Frankfurt/Bad Homburg, May 4, 2005
Annual General Meeting 2005: ninth consecutive successful business year
Shareholders of ALTANA AG (NYSE: AAA, FSE: ALT) approved all proposals made by the Management and Supervisory Boards at today’s Annual General Meeting in Frankfurt. These include the payment of a dividend of EUR0.95 per share, a 14% increase on the prior year (EUR0.83). This brings the total dividend amount to EUR133 million (prior year: EUR117 million).
“With the ninth consecutive dividend increase and a dividend sum that has increased fivefold in this time period, coming close to the share capital, our shareholders have participated for years in the company’s success,” said Dr. Nikolaus Schweickart, Chairman of the Management Board of ALTANA AG.
In his speech, Dr. Nikolaus Schweickart reported to the shareholders on a successful business year in 2004, in which a sales volume of nearly EUR3 billion was achieved and worldwide earnings exceeded the EUR600 million mark for the first time. Investments and research expenditure amounted to EUR670 million, which was also a new company record. In the next three years, from 2005 to 2007, ALTANA plans to continue the pace of innovation and investment. In this period, the company plans to invest some EUR750 million, whilst the research budget will amount to about EUR1.5 billion. In addition, ALTANA intends to create more jobs in Germany and abroad.
With harsh words the Chairman of the Management Board condemned the current defamation campaign against entrepreneurs and international investors: “To pillory an entire system and vilify entrepreneurs and managers as ice-cold executors of capital and profit interests for tactical election reasons is a dangerous language that one must clearly oppose. Those who initiated this defamation campaign should ask our employees whether they feel we are locusts sucking them dry. Yet warrants for the arrest of a slew of companies and people are being issued. The effects of this unspeakable debate abroad are devastating. Investments from other countries are not being steered to Germany in this way, jobs are not being created, the climate is being poisoned. A few ‘black sheep’ do not determine the image of the herd. But to hype this as being prototypical of an allegedly excessive power is simply untrustworthy.”
In reference to Germany’s future prospects, Dr. Nikolaus Schweickart added: “The same politicians who are responsible for the innovation-inimical climate in health care and biotechnology, key industries of the 21st century, are now attacking international investors.”