Good corporate governance improves transparency and the quality of reporting, enables effective management control, safeguards shareholder interests and serves as an important tool to build corporate culture. The Company is dedicated to acting in the best interests of its shareholders and stakeholders. Towards these ends, it is recognized that sound corporate governance is critical. The Company is committed to continually and progressively implementing industry best practices with respect to corporate governance and has been adjusting and improving its internal practices in order to meet evolving standards. The Company aims to communicate regularly to its shareholders and stakeholders regarding corporate governance and to provide regular updates on its website.
Since the Company was founded in 1991, its accounts have been audited regularly each year. KPMG has been appointed Company’s auditor since the general meeting in 2013. In addition, the Company’s portfolio of assets is regularly evaluated by independent experts.
In 2007, the Company’s Board of Directors adopted the Director’s Corporate Governance Guide and continues to communicate throughout the Group based on the values articulated by this guide.
As a company incorporated in Luxembourg, the Company’s primary regulator is the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (the “CSSF”). The Company’s procedures are designed to comply with applicable regulations, in particular those dealing with market abuse. The Company also has a risk assessment procedure designed to identify and limit risk. In addition, the Company aims to implement corporate governance best practices inspired by the recommendations applicable in Luxembourg and Poland.
On 23 May 2012, the Board of Directors elected the Ten Principles and their Recommendations of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange as a reference for its Corporate Governance Rules
Board of Directors
The Company is administered and supervised by a Board of Directors made up of at least three members.
Appointment of Directors
The Directors are appointed by the general meeting of shareholders for a period of office not exceeding six years. They are eligible for re-election and may be removed at any time by decision of the general meeting of shareholders by simple majority vote. In the event of a vacancy in the office of a Director, the remaining Directors may provisionally fill such vacancy, in which case the general meeting of shareholders will hold a final election at the time of its next meeting.
The articles of association may be modified by an extraordinary general meeting of the shareholders, deliberating with a quorum of at least half of the corporate capital and deciding by a vote of at least a two-thirds majority of the votes cast.
However, if five Director positions become vacant, an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders will be convened for the purpose of renewing the Board of Directors.
Legal entities appointed as Directors must designate a representative, who must be a natural person, to attend meetings of the Board of Directors in their name. Such representative is subject to the same conditions and obligations and will incur the same liability as if he had been appointed as Director in his own name, without prejudice to the joint and several liability of the legal entity he represents. A power of attorney evidencing the fact that he is empowered to validly represent and to bind the said legal entity during his period of office must be delivered to the Company at the time the Board of Directors is appointed.
At the time of renewal of the mandate of a legal entity appointed as director, the power of attorney of the agent for such legal entity must be renewed.
In the event that the legal entity revokes the power of attorney of its representative, it must notify such dismissal to the Company without delay by registered letter, and include in such letter the identity of its new representative. The same applies in the event of the death, resignation or lengthy impediment or prevention of the permanent representative.
Any employee of the Company may be appointed Director subject to an employment contract being executed prior to appointment, and corresponding to an actual employment. The number of Directors linked to the Company by an employment contract may in no event exceed one third of the Directors in office.
Current Board of Directors
As of 31 December 2017 the Board of Directors consisted of: 2 executive members representing the management of the Company: Mr. Jiri Dedera and Mr. Erik Morgenstern and 1 independent member, Mr. Edward Hughes.
The current Board of Directors is appointed until the annual general meeting of 2018 concerning the approval of the annual accounts for the financial year ending 31 December 2017.
The independent directors are not involved in management, are not employees or advisors with a regular salary and do not give professional services such as external audit services or legal advice. Furthermore, they are not related persons or close relatives of any management member or majority shareholder of the Company.
The Board of Directors meetings are held as often as deemed necessary or appropriate. All members, and in particular the independent and non-executive members, are guided by the interests of the Company and its business, such interests including but not limited to the interests of the Company’s shareholders and employees.
Powers of the Board of Directors
The Board of Directors represents the shareholders and acts in the best interests of the Company. Each member, whatever his/her designation, represents the Company’s shareholders.
