(PresseBox) (Nürnberg, )At today's 4th Annual General Meeting of GfK SE, a minimum of 83.65% of the shareholders of GfK SE voted in favor of the resolutions proposed by the Supervisory Board and the Management Board. Approximately 250 shareholders and proxies, representing 85.82% of all shares, attended the Annual General Meeting.
This year's Annual General Meeting of GfK SE, held at the Stadthalle in Fürth, discussed and voted on a total of ten items. With a large majority, shareholders and proxies agreed to the proposal of the Supervisory Board and Management Board regarding payment of a dividend of EUR 0.65 per share. The 35% increase in the rate of distribution was welcomed, as was the intention to distribute around 30% of the profit to shareholders in the future. To date, the dividend rate has amounted to around 20%. The dividend payment of EUR 0.65 per share already corresponds to 27%. With this increase, the Management Board is highlighting its confidence in terms of future business development.
In addition, the General Meeting authorized the Management Board to issue options or convertible bonds equivalent to a total new amount of EUR 250 million up to May 15, 2016. The previous authorization expires on May 22, 2012.
As in the previous years, KPMG AG, Nuremberg, Germany, were appointed to audit the financial statements and consolidated financial statements for the 2012 financial year.
At the Annual General Meeting, it was also announced that the Supervisory Board unanimously resolved on May 15, 2012 to extend the contract of Pamela Knapp as Member of the Management Board (CFO) of GfK SE for a further five years as of October 31, 2012. Pamela Knapp has therefore been appointed as a member of the Management Board until October 31, 2017.
Matthias Hartmann, CEO of GfK SE, provided an overview of the financial year ended and the annual financial statements for 2011. He emphasized, "The past year marked a year of change. It was a year which opened a new chapter in the company's history, for clients and employees, with the launch of the new Own the Future corporate strategy." The response from shareholders was positive in respect of the successful past financial year, in which sales and consolidated total income rose to new record levels, and the excellent first quarter of 2012.
In his outlook for the current financial year, Matthias Hartmann underlined that GfK was confirming its ambitious medium-term targets for sales and the margin. Accordingly, the company plans to increase sales in 2012 by around 9% to approximately EUR 1.5 billion. In the coming years, GfK will focus its activities to generate growth in around 30 countries worldwide, particularly the USA and BRIC countries. Following the acquisition of Knowledge Networks, the leading US expert in digital research, and Bridgehead International, a leader in healthcare consulting, GfK has already recorded initial successes this year and reported strong organic sales and income growth in all regions for the first quarter of financial year 2012.