The General Shareholders' Meeting of Acerinox S.A held yesterday in Madrid approved the proposed resolutions listed in the agenda, including an increase in the return to shareholder of 0.50 Euro per share, as opposed to the 0.45 they had been receiving in the past few years, changes to the composition of the Board of Directors and a reduction of the number of members.
The approved dividend represents an increase of 11% compared to the previous fiscal year, and will be distributed in a first payment charged to unrestricted reserves in the amount of 0.30 Euro per share (payable on June 5, 2019) and a second payment charged to the Share Issuance Premium account in the amount of 0.20 Euro per share (payable on July 5, 2019). Moreover, the Shareholders Meeting agreed to a capital reduction via depreciation of treasury shares acquired by execution of the reacquisition programme, up to 2%, approved by the Board of Directors in December.
Regarding the news within the Board of Directors, the decisions made during the Meeting included the appointment of Mr. Ignacio Martín and Mr. Donald Johnston as Independent Directors, and Mr. Pablo Gómez Garzón and Mr. Mitsuo Ikeda as Proprietary Directors, with the first representing the Corporación Financiera Alba and replacing Pedro Ballesteros, and the latter representing Nippon Steel Stainless Steel Corporation and replacing Mr. Katsuhisa Miyakusu.
During the Meeting it was also agreed to eliminate a position in the Board of Directors, going from 15 to 14 members, to gradually match its size to the boards of similar European and Spanish companies.
The changes above resulted in Mr. Ballesteros, Mr. Miyakusu and Mr. Conthe leaving the Board. Both the Chairman and the Chief Executive Officer, together with the management team thanked them for their work and dedication to the company during their years in office.
During their speeches, the Chairman of Acerinox, Rafael Miranda, and the Chief Executive Officer, Bernardo Velázquez analysed the year 2018, the situation of the company, the markets where it operates, and the outlook for the future, among other issues, and highlighted the leadership, competitiveness, excellence and strengths of the Acerinox Group.
Miranda highlighted "The strength of Acerinox to face future challenges and different scenarios, thanks to the best and most efficient geographic diversification, our product mix, our constant strive to improve our position of competitiveness, our solid financial structure and its management, focused on generating cash flow along with a strong commitment to Sustainability."
Next, the Chief Executive Officer highlighted the results of Acerinox in 2018 - the best results in the past ten years - and detailed the company's production (with a record in cold rolling), the situation of the markets and the protectionist measures in different parts of the world, and mentioned "the high price of electricity in Spain, which puts the viability of the Spanish industry at risk."
Velázquez detailed the new Excellence360 project, "which will be the new pillar supporting our progress, and the guarantee of our competitiveness for the future", and "where we want to integrate our latest improvements with our traditional techniques, something we can now do thanks to the digital transformation.“
“Excellence360 it is going to allow us simplifying the digital transformation process, granting it a clear economic and practical sense from the beginning”, concluded.