We are a company organized under the laws of the Russian Federation and qualify as a foreign private issuer as such term is defined in Rule 3b-4 of the Exchange Act. In accordance with the NYSE corporate governance rules, listed companies that are foreign private issuers are permitted in some circumstances to follow home country practice in lieu of the provisions of the corporate governance rules contained in Section 303A of the NYSE Listed Company Manual that are applicable to U.S. companies. In addition, foreign private issuers listed on the NYSE must disclose any significant ways in which their corporate governance practices differ from those followed by U.S. companies listed on the NYSE. With regard to our corporate governance practices, these differences can be summarized as follows:
- For U.S. companies, the NYSE standards require that a majority of directors be independent, as determined by the board. Russian law does not require that a majority of our directors be independent. Of our nine directors, three have been determined by the board to be independent in accordance with the independence standards set forth in SEC Rule 10A-3 and Section 303A.02 of the NYSE Listed Company Manual.
- For U.S. companies, the NYSE standards require that the audit committee have a minimum of three members. Russian law does not contain such a requirement. Our audit committee comprises of three members.
- For U.S. companies, the NYSE standards require that non-management directors meet at regularly scheduled executive sessions without management. Russian law does not contain such a requirement. However, our audit committee and remuneration and nomination committee comprises of independent directors, who meet on a regular basis in connection with their work on these committees.
- For U.S. companies, the NYSE standards require that listed companies have a nominating/ corporate governance committee and a compensation committee, each composed entirely of independent directors and having a written charter specifying the committee’s purpose and responsibilities, as well as annual performance evaluations of the committee.
We do not currently have a nominating/corporate governance committee. We have a corporate conduct and ethics committee comprising of directors and members of management that is responsible for developing and implementing standards for corporate governance and ethics and making recommendations to the Board of Directors on developing our strategy in the area of corporate 232 governance and ethics. This committee is also responsible for conducting annual performance evaluations of the Board of Directors.
We have a remuneration and nomination committee comprising of three independent directors. This committee functions pursuant to bylaws approved by the Board of Directors specifying the committee’s purpose, duties and responsibilities. The committee is primarily responsible for recommending appointments to key managerial posts, developing a set of requirements and criteria for directors and management executives and developing a remuneration structure and compensation levels for the Board of Directors, the audit committee and management executives (including the CEO).
- For U.S. companies, the NYSE standards require that shareholders be given the opportunity to vote on all equity compensation plans and material revisions. Under Russian law, such approval from shareholders is not required, and our equity compensation plans and material revisions thereto are currently approved by the Board of Directors.
- For U.S. companies, the NYSE standards require the adoption and disclosure of corporate governance guidelines addressing certain subjects. Our corporate governance guidelines are consistent with what is required under Russian law and are set forth in our Charter, in the bylaw on our Board of Directors and in the bylaws of our various committees.