The Board of Directors is empowered to carry out all and any acts deemed necessary or useful to accomplish the corporate purpose of the Company. All matters that are not reserved for the general meeting of shareholders by law or by the Articles of Association are within its authority.
In its relationship with third parties, the Company is bound by acts exceeding its corporate purpose, unless it can prove that the third party knew such act exceeded the Company’s corporate purpose or should have known under the circumstances.
The Directors do not contract any personal obligation with regard to the commitments of the Company.
The Directors however remain responsible to the Company in accordance with common law as regards the due discharge of their duties as given and any faults committed during their period in office.
The Directors are jointly and severally liable, to the Company or to third parties if applicable, for all and any damages resulting from infractions to the provisions of the Luxembourg act of 10 August 1915 on commercial companies, as amended, or to the Articles of Association of the Company. They may only be granted discharge from such liability, with respect to infractions in which they have taken part, if no fault may be attributed to them and they have denounced such infractions before the next general meeting of shareholders as soon as they have become aware of such infractions.
The Board of Directors may only deliberate if a majority of its members are present or represented by proxy, which may be given in writing, by telegram, telex or fax. In cases of emergency the Directors may vote in writing, by telegram, telex, fax, electronic signature or by any other secured means.
The decisions of the Board of Directors must be made by majority vote; in case of a tie, the Chairman of the meeting shall have the deciding vote.
Resolutions signed unanimously by the members of the Board of Directors are as valid and enforceable as those taken at the time of a duly convened and held meeting of the Board.
The Board will regularly evaluate its performance and its relationship with the management.
Delegations of powers to Managing Directors
The Board of Directors may delegate all or part of its powers regarding the daily management as well as the representation of the Company with regard to such daily management to one or more Directors, who need not be shareholders. Actions in the daily management of the Company include all operations carried out in relation to the corporate purpose, such as real estate acquisitions, taking ownership interests and making loans to group companies, bank financing operations without limit as to their amount, as well as any kind of investment.
Any such delegation to a member of the Board of Directors is subject to the prior approval of the general meeting of shareholders, and any delegation must be filed with the Luxembourg Trade and Companies Register in accordance with the provisions of Article 9 of the Luxembourg act of 10 August 1915 on commercial companies, as amended.
The Board of Directors designates a Secretary, who is not required to be on the Board of Directors. The Secretary is in charge of convening the meetings of the Board of Directors, keeping the register of attendance and minutes and delivering requested copies or abstracts of the minutes.
In the event of the absence or impediment of the Managing Director, the Board of Directors will designate at the time of each meeting one of its members to act as Chairman of the meeting. Barring another agreement, the most senior Director will chair the meeting.
The Managing Director and Secretary are always eligible for re-election.
The general meeting of shareholders held on 24 May 2017 appointed Jiri Dedera as Managing Director (administrateur delegue) of the Company until the annual general meeting of shareholders concerning the approval of the annual accounts of the Company relating to the accounting year ending 31 December 2017.
Signatory powers within the Board of Directors
The Company may be validly bound either by the joint signatures of any two Directors or by the single signature of a Managing Director.
Special commitments in relation to the election of the members of the Board of Directors
The Company is not aware of commitments that are in effect as of the date of this report by any parties relating to the election of members of the Board of Directors.
Management of the Company
The management is entrusted with the day-to-day running of the Company and among other things to:
- be responsible for preparing complete, timely, reliable and accurate financial reports in accordance with the accounting standards and policies of the Company;
- submit an objective and comprehensible assessment of the company’s financial situation to the Board of Directors;
- regularly submit proposals to the Board of Directors concerning strategy definition;
- participate in the preparation of decisions to be taken by the Board of Directors;
- supply the Board of Directors with all information necessary for the discharge of its obligations in a timely fashion;
- set up internal controls (systems for the identification, assessment, management and monitoring of financial and other risks ), without prejudice to the Board’s monitoring role in this matter; and
- regularly account to the Board for the discharge of its responsibilities.
The members of the management meet on a regular basis to review the operating performance of the business lines and the containment of operating expenses.
