7 May 2015
HeidelbergCement – Annual General Meeting
On Thursday, 7 May 2015, at the Kongresshaus Stadthalle Heidelberg, Germany
In his speech to about 200 shareholders, Dr. Bernd Scheifele, Chairman of the Managing Board, offered a look back at HeidelbergCement’s successful development in 2014. Despite the continuing volatile economic environment and significant negative exchange rate effects, HeidelbergCement developed well and met the forecasts and objectives of the financial year 2014. Especially revenue and operating income were increased, and the profit for the financial year excluding non-recurring items rose even significantly. Basis for this positive development was a further improvement of the operating business thanks to increases in sales volumes in all business lines, successful price increases in major markets, and the consequent implementation of our margin improvement programmes. Furthermore, HeidelbergCement finalised the disposal of the building products business within the targeted timeframe and above expected value. Therefore, it was possible to reduce net debt markedly below the targeted value of €6.5 billion.
In addition, HeidelbergCement expanded its annual cement capacities in growth markets by more than 5 million tonnes. The commissioning of a new clinker plant with an annual capacity of 1.5 million tonnes in Togo at the end of 2014 was an important step to increase competitiveness in the Sub-Saharan region, which is short of natural raw materials for cement production. With additional cement grinding capacities in Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Tanzania, the prerequisites for further growth in the region were created. Furthermore, production started in a new, fully-integrated cement plant in oil-rich Eastern Kazakhstan and the grinding capacity in the largest Indonesian cement plant near Jakarta was expanded by almost 2 million tonnes.
In the last 12 months, HeidelbergCement was able to further enlarge its shareholder structure and to gain long-term interested investors as shareholders. Since the beginning of 2014, the HeidelbergCement share price developed very positive and outrun both DAX and MSCI Construction Materials Index.
Outlook confirmed for 2015
Dr. Scheifele also reported on the results and developments in the first quarter of 2015, reconfirming HeidelbergCement’s outlook for the remainder of the year as presented at the press conference on 2014 results in March 2015. The strategic focal points will remain unchanged: cost leadership through continuous efficiency improvements, reduction of debt with the aim of attaining investment grade status, and targeted investment in cement capacities in growth markets and in raw material deposits to strengthen our global leadership in aggregates. Revenue, operating income, and profit for the financial year adjusted for non-recurring items should noticeably increase in 2015. “We are confident about 2015 and are well positioned to achieve our goals,” says Dr. Bernd Scheifele.
Dividend increased by 25%
The Annual General Meeting has approved the proposal of the administration to increase the dividend by 25% to €0.75 with a substantial majority of 99.69%. “With the increase in the dividend, we want our shareholders to participate in the overall very successful business development in 2014,” explains Dr. Bernd Scheifele. “With the sixth consecutive increase in dividend payment, HeidelbergCement is one of the companies that have increased their dividend payment continuously over the past years.”
Annual General Meeting renews Authorised Capitals
With the approval of the Annual General Meeting, authorised capitals were renewed that open up extensive flexibility for the company in the future. “The approval of the authorised capitals underlines the confidence of our shareholders in HeidelbergCement and particularly of the institutional investors that we could win since the capital increase in September 2009,” says Dr. Scheifele. “We will use the authorised capitals very responsibly and pursue a shareholder-friendly business policy.”
Changes to the Supervisory Board remuneration system approved by a large majority
The Annual General Meeting approved the changes to the Supervisory Board remuneration system, in effect since 1 January 2015, with a majority of more than 99.5%. Thereby, the conversion to fixed remuneration effective since 1 January 2015 has been confirmed.
Of the company’s € 563.7 million in subscribed share capital, 75.16% were represented.4,300 characters