Since 2003 we have provided an annual Declaration of Conformity with the German Corporate Governance Code (DCGK) which is published on our website and can be reviewed in the Annual Report. Furthermore, our Corporate Governance Principles are regularly revised and reflect the recommendations of the Code as amended.
As an instrument of self-regulation for the business world, the applicable version of the German Corporate Governance Code for 2016 dating from 5 May 2015 sets out recommendations and suggestions that are intended to maintain and foster the trust of investors, customers, employees and the general public in the management and supervision of German companies. Although the Code does not have binding legal force, the enterprises addressed by the Code are nevertheless required by § 161 Stock Corporation Act (AktG) to provide an annual declaration as to whether or not the recommendations of the Code were and are complied with in the reality of the company’s business activities. If recommendations were not acted upon, this is to be explained and disclosed as part of the Declaration of Conformity.
Our positive attitude towards the Code is not contradicted by the fact that in the year under review we did not comply with certain Code recommendations, since a well justified deviation from the recommendations of the Code may – as in the present cases – be very much in the interests of good corporate governance tailored to a particular company, i.e. by reflecting enterprise- and industry-specific features (cf. Foreword to the German Corporate Governance Code).