More than half of the Dax companies are planning an online general meeting again this year. This is the result of a survey by the German Press Agency of the 40 largest companies on the German stock market. So far, ten DAX companies have opted for a shareholder meeting in person or for a hybrid format – including BASF, Henkel, Airbus and Porsche. 22 corporations only want to hold the meeting online. For the remaining companies, the decision is still pending or they did not provide any information.
Shareholder representatives criticize the purely online event as insufficient. “The annual general meeting is a very important part of the share culture in Germany,” said Daniela Bergdolt, Vice President of the German Association for the Protection of Securities (DSW). The critical dialogue between companies and shareholders is best implemented there.
The possibility of holding an annual general meeting without the physical presence of the shareholders was introduced at the beginning of the corona pandemic. The annual shareholder meetings, where thousands of people usually come together to vote on the dividend payment, capital measures and the discharge of the management board and supervisory board, were allowed to take place online. Last summer, the Bundestag made the special regulation permanently possible with certain changes.
In the opinion of companies such as Beiersdorf, Merck, BMW, Siemens and Vonovia, which again decided in favor of the digital form of the Annual General Meeting this year, the new format has proven its worth during the Corona period. It offers more planning security, protects the health of those involved, saves costs, effort and CO₂ emissions through travel and enables more shareholders to participate, including those from abroad.
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