FrankfurtAfter a million-dollar settlement for corruption investigations in the US, shareholders have punished the leadership of the dialysis company FMC. At the shareholders' meeting on Thursday in Frankfurt, the shareholders relieved the board of directors by boss Rice Powell with a narrow majority of 56.8 percent. The Supervisory Board of Fresenius Medical Care received 52.3 percent of the votes.
At shareholder meetings, quotas of 90 percent and more are customary. The votes have no legal consequences, but the shareholders express their confidence in the leadership.
FMC had accepted a settlement in March for the equivalent of 206 million euros to settle investigations into alleged bribes in America. The US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission had accused the group of having participated in a corruption plot to bribe health industry decision-makers and government officials in several countries.
An FMC spokesman said that the reason for the tight voting majorities was a recommendation by the powerful US proxy advisor ISS. He had advised not to relieve the administration of the Americans' earlier investigations. Some large investors have apparently followed suit.
The medical group Fresenius, which holds around 30 percent of FMC shares, was not allowed to vote in the vote. "We see no factual basis for the recommendation of ISS," said the spokesman. The investigations concerned events from previous years. FMC had already voluntarily informed the US authorities about self-initiated investigations in 2012 and had improved internal controls in recent years.
In 2018, FMC increased its adjusted net income by 2 percent to 1.19 billion euros. However, the Group had to correct both the 2018 targets and medium-term expectations as business did not perform as well as expected.
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