Held in virtual form for the second time it was opened by the Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Professor Dr.-Ing. Raimund Klinker, who presided over the meeting and outlined in the Supervisory Board’s report the main aspects of its activities.
The Management Board reported to the shareholders on the company’s strategy and business performance in 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. Following the successful implementation of the P24x efficiency programme, Koenig & Bauer is aiming to increase Group sales to around €1.3bn by 2024. This will also be aided by the diversity of printed products created using Koenig & Bauer presses and equipment. “We are well positioned for the future as the end markets that we address and particularly also the growing packaging printing segment, for example for food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, are fundamentally intact. Despite all due caution in view of the still uncertain economic conditions, we take this as a sign that we are focusing on the right markets with our range of presses and services. For example, corrugated-board printing could experience a significant boost in the coming years given the growth in e-commerce. Consequently, we see our broad product range as appropriate for achieving our goals”, explained the Chief Executive Officer Dr Andreas Pleßke.
In the three-part speech held by the members of the Management Board, COO Michael Ulverich went into detail about the numerous projects including those in connection with the P24x efficiency programme in the areas of production, purchasing and logistics, for which he is responsible, and also presented the new plans for standardisation across the business units to reduce production costs. “We view the establishment of a modular and platform strategy across all new press types in the Group as a decisive prerequisite for the future”, says Michael Ulverich.
Dr Stephen Kimmich, CFO, summed up the savings effects achieved from the P24x efficiency programme and added: “we were able to significantly increase free cash flow to around €22m in the first quarter of 2021. We have thus succeeded in returning to our pre-pandemic net financial position thanks also to the reduction in net working capital. With an equity ratio of 26% and freely available funds of more than €250m, we are financially well positioned. This is also reflected in the gratifying -performance of Koenig & Bauer shares, which have gained over 26% since the last annual general meeting in 2020.”
Approval by the shareholders
The company’s shareholders were asked to vote on eight of the nine items on the agenda at the annual general meeting, including the re-election of Dipl.-Ing. Matthias Hatschek as a shareholder representative. They accepted management’s proposal with a large majority, also approving item two of the agenda, providing for the holding company Koenig & Bauer AG to carry forward the unappropriated surplus. In addition to ratifying the actions of the Management Board and the Supervisory Board, the shareholders elected PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Frankfurt am Main, as the external auditor of the annual financial statements and the consolidated financial statements for 2021. As well as this, the shareholders approved the proposed amendment of the remuneration systems (“say on pay”) for the Management Board and the Supervisory Board. Under item nine of the agenda, they approved two profit transfer agreements, likewise with a large majority.