Continental is postponing its 2020 Annual Shareholders' Meeting (original date: April 30, 2020). The reason behind this decision is the ban on large events in Lower Saxony in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The company is keeping Hanover as the location for the event. The new date will be set and announced soon. The ban was issued on March 11, 2020, by decree from the Health Ministry of Lower Saxony and is without a time limitation. Continental's CEO Dr. Elmar Degenhart was understanding of the administrative order: "As much as we regret postponing our Shareholders' Meeting, we fully support the efforts of the authorities to contain the spread of the coronavirus. We ask all those involved for their understanding of our decision to postpone our Annual Shareholders' Meeting in such an exceptional situation."
By law, an annual shareholders' meeting must be held by the end of the eighth month of a fiscal year. In the case of Continental, that is August. The postponement changes the point in time for the approvals by the Supervisory Board and Annual Shareholders' Meeting on the planned spin-off of the powertrain business Vitesco Technologies with subsequent listing. Pending these necessary approvals, Continental strives to implement the spin-off and the listing as soon as practicable. Activities related to the planned spin-off will continue unchanged. "The postponement does not call into question the decision regarding the spin-off of Vitesco Technologies," said Degenhart.
At the same time, Degenhart encourages legal evaluation of holding shareholders' meetings as virtual-only meetings in the future: "We have streamed our entire Annual Shareholders' Meeting online for years, offering participants the option to submit their votes electronically from afar. In times of increasing digitalization, we feel it makes sense to hold shareholders' meetings online. If the legal requirements for this were already in place, it might not be necessary for us to postpone our Annual Shareholders' Meeting. All of the related original time schedules could be complied with, and we would not have to delay the dividend payment to our shareholders."
According to Degenhart, virtual event formats are becoming ever more common. In this context, he pointed out the company's own encouraging experience: "We have held our annual financial press conference as a purely virtual, dialog-based webcast for six years now. This year alone, we had 2,000 participants. The discussions showed that virtual does not mean that there is no interaction."
Continental develops pioneering technologies and services for sustainable and connected mobility of people and their goods. Founded in 1871, the technology company offers safe, efficient, intelligent and affordable solutions for vehicles, machines, traffic and transportation. In 2019, Continental generated preliminary sales of 44.5 billion and currently employs more than 240,000 people in 59 countries and markets.
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