Elements pertinent to a takeover bid

Elements pertinent to a takeover bid

Restrictions on the transfer of securities

The Articles of Association contain no restrictions on the transfer of the shares, except in case of a change of control, for which the prior approval of the Board of Directors has to be requested in accordance with Article 11 of the Articles of Association.

Subject to the foregoing the shares are freely transferable. The Board is not aware of any restrictions imposed by law on the transfer of shares by any shareholder.

Restrictions on the exercise of voting rights

Each share entitles the holder to one vote. The Articles of Association contain no restrictions on the voting rights, and each shareholder can exercise his voting rights provided he was validly admitted to the General Meeting and his rights had not been suspended. The admission rules to the General Meeting are laid down in Article 31 of the Articles of Association. Pursuant to Article 10 the company is entitled to suspend the exercising of rights attaching to securities belonging to several owners.

No person can vote at General Meetings using voting rights attaching to securities that had not been timely reported in accordance with the law.

The Board is not aware of any other restrictions imposed by law on the exercise of voting rights.

Agreements among shareholders

The Board of Directors is not aware of any agreements among shareholders that may result in restrictions on the transfer of securities or the exercise of voting rights, except those disclosed in the notifications referred to in the Financial Review in this annual report (Parent company information: interests in share capital).

Appointment and replacement of Directors

The Articles of Association (Articles 15 and following) and the Bekaert Charter contain specific rules concerning the (re)appointment, induction and evaluation of Directors.

Directors are appointed for a term not exceeding four years (in practice usually for three years) by the General Meeting of Shareholders, which can also dismiss them at any time. An appointment or dismissal requires a simple majority of votes. The candidates for the office of Director who have not previously held that position in the company must inform the Board of Directors of their candidacy at least two months before the Ordinary General Meeting.

Only if and when a position of Director prematurely becomes vacant can the remaining Directors appoint (co-opt) a new Director. In such a case the next General Meeting will make the definitive appointment.

The appointment process for Directors is led by the Chairman of the Board. The Nomination and Remuneration Committee submits a reasoned recommendation to the full Board which, on that basis, decides which candidates will be nominated to the General Meeting for appointment. Directors can, as a rule, be reappointed for an indefinite number of terms, provided they are at least 35 and at most 64 years of age at the moment of their initial appointment and they have to resign in the year in which they reach the age of 67.

Amendments to the Articles of Association

The Articles of Association can be amended by the General Meeting in accordance with the Companies Code. Each amendment to the Articles requires a qualified majority of votes.

Authority of the Board of Directors to issue or buy back shares

The Board of Directors is authorized by Article 45 of the Articles of Association to increase the registered capital in one or more times by a maximum amount of € 170 000 000. The authority is valid for five years, but can be extended by the General Meeting.

Within the framework of that authority the Board can also, during a period of three years, increase the registered capital, upon receipt by the company of a notice from the CBFA (Banking, Finance and Insurance Commission Belgium) of a public takeover bid, and provided that:

  • the shares to be issued are fully paid up upon issue;
  • the issue price of such shares is not lower than the price of the bid; and
  • the number of shares to be issued does not exceed 10% of the issued shares representing the capital prior to the capital increase.

This authority can also be extended by the General Meeting.

The Board of Directors is authorized by Article 12 of the Articles of Association to acquire a maximum number of shares that, in the aggregate, represent no more than 20% of the issued capital, during a period of five years (that can be extended by the General Meeting), at a price ranging between minimum € 1 and maximum 30% above the arithmetic average of the closing price of the share during the last 30 trading days preceding the Board’s resolution to acquire. The Board is authorized to cancel all or part of the purchased shares during the five-year period. The Board is also authorized to acquire shares, if required, to prevent a threatened serious harm to the company, including a public takeover bid. Such authority is granted for a period of three years, but can be extended by the General Meeting.

Articles 12bis and 12ter of the Articles of Association provide rules for the disposal of purchased shares and for the acquisition and disposal of shares by subsidiaries.

The powers of the Board of Directors are more fully described in the applicable legal provisions, the Articles of Association and the Bekaert Charter.

Change of control

NV Bekaert SA is a party to a number of significant agreements that take effect, alter or terminate upon a change of control of the company following a public takeover bid or otherwise. To the extent that those agreements grant rights to third parties that affect the assets of the company or that give rise to a debt or an obligation of the company, those rights were granted by the Special General Meetings held on 13 April 2006, 16 April 2008, 15 April 2009 and
14 April 2010 in accordance with Article 556 of the Companies Code: the minutes of those meetings were filed with the Registry of the Commercial Court of Kortrijk on 14 April 2006, 18 April 2008,
17 April 2009 and 16 April 2010 respectively and are available at www.bekaert.com.

Most agreements are joint venture contracts (describing the relationship between the parties in the context of a joint venture company), contracts whereby financial institutions commit funds to the company or one of its subsidiaries, and service contracts. Each of those contracts contains clauses that, in the case of a change of control of the company, entitle the other party, in certain cases and under certain conditions, to terminate the contract prematurely and, in the case of financial contracts, also to demand early repayment of the loan funds. The joint venture contracts provide that, in the case of a change of control of the company, the other party can acquire the company’s shareholding in the joint venture (except for the Chinese joint ventures, where the parties have to agree whether one of them will continue the joint venture on its own, whereupon that party has to purchase the other party's shareholding), whereby the value for the transfer of the shareholding is determined in accordance with contractual formulas that aim to ensure a transfer at an arm's length price.

Other elements

  • The company has not issued securities with special control rights.
  • The control rights attaching to the shares acquired by employees pursuant to the stock option plans are exercised directly by the employees.
  • No agreements have been concluded between the company and its Directors or employees providing for compensation if, as a result of a takeover bid, the Directors resign or are made redundant without valid reason or if the employment of the employees is terminated.

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