Decisions by Stockmann’s Annual General Meeting
Helsinki, Finland, 2014-03-18 15:45 CET (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) —
STOCKMANN plc, Decisions of annual general meeting 18.3.2014 at 16:45 EET
The Annual General Meeting of Stockmann plc, held in Helsinki on 18 March 2014, adopted the financial statements for the financial year 1 January – 31 December 2013, granted discharge from liability to the responsible officers and resolved to pay a dividend of EUR 0.40 per share for the financial year 2013. The General Meeting also decided on the composition and remuneration of the Board of Directors and the selection and remuneration of the auditor in accordance with the proposals presented.
At the Annual General Meeting, CEO Hannu Penttilä gave an overview of Stockmann’s earnings performance and of the key events of his period as CEO since 2001. The development trend was positive up to 2008, and during this time Stockmann made three major capital expenditure decisions: the enlargement of the Helsinki city centre department store, the construction of the Nevsky Centre shopping centre in St Petersburg and the acquisition of the Swedish fashion chain Lindex.
The Nevsky Centre has evolved well, and its rental income – largely tied to the euro – has also acted as protection against the weakened Russian rouble. Lindex, in turn, has brought the Group a new, profitable business from Western markets and balanced out the risks of operating in Russia. In 2013 the fashion chain again posted the Group’s best earnings performance. Lindex is also developing into a global brand, a good example of which is its expansion into China in autumn 2014. At the Helsinki city centre department store, the original growth targets that were set have not been met in full, due mainly to the decline in general consumption as a result of the financial crisis. The department store has nevertheless defended its position amid the tougher competition and has posted a good level of earnings despite the fall in profitability at the other department stores in Finland.
The slowdown in the economy in general is a critical factor affecting Stockmann’s future development. The Group’s cost structure must be brought into line with low or negative growth by increasing operating efficiency through the use of new information systems, the centralised distribution centre and other improvements. Earnings performance in 2013 would have been considerably weaker without the cost savings already achieved. In maintaining growth, it will be essential to continue developing digital services and systems, especially the online stores and the multichannel approach. More efficient use of space must also be achieved in existing stores. There is no need for any major capital expenditure on new retail space.
In terms of the Group’s strategy, Russia is in a key position. A substantial weakening in the value of the rouble, a decline in the purchasing power of Russian consumers, economic sanctions imposed on Russia and possible counter measures will force Stockmann to carefully weigh up the future strategic options for the entire company.
The sales figures for the current year so far have been very poor, but there has been a clear improvement in March. The Ukraine crisis is reducing the prospects for forecasting the state of the economy. Stockmann is monitoring economic developments and will update its guidance regarding the Group’s earnings performance for 2014 if necessary.
Payment of dividends
The Annual General Meeting resolved that a dividend of EUR 0.40 per share be paid for the 2013 financial year. The dividend will be paid on 16 April 2014 to those shareholders who on the record date for the dividend payout, 21 March 2014, are entered in the shareholder register kept by Euroclear Finland Ltd.
Composition and remuneration of the Board of Directors
The Annual General Meeting resolved, in accordance with the proposal of the Board’s Appointments and Compensation Committee, that eight members be elected to the Board of Directors. In accordance with the Committee’s proposal Rector and Professor Eva Liljeblom, Managing Director Kari Niemistö, Charlotta Tallqvist-Cederberg, M.Sc. (Econ.), Managing Director Per Sjödell, Managing Director Kjell Sundstöm , Carola Teir-Lehtinen, M.Sc., and Managing Director Dag Wallgren were re-elected as members of the Board of Directors. Following the announcement by the chairman of the board, Christoffer Taxell, LL.M., that he will no longer be available as a member, CEO of the Föreningen Konstsamfundet, Kaj-Gustaf Bergh, was elected as a new member. Mr Bergh has been a member of the Stockmann board between 2007 and 2013. The Board members’ term of office will continue until the end of the next Annual General Meeting.
It was resolved to keep the Board members’ remuneration unchanged, and the remuneration will continue to be paid mainly in shares.
Jari Härmälä, Authorised Public Accountant and Anders Lundin, Authorised Public Accountant were re-elected as the regular auditors, and. KPMG Oy Ab, a firm of authorised public accountants, will continue as the deputy auditor. The auditors will be paid in accordance with invoice.
Organisational meeting of the Board of Directors
The Board of Directors, which convened after the Annual General Meeting, elected Managing Director Kaj-Gustaf Bergh as its Chairman and Managing Director Kari Niemistö as its Vice Chairman. The Board has assessed the independence of its members in accordance with Recommendation 15 in the Finnish Corporate Governance Code. According to the assessment all the eight members of the Board elected at the Annual General Meeting on 18 March 2014 are independent of the company. Five of the company’s board members are independent of major shareholders (Eva Liljeblom, Kari Niemistö, Per Sjödell, Kjell Sundström and Carola Teir-Lehtinen).
The Board of Directors elected Kaj-Gustaf Bergh as Chairman of the Appointments and Compensation Committee and Kari Niemistö, Charlotta Tallqvist-Cederberg and Dag Wallgren as the other members of the committee.
Nora Malin, Director, Corporate Communications, tel. +358 9 121 3558