Statement by the directors in performance of their statutory duties in accordance with s172(1) Companies Act 2006
The board of directors of BPL, consisting of NAGA UK TopCo Limited and its subsidiaries NAGA UK BidCo Limited, Bio Products Laboratory Holdings Limited, BPL Plasma Inc. and Bio Products Laboratory Limited, (together “the Group”) consider, both individually and together, that they have promoted the success of the company for the benefit of its members as a whole (having regard to the stakeholders and matters set out in s172(1) (a-f) of the Act) during the year ended 31 December 2020. This statement includes specific examples of how the directors have discharged their duties with respect to:
• the likely consequences of any decision in the long term,
• the interests of the company’s employees,
• the need to foster the company’s business relationships with suppliers, customers and others,
• the impact of the company’s operations on the community and the environment,
• the desirability of the company maintaining a reputation for high standards of business conduct, and
• the need to act fairly as between members of the company
The Group completed a comprehensive review of its Long Range Plan (LRP), a plan that outlines the business plans and related investments designed to have a long-term beneficial impact on the company in its mission to deliver quality medicines to patients and provide shareholder returns with 5 to 10 year horizon.
The directors reviewed and approved the LRP and an operating plan for 2021. The medium and long-term strategic company goals outlined in these plans remain consistent with the prior year’s plans and the strategic direction that the Group has been taking until now. Included in the LRP are ambitious goals for the development of new plasma-based products that support unmet patient needs, capacity growth plans at its Elstree manufacturing facility as well as securing an ample supply of US plasma from a variety of sources.
The eruption of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and continued impact in 2021, and specifically its impact on the near-term supply of US plasma, have required an adjustment to the speed at which some of these strategic goals are executed.
The Board has approved the necessary investment and related funding plans to meet the strategic objectives set forth in the LRP and progress is being made against those objectives.
Finally, the directors have focused on ensuring that the Group continues to operate within strict budgetary controls and in accordance with our quality and regulatory standards. The directors receive and review on a monthly basis detailed reports regarding the financial results, performance of the business versus key indicators such as yield, revenue and cost per litre, waste and net sales. The directors believe that the Group is in a strong position, with cash reserves that were generated from the sale of 25 of its US plasma centres in February 2021, which coupled with strong market conditions, its skilled human capital base and the excellent reputation of its products will enable the Group to continue to grow successfully in the immediate future.
The directors recognize that it is critical for the future success of BPL that it develop, retain and attract talent and provide stimulating and challenging career opportunities for teams to develop their skills within a considerate and supportive environment. The directors have encouraged creation of an open culture, with constructive and honest dialogue throughout the company and an open and accessible management structure that enables direct interaction between senior management and employees. This environment results in the ability to make quick decisions relating to people development, working environments and attraction of talent. In addition, a regular employee satisfaction survey, pulsing team members on a variety of topics, has allowed management to assess go forward areas of focus, and the company has increased significantly both the depth and frequency of internal communications with employees and continue to assess further improvements in employment policies and practices. The directors commissioned an evaluation of long-term incentive programs in the industry to ensure that BPL remains able to recruit and retain top talent.
The directors recognise that it is critical for the future success of the Group that it develop, retain and attract talent and provide stimulating and challenging career opportunities for teams to develop their skills within a considerate and supportive environment.
The directors have encouraged the creation of an open culture, with constructive and honest dialogue throughout the company and an open and accessible management structure that enables direct interaction between senior management and employees. This environment results in the ability to make quicker decisions relating to people development, working environments and attraction of talent, including running an internship scheme to support graduates by giving them opportunities to gain professional experiences across various fields, including engineering and technical research departments.
In addition, a regular employee satisfaction survey, pulsing team members on a variety of topics, has allowed management to assess go forward areas of focus, and the company has increased significantly both the depth and frequency of internal communications with employees and continue to assess further improvements in employment policies and practices. The Company is particularly proud that its BPL USA Inc. team, based in Durham, NC has received several accolades in 2020 from the prestigious Triangle Business Journal, winning the “Best Place to Work” for the year and ranking 4th on the Fast 50 award. These recognitions are an inspiration for the entire Group to continue to provide its employees with a positive and rewarding professional environment in which to grow every day.
The Group has continued to progressively expand access to key employment benefits like health insurance across the employee groups and greater focus is being given to wellbeing initiatives (e.g. the UK’s Cycle to Work incentive scheme) that allow for a comprehensive approach to work-life balance.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, particular attention has been given to the safety of employees and contractors and ensuring BPL is a safe and secure environment in which to work. Remote working has been mandated for segments of the employee population not directly involved in either plasma centre or Elstree production site operations. For those employees that have remained working at the Group’s physical sites, safety measures and precautions have been taken including compulsory use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and face masks, social distancing and enhanced cleaning & disinfection measures. Employee vaccination is being strongly encouraged but not mandated as a condition of employment. The Group will continue to assess the guidance on employee vaccinations in the light of the guidance from governments in the countries in which it operates and amend its policy accordingly. The Group is at presently considering a variety of hybrid working measures and policy changes as it continues to adjust to the new working conditions that have resulted from the pandemic. While short-term staffing challenges have been experienced at various locations during this period, the Group has avoided material impacts to its ability to conduct operations, adjusting its opening and production schedules as needed to prioritize the ongoing supply of critical medicines for customers and patients.
Business Relationships – Suppliers, Customer and other third parties
The directors recognise that engagement with suppliers, customers and other third parties is a fundamental part of achieving strong and sustainable results. The directors have ensured that the management team shares its strategy and expectations with the company’s key suppliers and customers and assigns key contacts to build close working relationships.
As a successful business, we need to be providing our customers with what they want now and in the future. We need to build strong relationships with our customers worldwide and seek feedback when applicable. The Board is routinely provided market and business updates by the management team and helps set the long-term, priorities of the team to improve its commercial positioning and competitiveness in its segments.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, engagement with suppliers, customers and other 3rd party stakeholders has been actively maintained through virtual communication channels and technology. The Group’s ability to promote its products and grow its business has not been diminished despite the challenges and is finding new productive ways to drive these engagements that will continue to be used, in combination with in-person meetings and events, well into the future.
Community and environment
The Company has increased its focus on its environmental responsibilities and is setting medium to long-term targets to reduce waste and becoming more sustainable as a business.
In addition, the company is taking steps towards establishing a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) agenda. It has increased its community outreach efforts, in particular in around its Hertfordshire, UK headquarters location, where it is actively participating in local business and social events as a way to improve its engagement with the local community.
Maintaining a reputation for high standards of business conduct
The directors have consistently reinforced a commitment to quality. Directors are focused on ensuring that systems, processes and controls relating to the plasma collection and production processes were operating effectively. This focus and drive towards a “Right First Time” (RFT) mentality and the implementation of “On Time, In Full “(OTIF) metrics, have continued to contribute not only to the strong financial performance of the company but also to consistent and reliable delivery of medicines to patients. The Group aims to conduct all its employee and business relationships with integrity, inclusion, and courtesy as evidenced by the rollout of Dignity at Work training for employees. The Board also aims to create a culture of performance, responsibility towards our customers and patients, and teamwork.
Acting fairly as between the Company’s owners
Although the company has only a single shareholder, the directors have been mindful of the various entities that are indirect owners of the company. The directors sought to deliver sustainable growth and income over the long term with an appropriate balance of risk and return in the context of the wider market. The directors recognise the clear responsibility to engage with the owners of the Group whose views are an important driver of our strategy. We hold regular board meetings with shareholder representation who can engage directly with directors. The shareholder representative provides direct feedback on strategic plans proposed by the directors, which is then factored into the final company strategy.