An external shareholders' proposal wave coming from Scandinavia!

As the proxy season started, Scandinavian companies are the first to convene their general meetings. In assessing external shareholders’ resolutions at several Scandinavian general meetings which will be held soon, we found out that a minority shareholder, Mr. Kjeld Beyer which shareholdings are undisclosed, is to propose a wave of external proposals at several Danish General Meetings this year.

At Novo Nordisk, Carlsberg or Danske Bank, we had the opportunity to comment on these proposals, not always justified and mainly responding to individual interests. At Danske Bank general meeting to be held on March 18th 2014, no less than 17 external proposals will be discussed, including an astonishing one asking for the company to offer a meal to shareholders corresponding to “the company’s outlook for the year to come”! (see our full analysis on shop.ecgs.com).

External shareholders’ proposals are common in Scandinavian countries, and ECGS has now observed the phenomenon for many years. While we generally favor shareholders’ proposal as we consider that they are an integral part of the corporate governance process and enable shareholders to take the initiative on certain issues,  in some cases, a few are more likely to be time consuming than efficient in terms of better governance! 

Notwithstanding, we will keep encourage investors and minority shareholders to draft external proposals at the risk to see some quite curious proposals which we will greet with a smile. 

                London, March 5, 2014