At the end of April, Munich Re only narrowly avoided an embarrassing defeat at its annual shareholders’ meeting. The world’s largest re-insurance firm wanted the authorization to raise extra capital by diluting shares if and when needed in the coming years. In the end it scraped above the 75-percent threshold of investors needed to back the controversial capital-raising plans.
And even that grudging blessing came only after executives scaled back their plans, pledging to increase its capital by a third of their existing share base at most in the coming years. Previously they’d asked for a cushion of almost 50 percent.
The tug-of-war between Munich Re and its shareholders is part of a growing trend in Europe’s largest economy. Other major German companies can expect to face similar resistance in the coming weeks.