Deutsche Post AG calls for shareholders' opinion07/21/2004, 01:00 AM CEST
In December 2003, Deutsche Post AG sent a questionnaire to about 820,000 domestic and foreign private investors and 4,000 legal entities. The questions covered such issues as information gathering, significance of dividends, and the use and importance of voting rights. Survey respondents were asked to give answers as shareholders in general to ensure that the results were representative.
At more than ten percent, the response rate was very high, allowing Bernhard Pellens and Joachim Gassen from the Chair of International Corporate Accounting at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum to gain a number of important insights, which are particularly relevant to Deutsche Post AG:
- German private investors get most of the information on which they base their investment decisions from the media, such as newspapers, magazines and TV-reports. 72 percent of the private investors assess the relevance of these information channels as high or very high. The timeliness of the media is valued by 76 percent, the understandability by 62 percent and the reliability by 47 of the retail investors.
- Other sources of information with a lower usage rate are annual and quarterly report. 47 percent of the private investors assess the relevance of the annual report as high or very high, 45 percent value its timeliness and 40 percent its reliability. Only 29 percent find the annual report understandable. In contrast, the annual and the quarterly report are the key sources of information for institutional investors.
- More than 50 percent of the private investors use parts of the annual report very intensively or intensively. The income statement is used by 58 percent and the balance sheet by 56 percent. Only 34 percent of the retail investors state that they use the cash flow statement.
- Private investors attach more relevance to positive news than to negative news. The opposite is true for institutional investors. This result seems to confirm the theory that private investors tend to make conscious 'buy' decisions, but unconscious 'hold' decisions.
- Shareholders consider voting rights to be of value. However, private investors are more willing to forgo their voting rights than institutional investors. 52 percent of the retail investors would be willing to by non-voting shares. Both groups would demand a 20 percent discount on the share price if they were to forego their voting rights.
- Asked whether they focuse more on share price or dividends, both investor groups say they prefer a moderate increase in both share price and dividends. 20 percent of the private investors prefer a high or very high dividend, 38 percent a moderate, and 32 percent at least a low dividend.
Private investors - an important target group
'Private investors are an important target group for Deutsche Post World Net because they hold about ten percent of our share capital, that is about 110 million shares,' says Edgar Ernst, board member Finance of Deutsche Post.' 'At the current share price, this corresponds to overall investments of nearly EUR 2 billion in Deutsche Post. The results of our shareholder survey help us and other listed companies target this group of investors even better.'
Deutsche Post World Net already uses a multitude of channels to supply its private shareholders with information: Retail investors receive a bimonthly newsletter - 'Nachrichtenbörse' - as well as a quarterly 'fact sheet' with key figures from the quarterly and annual reports. On the company's website www.dpwn.com investors find information about Deutsche Post, such as company news, share price development and the financial calendar. Annual and quarterly reports are available in the download section.
In addition, Deutsche Post regularly takes part in investor fairs such as 'Invest' in Stuttgart as well as in private shareholder events organized jointly with banks, stock exchanges or shareholder lobbies. At the same time, the Group responds to the need for reliable information and transparency by fulfilling all recommendations included in the German Corporate Governance Code, and by pursuing active communications and press relations, for example in the context of STAR.