Duration of the mandate and term of office of the lead auditor

Since financial year 2006, the auditors of the holding company and Group have been Pricewaterhouse-Coopers Ltd., Neuchâtel. The auditors are appointed annually by the General Meeting of Shareholders. Mr. Oliver Kuntze, Chartered Public Accountant, is the auditor responsible since 2013 with a maximum mandate of 7 years. Every three to five years a call for tenders is issued to duly qualified accountants. The decision is based on the quality of the bid, its presentation by the auditors who will be leading the assignment, and the proposed audit fee. Audit services provided are evaluated on the basis of the written and oral reports provided by the auditors to the Audit Committee, and by feedback from management on the way the audits are conducted. The same procedure applies to the evaluation of additional non-audit services supplied.

Auditing fees

The audit fees paid to PricewaterhouseCoopers Ltd. are as follows:

in CHF 2019 2018
Auditing 171'300 172'000

Additional fees

The additional services paid to PricewaterhouseCoopers Ltd. are as follows:

in CHF 2019 2018
Other services 47'000 43'000

Other services include legal and tax services.

Information instruments pertaining to the external audit

The Audit Committee monitors the external auditors on behalf of the Board of Directors. The audit plan is submitted by the auditors to the Audit Committee for approval of the areas to be the object of particular scrutiny in the year under review. The Audit Committee also asks the auditors to carry out reviews of specific areas that are not included in the audit plan but for which particular reassurance is sought. PricewaterhouseCoopers Ltd. keeps the Audit Committee regularly advised of its activity, and participates in meetings of the Committee as required. It is kept informed of the work of the Audit Committee by receiving a copy of the minutes. In 2019, the auditors attended one meeting of the Audit Committee and submitted two reports to the members of the Audit Committee and the members of the Board of Directors respectively. At the end of the year, the Audit Committee examines, together with the auditors and in the presence of the CEO and CFO, the annual accounts of the holding and Group company together with the financial report.