The directors of High Seat Holdings Limited and its subsidiaries High Seat Limited and HSL Manufacturing Limited (together “HSL” or “the Group”) consider that, in both individual and collective decision making which took place during the year ended 31 December 2022, they have acted in a way which is most likely to promote the success of the Group for the benefit of the company’s shareholders as a whole, whilst having regard to the stakeholders and matters set out in s172(1)(a-f) of the Companies Act 2006.
The directors’ objective is to promote the long term financial viability and success of the Group. In doing so they have considered matters including the following:
- the expected long-term consequence of the decisions they make;
- the impact upon HSL’s retail customers;
- the interests of colleagues across the Group;
- HSL’s bank and other funding partners;
- relationships with the Group’s suppliers and other business partners;
- the impact of operations on society and the environment;
- the need to maintain a reputation for high standards of business conduct; and
- the need to act fairly as between all shareholders of the company.
In this regard, the directors discharge their duties as follows:
The directors have consideration of long-term risks to the Group, which are managed through a continuous exercise of risk identification, risk appraisal and, where appropriate, the implementation of mitigating actions. This exercise includes regular review of risks in board meetings, which take place at least monthly, and input from colleagues within relevant areas of the business and from a range of external sources.
The principal risks and uncertainties faced by the Group are outlined in its financial statements, which are publicly available.
As a retailer serving a typically older demographic, the directors at all times recognise the Group’s responsibility to its customers. All key strategic and operational decisions include consideration of the impact on the customer experience, product quality, service standards, and value-for-money. This includes gathering feedback directly from customers via surveys, independent customer reviews, customer listening groups and seeking input from colleagues who work within the Group’s retail channel.
The directors recognise the critical role that all colleagues play in protecting HSL’s heritage and unique culture and values, which in turn help promote the success of the Group.
The directors are committed to treating all colleagues with fairness, respect and equality, and continue to assess ways of enhancing the pay and benefits and wider support available to all colleagues. Health and safety, and colleague wellbeing are key focuses and are managed by measures including a Group health and safety committee which reports into the Group board of directors, trained mental health first aiders, wellbeing content provided to colleagues via a range of channels and a free-to-use Employee Assistance Programme.
Colleague feedback is gathered regularly in a variety of means including listening groups across all areas of the business and an annual staff survey.
The Group maintains an intranet site providing members of staff with information on matters of concern to them as employees. In addition, employees receive regular briefings from the directors and the senior management team through a number of channels, highlighting matters relevant to them, including the financial and economic factors affecting the performance of the Group.
Bank and funding partners
HSL’s strategic plans are developed and appraised with careful regard to the interests of the Group’s bank and other funding partners. The directors seek to ensure that sufficient facilities remain available to meet current needs, and to provide sufficient headroom for future investment and unexpected events.
The Group has a proactive and transparent relationship with all funding partners, including its bank, NatWest. The Group’s approach includes sharing budgetary and financial information regularly and meeting periodically to discuss trading performance and strategic plans.
Suppliers and business partners
HSL works with carefully selected third party manufacturers and service partners, and suppliers of manufacturing components and support services, which together are key to its ability to continue to provide high quality products and service standards for its customers.
The directors and key members of the senior management team regularly engage with suppliers to discuss performance, quality, price, and how by working in close partnership the Group can continually improve its supply chain.
Society and the environment
The Group seeks to positively impact on the lives of customers and colleagues; and it sets a strategy and operational plans which pay careful regard to the communities it operates in and its wider social responsibilities.
As a national retailer, the Group recognises its responsibility to local communities and sets out to support these through local and national charitable activities. During 2022 this included a donation, on behalf of every HSL colleague, to the DEC’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, totalling more than £25,000.
Mission Zero is HSL’s environmental strategy and, following the appointment of an Environmental and Sustainability Manager in late 2021, during 2022 HSL set clear short-, medium- and long-term objectives which were communicated to all colleagues through the year. A clear target during the year was to obtain Carbon Neutral status, which HSL was delighted to announce had been achieved in November 2022.
The directors continue to develop clear targets for carbon reduction, including the measurement of scope 3 emissions, so that all business activities and plans can be aligned with those targets.
Business conduct and shareholders
The directors are committed to acting responsibly to all stakeholders and ensuring that the business is operated in a responsible manner, with appropriately high standards of business conduct and governance. The directors understand that maintaining these standards will support the delivery of the Group’s strategy and promote its long-term success.
All key beneficial shareholders are represented on the Group board of directors as well as the establishment, in the year, of a family board encompassing members of the third generation of the founding family to fully secure the input of this group into the future strategic plans of the group.
Through regular board meetings, which include reports which review the Group’s business and its performance, prepared by the directors and senior management team and circulated in advance, shareholders are able to properly consider and input to matters relevant to them as shareholders and ensure that the Group’s activities remain compliant with these conduct standards.