Annual General Meeting of Shareholders TenCate
Royal Ten Cate held its Annual General Meeting of Shareholders in Almelo on 8 April. Both private and institutional investors attended the shareholders meeting. The 88 shareholders had lodged 5,539,834 shares, which is 22% of the total issued share capital of TenCate (as of 31 December 2009).
The picture mainly indicates that TenCate is emerging well from the economic crisis.
The net debt has been reduced and the company has strengthened its fundamental position in its markets.
Permanent agenda items included the adoption of the financial statements, the appropriation of the profit and the (re)appointment of members of the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board.
There were two appointments and one reappointment during the Annual General Meeting of Shareholders. On the grounds of his knowledge, experience and contribution to the company, Pieter Deiters was elected member of the Supervisory Board for a third period of four years. Rob van Gelder, former chairman of the executive board of Boskalis and until a short while ago chairman of the board at Heijmans nv, was appointed member of the Supervisory Board. His contribution, especially in the area of high-grade engineering and contracting projects, can be of huge value to TenCate.
Jaap Lock, formerly director finance & administration, was appointed chief financial officer and member of the Executive Board − an appointment that runs for a period of two years.
The managers and supervisors had prepared thoroughly for the shareholders meeting. Investors and investment analysts had also done their homework.
This year questions were few, possibly because the annual report had devoted considerable attention to the developments in the various core markets. TenCate is benefiting from worldwide trends in the field of protection and consideration for environmental effects. The trends show a long-term rising line in company sales. The technological nature of the company is a point highly valued by the shareholders. Much is expected of the developments concerning Xennia, where a meeting with shareholders and analysts was held in February. Even though inkjet technology is still emerging, shareholders can see the potential.
The shareholders’ major area of concern related to the synthetic turf activities, which for various reasons have performed less well over recent years. Nevertheless, the strategic developments are of such a nature that TenCate is well positioned in this market. The measures that have been taken should lead to a substantial improvement in profit in 2010. The Executive Board is involved in this improvement process to a significant extent.
Sustainable enterprise is also an increasing priority with shareholders and TenCate has shareholders who manage sustainable investment funds. One of the interest groups that supports sustainable investment is the
(Association of Investors for Sustainable Development). According to Anne van Lakerveld, ‘The VBDO translates this goal into practice by acting as a serious party in the social debate on sustainability.’ The VBDO conducts this debate with companies quoted on the stock exchange and institutional investors. On the basis of publicly available information, it focuses not only on Profit but also more on People and Planet. For the VBDO the most important topics for 2010 are remuneration, diversity and biodiversity.
In preparation for the TenCate shareholders meeting, Anne van Lakerveld read the annual report and looked on the website for specific information on corporate social responsibility. In addition to quantitative information on sustainability, the VBDO is interested in the ISO certification of the operating companies and whether there is a code of conduct for suppliers in which the ideas of TenCate in the field of sustainability are translated. In its perception TenCate has embraced sustainability as an aspect of business economics that delivers added value, and therefore clearly sees its potential. ‘Furthermore, although the policy in the area of environmental measures is well developed, the VBDO feels that Ten Cate can improve when it comes to transparency concerning sustainability and attention to the social aspects.’
In the 2008 annual report, it is shown how sustainability is interwoven in not only the products but also the processes at TenCate. Not for nothing is it said that ‘Sustainability is the most normal thing in the world’.
Willem Burgers represented the
Add Value Fund
. The objective of this fund is to realize an annual average return of at least 10% in total through a portfolio with a good spread of Dutch mid and small caps. Since 2008 the TenCate share has been included in the AMX (mid-cap index). As he says himself, he always prepares ‘intensively’ for the meeting: studying the annual report, the content of the website/txtures, and other relevant information sources.
Willem Burgers formulated a number of questions, ‘three of which I will raise’. He asked about the progress concerning the adjustments to the Dutch production machinery and whether these entailed any extra costs. He also wanted to know whether with the introduction of 3D weaving the profitability of the Grass group would improve and whether there were any possibilities for improving the market position of the Grass group through financial holdings in other companies. Moreover, he asked whether entering into strategic alliances with third parties in the geosynthetics market could lead to a better position for TenCate.
The most important subjects for the Add Value Fund were the competitive position, the chances that the fruits of innovation could be converted into financial results within a reasonable period, and the development of financial resilience. ‘I am satisfied with the quality of the meeting − the introduction by the chairman of the board and the answering of questions. The meeting has been efficiently conducted by the chairman.’