Fiscal year 2018
On February 6, 2018, the GEA Group Aktiengesellschaft completed on schedule its share buyback program, which had begun on March 8, 2017 and amounted up to EUR 450 million. The repurchased shares accounted for 6.24 percent of the company’s registered share capital and, as had been announced in 2017, were retired with the consent of the Supervisory Board in June 2018. As a result, the company no longer holds any treasury shares. After the retirement of shares, there were 180,492,172 shares in circulation as of the end of 2018 (previous year: 192,495,476 shares). Market capitalization at the end of 2018 amounted to EUR 4.1 billion (previous year: EUR 7.7 billion).
As in previous years, the company performed half-yearly analyses of its shareholder structure in 2018 too. The last analysis – from the third quarter of 2018 – identified 92 percent of the company’s shareholders and indicates that institutional investors held 80 percent of all GEA shares.
The German stock exchange does not count two investors towards free float: Kuwait Investment Office and Oliver Capital (principal shareholder of Groupe Bruxelles Lambert). According to the most recent voting rights announcements submitted to us, Kuwait Investment Office held 17,129,370 voting rights (through shares and instruments) as of November 26, 2015, which corresponded to some 9.5 percent as of December 31, 2018. As of December 3, 2018, Oliver Capital held a total of 15,357,460 voting rights (exclusively shares), which corresponded to some 8.5 percent as of December 31, 2018. The German stock exchange therefore presumed that approximately 82 percent of GEA shares were in free float as of the reporting date.