As of 31 December 2017, the Company’s management consisted of the following members:
Jiri Dedera, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, previously appointed as Deputy CEO, joined the Company in January 2014. Jiri has also been a Director of the Company since 4 February 2013 and is a member of the Company’s Audit Committee and Remuneration Committee. Before joining the Company, Jiri was working for CPI Group as the Investment Director and before that for Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers in Czechia and in the United States. He graduated from the Technical University of Brno, Czechia.
Erik Morgenstern, Chief Financial Officer, has over 11 years of experience in various finance positions in the real estate sector, including Director of Accounting and IFRS and CFO. Prior to joining the Company Mr. Morgenstern worked for CPI PROPERTY GROUP. He graduated from the University of Economics Prague, Czechia.
Committees of the Board of Directors
As of 31 December 2017 the Board of Directors has the following committees:
- Audit Committee
- Remuneration, Appointment and Related Party Transaction Committee
The implementation of decisions taken by these committees enhances the Company’s transparency and corporate governance.
Independent and non-executive directors are a significant part of these committees.
Following the changes in the Board of Directors composition throughout 2015 and 2016 the Audit Committee is now comprised of one independent member of the Board of Directors, Edward Hughes (chairman) and one executive director, Jiri Dedera. Company’s CFO and Director, Erik Morgenstern also attends the Audit Committee meetings.
The Audit Committee reviews the Company’s accounting policies and the communication of financial information. In particular, the Audit Committee follows the auditing process, reviews and enhances the Company’s reporting procedures by business lines, reviews risk factors and risk control procedures, analyzes the Company’s group structure, assesses the work of external auditors, examines consolidated accounts, verifies the valuations of real estate assets, and audits reports.
The Audit Committee has therefore invited persons whose collaboration is deemed to be advantageous to assist it in its work and to attend its meetings.
Remuneration, Appointment and Related Party Transaction Committee
Following the changes in the Board of Directors composition throughout 2015 the Remuneration, Appointment and Related Party Transaction Committee (the “Remuneration Committee”) is now comprised of one independent member of the Board of Directors, Edward Hughes (chairman), and one executive director, Jiri Dedera. The Remuneration Committee presents proposals to the Board of Directors about remuneration and incentive programs to be offered to the management and the Directors of the Company. The Remuneration Committee also deals with related party transactions.
The role of the Remuneration Committee is among other things to submit proposals to the Board regarding the remuneration of executive managers, to define objective performance criteria respecting the policy fixed by the Company regarding the variable part of the remuneration of top management (including bonus and share allocations, share options or any other right to acquire shares) and that the remuneration of non-executive Directors remains proportional to their responsibilities and the time devoted to their functions.
Given the reduced size of the Board, there was no meeting of the Remuneration Committee in 2017.
Description of internal controls relative to financial information processing.
The Company has organized the management of internal control by defining control environment, identifying the main risks to which it is exposed together with the level of control of these risks, and strengthening the reliability of the financial reporting and communication process.
For the annual closure, the Company’s management fills an individual questionnaire so that any transactions they have carried out with the Company as “Related parties” can be identified.
The Audit Committee has a specific duty in terms of internal control; the role and activities of the Audit Committee are described in this Management Report.
Remuneration and benefits
Board of Directors
See Note 1 in the Consolidated financial statements.
Corporate Governance rules and regulations
In reference to the information required by paragraphs (a) to (k) of Article 11(1) of the Law of 19 May 2006 transposing Directive 2004/25/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 April 2004 on takeover bids, the Board of Directors states the following elements:
(a) The structure of the capital, including securities which are not admitted to trading on a regulated market in a Member State, where appropriate with an indication of the different classes of shares and, for each class of shares, the rights and obligations attaching to it and the percentage of total share capital that it represents:
The share capital of the Company is represented by only one class of shares carrying same rights.
The Company shares (ISIN LU0122624777) had been listed on the regulated market of Euronext Paris since 2000 and until their delisting as of 18 February 2016. Out of 1,314,507,629 Company shares the 314,507,629 Company shares (representing app. 23.9% of the total share capital) have been admitted to trading on the regulated market of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange on 15 October 2015. The 114,507,629 Company shares (representing app. 8.7% of the total share capital) have been admitted to trading on the regulated market of the Warsaw Stock Exchange.
