The healthcare group Fresenius remains on course for growth despite continuing burdens caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. This was confirmed by Stephan Sturm, CEO of Fresenius, at today’s Annual General Meeting: “We have a challenging year behind us, and the challenges persist,” Sturm said in his speech. “Although the coronavirus burdened our business, we still performed well for the year and reached our targets. We launched initiatives to become more efficient and profitable, and we have set down a plan for accelerated growth through 2023.”
The measures are targeted to result in cost savings of at least €100 million annually after tax and minority interest in 2023, with some further potential to increase thereafter. Sturm said: “I have great confidence in our strategy. Our future continues to look good. We will be needed. We will provide ever more people with ever better medicine. We will again grow dynamically in the coming years. And by doing this we will make Fresenius even more valuable.”
Today’s Annual General Meeting was the last one presided over by Dr. Gerd Krick, the long-serving Chairman of the Supervisory Board. He announced in October that, after 46 years in the service of Fresenius, he would not seek re-election to the Supervisory Board. Michael Diekmann, Deputy Chairman of the Supervisory Board, praised Krick’s key role in the successful development of Fresenius as a Member of the Management Board, CEO and then Chairman of the Supervisory Board.
“You shaped and influenced Fresenius like no one else, and Fresenius owes you thanks,” said Diekmann. “There are not many entrepreneurs who can built a medium-sized enterprise into a global company, active around the world. But you succeeded in doing just that. Along with vision and strategic foresight, that required iron discipline, passion and the courage to take big decisions and then consistently implement them.”
Krick’s successor is the former CEO of DZ Bank, Wolfgang Kirsch, who became a member of the Supervisory Board of Fresenius Management SE on January 1, 2020. The shareholders elected Kirsch as a new member of the Supervisory Board of Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA with a 98.52 percent majority. In its constituent meeting immediately following the Annual General Meeting, the new Supervisory Board elected him as Chairman and appointed Dr. Gerd Krick as Honorary Chairman. The five additional shareholder representatives were all re-elected to another term.
Shareholders approved with a large majority of 99.61 percent the 28th consecutive dividend increase proposed by the General Partner and the Supervisory Board. The dividend was raised by 5 percent, to €0.88 per share.
Also with a large majority, of 92.23 percent, shareholders passed a new compensation system for the Management Board. In addition to key financial indicators, it will take into account sustainability targets relating to environmental, social and governance aspects.
Shareholder majorities of 99.28 and 91.34 percent, respectively, approved the actions of the Management and Supervisory Boards in 2020.
At the Annual General Meeting of Fresenius SE & Co. KGaA, 72.76 percent of the subscribed capital was represented. Due to the pandemic, the meeting was held exclusively over the Internet in order to protect the health of all participants.