Demanding More

Sassy Shareholders

Scale balance Source Gary Waters-Ikon Images-Corb 45263397
Who holds the power over Germany's blue chip firms?
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    German blue chip companies may have to change their strategies if they can’t satisfy shareholders demands.

  • Facts


    • Attendance at shareholders meetings has soared after a low level of participation in 2013.
    • Few companies have been immune from shareholder complaints including BMW, despite five straight years of healthy profits .
    • A stronger voice from stockholders is a positive development for Germany’s equity culture.
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Record earnings, record-challenging dividends, rapidly climbing share prices and bright prospects driven by booming demand in important foreign markets. If you own stocks in Germany these days, you’re experiencing the best of all possible stock market worlds.

This muscular performance suggests annual shareholder meetings should be love fests, where grateful stockholders pay homage to their executive directors and their supervisory boards. But that’s not what has happened.

Shareholders this year are not just keeping up the pressure on dividends. They’re demanding a voice in the company’s future direction.

The Bayer pharmaceutical group and Deutsche Post were the last of companies listed on Germany’s top stock exchange, the DAX, to hold their annual meetings on Wednesday. Like many other DAX companies before them, they proved to be tumultuous gatherings.

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