(b) Any restrictions on the transfer of securities, such as limitations on the holding of securities or the need to obtain the approval of the company or other holders of securities, without prejudice to Article 46 of Directive 2001/34/EC:
There is no restriction on the transfer of securities of the Company as of 31 December 2017.
(c) Significant direct and indirect shareholdings (including indirect shareholdings through pyramid structures and cross-shareholdings) within the meaning of Article 85 of Directive 2001/34/EC:
To the best of the Company’s knowledge, the following table sets out information regarding the ownership of the Company’s shares as of 31 December 2017. The information collected is based on the notifications received by the Company from any shareholder crossing the thresholds of 2.5%, 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%, 33 1/3%, 50% and 66 2/3% of the aggregate voting rights in the Company.
|Shareholder||Number of shares||% of capital / voting rights|
CPI PROPERTY GROUP (directly and indirectly)
In 2013, the Company transferred 1 share to Edward Hughes for free and until he holds the Board function. In 2014, the Company transferred 1 share to Jiri Dedera for free and until he holds the Board function. In 2016, the Company transferred 1 share to Erik Morgenstern for free and until he holds the Board function.
(d) The holders of any securities with special control rights and a description of those rights:
None of the Company’s shareholders has voting rights different from any other holders of the Company’s shares.
On 8 June 2016 CPI Property Group’s fully owned subsidiary Nukasso Holdings Limited directly and indirectly acquired approximately 97.31% of shares in the Company. As a consequence, Nukasso Holdings Limited from the CPI Property Group became obliged to launch a mandatory takeover bid to purchase any and all of the ordinary shares of the Company (the “Mandatory Takeover Offer”). On 22 August 2016, the Czech Office for the Protection of Competition granted the merger clearance for the acquisition of the Company by CPI Property Group, whereas its decision became final and binding on 23 August 2016.
On 8 December 2017 the CSSF published press releases in which it stated, inter alia, that it has decided not to approve the offer document in the Mandatory Takeover Offer as a consequence of the existence of an undisclosed concert action with respect to the Company. On 15 March 2018 the CSSF published a press release informing that the decisions detailed in the above-mentioned CSSF press releases of 8 December 2017 have been challenged before the Luxembourg administrative courts.
As of the date of this report, the Company has not received any formal decision in relation to the Mandatory Takeover Offer.
(e) The system of control of any employee share scheme where the control rights are not exercised directly by the employees:
This is not applicable. The Company has no employee share scheme.
(f) Any restrictions on voting rights, such as limitation on the voting rights of holders of a given percentage or number of votes, deadlines for exercising voting rights, or systems whereby, with the Company's cooperation, the financial rights attaching to securities are separated from the holding of securities:
There is no restriction on voting rights.
(g)Any agreements between shareholders which are known to the company and may result in restrictions on the transfer of securities and/or voting rights within the meaning of Directive 2001/34/EC:
To the knowledge of the Company, no shareholder agreements have been entered by and between shareholders that are in effect as of the date of this report.
97.31% of shares in the Company are held directly and indirectly by subsidiaries of CPI PROPERTY GROUP.
(h) the rules governing the appointment and replacement of board members and the amendment of the articles of association:
See section Appointment of Directors of this report.
(i) the powers of board members, and in particular the power to issue or buy back shares:
See section Powers of the Board of Directors of this report and section Authorized capital not issued.
(j) any significant agreements to which the company is a party and which take effect, alter or terminate upon a change of control of the company following a takeover bid, and the effects thereof, except where their nature is such that their disclosure would be seriously prejudicial to the company; this exception shall not apply where the company is specifically obliged to disclose such information on the basis of other legal requirements:
Under the Securities Note and Summary dated 22 March 2007, with respect to the issue of the 2014 Warrants, the occurrence of a Change of Control (as described in Condition 126.96.36.199.2.1 of the Securities Note and Summary dated 22 March 2007) could result in a potential liability for the Company due to “Change of Control Compensation Amount”.
