LANXESS CEO confirms company position to be even stronger than ever before
At its Annual Stockholders’ Meeting, specialty chemicals company LANXESS looks back on a successful fiscal 2019 and is proving to be robust even in the current corona crisis. “I am proud that we at LANXESS have held together in recent months. In a borderline situation, the likes of which none of us have ever seen before, we have all pulled together,” said Matthias Zachert, Chairman of the Board of Management. Due to the corona pandemic, the company’s Annual Stockholders’ Meeting is taking place virtually for the first time.
In fiscal 2019, the company’s realignment to focus on high-quality specialty chemicals, which LANXESS initiated in 2015 with its decision to divest itself of the rubber business, proved successful. Since then, the company has consistently pursued its growth course in line with the principle of “class not mass” and has positioned itself much more profitable and stable. In 2019, for example, LANXESS divested its chrome chemicals business, acquired Brazilian biocide manufacturer IPEL and launched the Consumer Protection segment, which has since established itself as a new strong pillar of the company. The successful realignment is also reflected in the figures: In a challenging economic environment, LANXESS increased its operating result by 3 percent to EUR 1.019 billion in 2019. The EBITDA margin pre exceptionals came in at 15.0 percent for the first time, compared with 14.4 percent in the previous year. The company has also set itself an ambitious climate protection target for 2019: By 2040, LANXESS aims to become climate-neutral and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from the current level of around 3.2 million metric tons of CO2e.
Zachert also gave a positive summary of the first half of 2020 despite charges from the corona pandemic and once again confirmed the guidance for the full year. The company expects EBITDA pre exceptionals for 2020 to be between EUR 800 million and EUR 900 million.
Measures were taken early on to prepare the company for the economic impact of the corona crisis, said the LANXESS CEO. “The key to this lies in strong liquidity. After the Lehman crisis, we learned that you can only defend your capacity to take action if you build a strong liquidity position early on.” Zachert summarized: “LANXESS is more strongly positioned than ever before – both strategically and financially.”
Dividend increased to EUR 0.95
LANXESS stockholders are also to benefit from the company’s strong position and successful fiscal 2019. The Board of Management and Supervisory Board therefore proposed a dividend of EUR 0.95 per share to the Annual Stockholders’ Meeting – 6 percent more than in the previous year. In terms of the shares currently entitled to a dividend, this corresponds to a total payout of approximately EUR 82 million.
Zachert: “Our confidence to pay out such a dividend in times like these shows that we are looking to the future with drive and optimism.”
Hans van Bylen up for election as new member of the LANXESS Supervisory Board
The terms of office of the Chairman of LANXESS’ Supervisory Board Dr. Matthias L. Wolfgruber and the members of the Supervisory Board Dr. Friedrich Janssen, Lawrence A. Rosen and Theo H. Walthie expire at the end of this year’s Annual Stockholders’ Meeting. Wolfgruber and Rosen are available for re-election to the Supervisory Board for four years, Walthie for two years. Janssen will not run for re-election. Instead former Chairman of the Board of Management of Henkel AG & Co. KGaA, Hans van Bylen, is standing for election as a new member of the Supervisory Board. In the event of his re-election, Wolfgruber is to be proposed to the new Supervisory Board as a candidate for the chairmanship.
Further Supervisory Board members are Pamela Knapp and Dr. Heike Hanagarth. Knapp was elected to the LANXESS Supervisory Board in 2018 until the end of the 2023 Annual Stockholders’ Meeting. Hanagarth has been a member of the Supervisory Board since 2016 and her term of office ends after the 2022 Stockholders’ Meeting.
Due to the corona pandemic, the employee representatives were appointed by the court this year. Werner Czaplik, Manuela Strauch, Birgit Bierther, Dr. Hans-Dieter Gerriets, Ralf Sikorski and Armando Dente will be members of the LANXESS Supervisory Board at the end of the 2020 Annual Stockholders’ Meeting.