful features of Hongkong Telecom's 1992-93 annual report, which won a gold prize in the Hong Kong Management Association's (HKMA) 1994 Annual Reports competition. The company, which secured the HKMA's overall prize in 1993, beat Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation and Sun Hung Kai Properties for the top award in the Hang Seng Index Company section. Hongkong Telecom chose the theme of company values, following its experience in listing on the New York Stock Exchange in 1988, John Tonroe, the company's finance director, said. 'Listing in New York taught the company a great deal about what type of information investors wanted before buying shares,' he said. 'Americans wanted to get under the skin of the company to find out what the company's priorities were and what management was like. 'We have used this experience in our annual reports and believe any prospective investor who picks up the document will be able to see the company's direction.' Improving investor relations had been top priority for Telecom during the last two years, Mr Tonroe said. It was the only Hong Kong firm listed in New York and had taken innovative measures, including production of its glossy-covered annual report to promote foreign investment, he said. 'When we did the listing, it was obvious we had to shift investor relations to a new level and make a bigger effort to inform people what we were doing,' Mr Tonroe said. 'We provide more information than required in our report and give a breakdown of profit and loss accounts and a balance sheet, which not many other companies do.' Giving an itemised account of company profit and loss gave investors information on which to base decisions, Mr Tonroe said. 'It is important to present user-friendly information because it is our role as a company to advise shareholders on the direction we plan to take,' he said. 'Most investors will not put money into a company unless they have faith in the firm and accept the company is not being secretive.' Before Telecom started compiling its 1993 annual report, it surveyed customers and brokers asking for suggestions about what to include. Questionnaires were sent to all shareholders with the 1992 annual report and Telecom received more than 1,000 replies. 'Shareholders asked us to do two things,' Rick Tang Yet-san, director of Corporate Affairs, said. 'They wanted more financial information and statistics about share prices and visual charts to illustrate some of the information,' he said. Investors and institutions required different types of information from a company's annual report, Mr Tonroe said. The company had set up an investor relations department separate from the public relations department to ensure data included in annual reports was what all customers wanted, he said. Although annual reports were geared to investors, well-written reports benefitted the entire community, Mr Tonroe said. 'Reports do have a financial bias and target investors but they are also useful tools to attract foreign investment into Hong Kong,' he said. 'Telecom holds annual road shows in Europe and America to disseminate information to potential shareholders and the annual report is our main point of reference. 'When we do go abroad, we are not just promoting Hongkong Telecom, we are pushing Hong Kong business.' Mr Tonroe said the territory's blue-chip companies had to have clear, concise and 'readable' reports to attract foreigners to local markets. Hong Kong's image as a business centre was reflected in annual reports of large hongs and, to keep pace with international markets, reports had to meet world standards. 'Annual reports are becoming more important in the territory, where the blue chip companies play a large role in the business community,' he said. 'Many foreigners do not realise Hong Kong is such a sophisticated market until they see some of the top-class financial reports produced here.'