ACCOR and CARREFOUR: here is an example of two listed companies implementing two similar strategies in which the Board of Directors is putting forward to shareholders that business areas should be separated in the aim of promoting wealth creation.
Both these companies have in the past been the target of takeovers by two shareholders convinced that the strategies pursued by the directors of these two companies should be profoundly called into question in the interest of shareholders. The shareholders therefore gave two other investor-shareholders free rein to significantly change governance and strategy, probably considering that they were to be trusted.
Several years later, faced with a much more stark reality than expected, the new directors may consider that the economic crisis has done little to help them, but they will find it difficult to convince shareholders that the strategy proposed at Accor (separation of business areas) or at Carrefour (partial or complete sale of DIA and of the real-estate company holding the premises of some supermarkets) will be more appropriate than that pursued by their predecessors for a number of years.
The reality is that, since their respective takeovers, these minority shareholders have not succeeded in developing a new wealth creation strategy. Knowledge that the value of their investment is below their entry price probably leads them to hope that a drastic restructuring strategy, irrespective of the price, is able to encourage an increase in share price in order to allow them to see a return on their investment.
The problem with such purely financial strategies is that they do not take into account the history of a company, its fundamental make-up, and that they tend to forget the men and women who represent the true value of the company, more often than not creating such mistrust internally that rebuilding a genuine ‘spirit of cooperation’ around a corporate vision becomes a challenge.
As shareholders, we are called on to voice our opinion regarding these changes of strategy, either during the appointment or renewal of directorships or when these companies present their strategic development plan at the General Meeting and which is put to the vote in the management report. Unfortunately, we are forced to observe that shareholders, on the whole, tend to support these strategies with a view to the finance project alone and not taking full account of governance issues and environmental and social constraints.
We will however shortly have the job of voicing our opinion on Carrefour at the General Meeting; will we dare to say no to a purely financial strategy?
Toute l'actualité de l'engagement actionnarial par PhiTrust
- 1450 initiatives privées
- 120 initiatives publiques
- 27 résolutions externes déposées
Depuis plus de dix ans, nous croyons que l’éthique du management et la gouvernance ont un rôle fondamental au sein des entreprises dans lesquelles nous investissons pour le compte de nos clients.
Face aux défis immenses de la crise que nous vivons aujourd’hui, nous sommes de plus en plus convaincus que nos entreprises cotées en Europe ont besoin d’actionnaires minoritaires actifs qui les aident à développer des stratégies innovantes pour répondre aux enjeux financiers, commerciaux et sociaux de notre monde actuel, et nous essayons d’y contribuer par notre stratégie d’investissement.