AkzoNobel has three classes of shares: common shares, cumulative preferred shares and priority shares. Common shares are traded on the Euronext Amsterdam stock exchange. Common shares are also traded over-the-counter on OTCQX (organized by Pink Sheets) in the US in the form of American Depositary Receipts. On December 31, 2010, a total of 233,530,454 common shares and 48 priority shares had been issued, amounting to 99.996 percent and 0.004 percent respectively of the total issued and outstanding capital. By December 31, 2010, AkzoNobel had been notified by Massachussetts Financial Services Company and Paulson & Co that their participation in the company’s share capital was more than 5 percent. The priority shares are held by the Foundation Akzo Nobel. The Foundation’s Board consists of members of AkzoNobel’s Supervisory Board who are not members of the Audit Committee. The Meeting of Holders of Priority Shares has the nomination rights for the appointments of members of the and of the and the right to approve amendments to the Articles of Association of the company. No cumulative preferred shares have been issued to date. It has been communicated that the cumulative preferred shares merely have a financing function, which means that if necessary, they will be issued at or near to the prevailing quoted price for common shares. The Annual General Meeting of shareholders held on April 27, 2010, authorized the Board of Management for a period of 18 months after that date – subject to approval from the Supervisory Board – to issue shares in the capital of the company up to a maximum of 10 percent of the issued share capital, to restrict or exclude the pre-emption rights for existing shareholders for those shares, and to purchase shares of the company. At the same meeting, the Board of Management was given a mandate to acquire up to a maximum of 10 percent of the issued share capital of the company.
General Meetings of shareholders are held at least once a year. The Annual General Meeting of shareholders is convened by public notice. The agenda, the notes to the agenda and the procedure for attendance – including the record date and the procedure for granting a proxy to a third party – are published in advance and posted on our corporate website. Holding shares in the company on the record date determines the right to exercise voting rights and other rights relating to the Annual General Meeting of shareholders, notwithstanding the subsequent sale of shares thereafter. The notes to the agenda contain all relevant information with respect to the proposed resolutions. All resolutions are made on the basis of the “one share, one vote” principle. All resolutions are adopted by absolute majority, unless the law or the company’s Articles of Association stipulate otherwise.
The Annual General Meeting of shareholders reviews the annual report and decides on adoption of the financial statements and the dividend proposal, as well as on the discharge of the members of the Supervisory Board and the Board of Management. Holders of common shares in aggregate representing at least 1 percent of the total issued capital may submit proposals for the Annual General Meeting agenda. These proposals must be sent in writing, or electronically, to the company’s head office in Amsterdam at least 60 calendar days in advance. Such requests shall be granted and shareholders will be provided with all relevant information, unless the Supervisory Board and the Board of Management are of the opinion that the request is not reasonable in the given circumstances. The minutes of the Annual General Meeting of shareholders (in Dutch) are made available on our corporate website within three months of the meeting date.
The Annual General Meeting of shareholders approves or adopts, as the case may be, among other matters:
- The annual accounts
- Dividends (not interim dividends)
- The election of Board members
- Material changes to the remuneration policy of the Board of Management
- Other important matters such as major acquisitions or the sale of a substantial part of the company
- The issue of new shares.
The company attaches great value to shareholder relations. We use the Shareholders’ Communication Channel to distribute the agenda of the Annual General Meeting, and to allow shareholders who hold their shares through an associated bank participation in the proxy voting at the said meeting. In line with relevant laws and regulations, we provide all shareholders and other parties in the financial markets with equal and simultaneous information about matters that could have a significant influence on the price of our listed securities, thereby taking into account possible exceptions permitted by those laws and regulations. This information can be found on our corporate website, to the extent required by law. We actively communicate our strategy and the developments of our businesses to the financial markets. Members of the Board of Management and business managers regularly attend analyst meetings in Europe and the US. The quarterly results, press conferences and the analysts’ conference calls – as well as the presentations at analyst meetings organized by the company – are all announced in advance and are available as webcasts and accessible online. Presentations to (institutional) investors are held at regular intervals and, in principle, are announced on our corporate website or via press releases. Other meetings with analysts or investors are not normally announced in advance, nor can they be followed by webcast or any other means. Discussions at such meetings are always limited to information which is already in the public domain. This is in line with the requirement to ensure that all shareholders and other parties in the financial market have equal and simultaneous access to information that may influence the share price. In this respect, the company complies with applicable laws and regulations. In principle, analyst meetings, presentations to (institutional) investors and direct meetings with investors are not held shortly before the publication of our quarterly or annual results. AkzoNobel’s outline policy on general and bilateral contacts with shareholders can be found on our corporate website.