Good Mood at Bayer's Stockholders' Meeting
The Bayer Group maintained its successful course last year. "2013 was another record year for Bayer," said Management Board Chairman Dr. Marijn Dekkers at the Annual Stockholders’ Meeting in Cologne on Tuesday. The stockholders are to benefit from this success with a dividend for 2013 of EUR 2.10 (2012: EUR 1.90) per share, giving a payout of around EUR 1.7 billion.
Not only the stockholders are benefiting from the good development in 2013: Bayer is paying out more than EUR 650 million to the employees in bonuses under the Group-wide short-term incentive program alone.
Group sales rose in 2013 by 5.1 percent on a currency- and portfolio-adjusted basis (Fx & portfolio adj.), to EUR 40.2 billion. Dekkers said the company had thus set a new record in the 150th year after its founding. Reported sales increased by only 1.0 % due to the adverse development of exchange rates. EBIT advanced by a substantial 25.6 % to EUR 4.9 billion – partly because the previous year's figure had been diminished by substantial one-time charges. EBITDA before special items improved by 1.5 % to EUR 8.4 billion, while core earnings per share climbed by 5.8 % to EUR 5.61.
The company's positive development last year also drove the price of Bayer stock. "Our shares posted a gain of 45 % – including the dividend – in 2013 alone, clearly outperforming all the benchmark indices," Dekkers said. The DAX, for example, rose by 26 % in the same period. Bayer stock also showed a strong performance over the long term: in the five years from 2009 to 2013, Bayer significantly outperformed both the DAX and the Euro Stoxx 50. Its stockholders achieved an average annual return of 23 % during this period.
First Quarter 2014
The first quarter of 2014 was again encouraging for Bayer. "Our Life Science businesses continued their dynamic development and achieved slight earnings increases despite the significant negative currency effects," Dekkers reported. HealthCare experienced strong growth thanks to the gratifying development in sales of the recently launched pharmaceutical products. CropScience benefited from an early start to the season in Europe, and MaterialScience raised earnings substantially. Sales of the Bayer Group advanced by 8.4 % (Fx & portfolio adj.) in the first quarter to EUR 10.6 billion. EBIT moved substantially higher, climbing by 18.4 % to EUR 2.1 billion. EBITDA before special items improved by 11.6 % to EUR 2.7 billion despite currency effects of minus 8 %. Core earnings per share advanced by 14.7 % to EUR 1.95.
Change on the Supervisory Board of Bayer AG
On the agenda at the Annual Stockholders' Meeting are the ratification of the actions of the Board of Management and the Supervisory Board along with the renewal of various authorizations for capital measures and the election of two Supervisory Board members. The Supervisory Board is proposing that Dr. Simone Bagel-Trah be elected to replace Prof. Ekkehard D. Schulz, who will step down from the Supervisory Board with effect from the end of today's Meeting. Bagel-Trah is Chairwoman of the Supervisory Board and the Shareholders' Committee of Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, Düsseldorf.
In addition, the Supervisory Board is proposing that Prof. Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker, whose term of office also ends after today's Annual Stockholders' Meeting, be re-elected to serve until midnight on April 29, 2016. It is currently planned to propose to the Annual Stockholders' Meeting in 2016 that Prof. Wolfgang Plischke then be elected as Winnacker's successor. As Plischke retires from the Board of Management at midnight on April 29, 2014, the statutory "cooling-off" period that must elapse before former Management Board members may join the Supervisory Board will expire in 2016.
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