In light of the ongoing difficult situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board of GEA Group AG have resolved that the Annual General Meeting for the 2019 fiscal year will be held as a virtual event. The AGM, which has been postponed from April 30 to November 26, 2020, will consequently take place without the physical presence of shareholders or their proxies.
“The health of shareholders, employees and service providers is our top priority. Unfortunately, our hopes in early April that the COVID-19 situation would ease by the end of the year have not materialized. We initially postponed the Annual General Meeting in order to improve the chances of an in-person meeting so that our shareholders would be able to fully exercise their rights, even in this exceptional year. However, we now believe that, in the current situation, a virtual AGM is the right choice for GEA to engage in dialog with shareholders while protecting the health of everyone involved,” explained CEO Stefan Klebert.
GEA attaches utmost importance to ensuring that shareholders’ rights are ensured to the maximum degree in the virtual format. The entire meeting will be broadcast live on the Group website. All shareholders may submit questions concerning the agenda up to two days prior to the meeting. There are also plans for shareholders to be able to send the Company advance position statements and even video messages that will then be shown at the virtual AGM. After registering for the AGM in due time, shareholders can exercise their voting rights in advance by postal vote or by instructing Company-designated proxies. Both options are available online, including during the meeting. Details on the staging of the online AGM will be available on the GEA website and in the convocation notice, which will be published in due course.
The Annual General Meeting agenda remains unaltered except for an additional item concerning the election of a new Supervisory Board member after Hartmut Eberlein stepped down with effect from September 30, 2020. The Supervisory Board’s proposal is for the shareholders to elect Professor Annette G. Köhler to the Supervisory Board. Professor Köhler has already held office on the Supervisory Board by appointment of Düsseldorf Local Court since October 1, 2020. As regards the appropriation of net earnings, the Company is adhering to the proposal published in the 2019 Annual Report. GEA thus still intends to pay a dividend totaling EUR 0.85 per share for the 2019 fiscal year. In early May, GEA already paid out to shareholders the maximum advance payment of EUR 0.42 per share permitted by law.