On March 3rd 2017 the annual general meeting of PALFINGER AG took place at the service and demonstration center in Kasern. Even if we had no sunshine this year, there was still a good and solemn mood. 217 shareholders and guests showed up to look back at our record-breaking year of 2016 in an festive atmosphere.
How could it be otherwise? Another record turnover and result in 2016
As in the recent years the Chairman of the Supervisory Board Hubert Palfinger jun. opened the annual general meeting and held it together with notary Dr. Brix. After some formalities, they handed over to PALFINGER’s CEO Herbert Ortner, who reported about the pleasant record-breaking year of 2016. Revenue rose by 10.3 per cent to more than EUR 1.3 billion, and EBITDAn (EBITDA normalized by restructuring costs), an indicator of operating profitability, showed an disproportionate high increase in relation to revenue: 11.7 per cent. And EBIT reached a historic record level, even after restructuring costs.
What´s our winning formula?
As already announced by the CEO in 2016, the success of the company is based on the three strategic pillars of innovation, internationalization and flexibility. In particular, the internationalization strategy provides the opportunity to remain competitive despite the volatility and increasing protectionism of international markets, such as China and Russia. Another highlight in 2016 was the takeover of the Norwegian Harding Group, with which PALFINGER increased its position in the maritime domain to record levels. In North America, too, we were able to further improve our competitive position through restructuring measures
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. Among other things, productivity increases were achieved and the product portfolio was adapted. As an integral part, the expansion of the sustainability targets also contributed to the strong growth and success.
The board members Martin Zehnder (COO) and Christoph Kaml (CFO) also contributed important topics, like the “Go-East”- strategy, digitization, Industry 4.0, segment development and financial figures.
Full details can be found in our current integrated annual report. In addition to economic considerations, ecological and social aspects are also being addressed.
What is planned for the upcoming years?
As it is usual for PALFINGER, we have ambitious goals. The growth course should be continued by the completion of the product portfolio in all regions, further market closures in Asia and CIS, the expansion of the marine sector and the use of digital services as growth and value drivers. For 2017, we targeted a double-digit EBITn margin as the overriding aim.
Questions over questions and resolutions
In order not to break with tradition, Dr. Knap, Vice-President of the IVA and shareholder representatives, opened the questionnaire to the members of the Management Board. He was particularly interested in the operational implementation of the digitization measures, as well as the targeted competitive strategy. Overall, the questions surrounding the acquisition of the Harding Group and the digitization at PALFINGER were concentrated.
Following the question, the vote on the resolutions was taken
. The 192 shareholders present, which represented 67% of the shareholders, decided to pay a dividend of EUR 0.57 per share, the approval of the Management Board and the Supervisory Board and elected Ernst & Young as the annual auditor and group auditor for the financial year 2017. Furthermore Mr. Hannes Bogner was elected as new member of the Supervisory Board.
After the end of the official part, we expected a delicious and versatile buffet, which was very popular with everyone. Interesting conversations, questions and good food rounded off the afternoon.