Panalpina has reported positive annual results, amid ongoing internal discussions over shareholder voting rights.
The Swiss freight forwarder ended 2018 with record airfreight volumes and solid profitability from its logistics divisions. Although volumes in its ocean freight business decreased 2 percent year-on-year, Panalpina ceo Stefan Karlen said the company “performed strongly overall in 2018”.
In announcing its annual results, the company’s investors presentation drew attention to the topic of voting rights, following the Ernst Göhner Foundation’s (EGF) calls for the implementation of a one share, one vote regime.
Currently, there is a 5 percent voting restriction on shareholders. However, EGF is exempt from this as it held its shares prior to the introduction of the voting restrictions.
EGF’s calls for the one share, one vote regime follows criticisms from minority shareholder Cevian, which requested the voting restrictions be applied to all shareholders. This would have reduced the voting power of EGF - Panalpina’s largest shareholder - to 5 percent.
An ad hoc board of independent directors, consisting of five directors (without representatives of EGF and Cevian) and chaired by Thomas Kern, is currently evaluating the situation based on expert opinions submitted by EGF and Cevian and based on independent expert advice obtained by the board.