On 10 June 2016 the Company received a major shareholder notification stating, that NUKASSO (CYP) and CPI PROPERTY GROUP, which are ultimately held by Mr. Radovan Vitek, hold directly and indirectly 1 279 198 976 of the Company’s shares corresponding to 97.31% of voting rights as at 8 June 2016. Accordingly, the Company issued a Change of Control Notice notifying the holders of the 2014 Warrants that the Change of Control, as defined in the Securities Note and the Summary for the 2014 Warrants, occurred on 8 June 2016.
In accordance with the judgement of the Paris Commercial Court (the “Court”) pronounced on 26 October 2015 concerning the termination of the Company’s Safeguard Plan, liabilities that were admitted to the Safeguard, but are conditional or uncalled (such as uncalled bank guarantees, conditional claims of the holders of 2014 Warrants registered under ISIN code XS0290764728, provided that they were admitted to the Safeguard plan), will be paid according to their contractual terms. Pre-Safeguard liabilities that were not admitted to the Company’s Safeguard will be unenforceable. As such, only claims of holders of the 2014 Warrants, whose potential claims were admitted to the Company’s Safeguard Plan, could be considered in respect of the present Change of Control. Claims of holders of the 2014 Warrants that were not admitted to the Company’s Safeguard will be unenforceable against the Company.
To the knowledge of the Company, no other agreements have been entered by the Company.
(k) any agreements between the company and its board members or employees providing for compensation if they resign or are made redundant without valid reason or if their employment ceases because of a takeover bid:
As at 31 December 2017, there are no potential termination indemnity payments in place payable to the members of the Company's management in the event of termination of their contracts in excess of the compensation as required by the respective labour codes.
Legal form and share capital
ORCO PROPERTY GROUP is a public limited company (“société anonyme”) incorporated and existing under Luxembourg law. Its corporate capital, subscribed and fully paid-up capital of EUR 13,145,076.29 is represented by 1,314,507,629 shares without nominal value. The accounting par value price is EUR 0.01 per share.
Date of incorporation and termination
The Company was incorporated by deed drawn on 9 September 1993 by Maître Frank Baden, for an indeterminate period of time.
Jurisdiction and applicable laws
The Company exists under the Luxembourg Act of 10 August 1915 on commercial companies, as amended.
Object of business
As described in article 4 of the updated Articles of Association of the Company, its corporate purpose is the direct acquisition of real property, the holding of ownership interests and the making of loans to companies that form part of its group. Its activity may consist in carrying out investments in real estate, such as the purchase, sale, construction, valorization, management and rental of buildings, as well as in the promotion of real estate, whether on its own or through its branches.
It has as a further corporate purpose the holding of ownership interests, in any form whatsoever, in any commercial, industrial, financial or other Luxembourg or foreign companies, whether they are part of the group or not, the acquisition of all and any securities and rights by way of ownership, contribution, subscription, underwriting or purchase options, or negotiation, and in any other way, and in particular the acquisition of patents and licenses, their management and development, the granting to undertakings in which it holds a direct or indirect stake of all kinds of assistance, loans, advances or guarantees and finally all and any activities directly or indirectly relating to its corporate purpose. It may thus play a financial role or carry out a management activity in enterprises or companies it holds or owns.
The Company may likewise carry out all and any commercial, property, real estate and financial operations likely to relate directly or indirectly to the activities defined above and susceptible to promoting their fulfillment.
RCS Luxembourg B 44 996.
The Company’s financial year begins on the first day of January and ends on the thirty-first day of December.
Distribution of profits and payment of dividends
Each year, at least five per cent of the net corporate profits are set aside and allocated to a reserve. Such deduction ceases being mandatory when such reserve reaches ten per cent of the corporate capital, but will resume whenever such reserve falls below ten per cent. The general meeting of shareholders determines the allocation and distribution of the net corporate profits.
Payment of dividends:
The Board of Directors is entitled to pay advances on dividends when the legal conditions listed below are fulfilled:
- an accounting statement must be established which indicates that the available funds for the distribution are sufficient;
- the amount to be distributed may not exceed the amount of revenues since the end of the last accounting year for which the accounts have been approved, increased by the reported profits and by the deduction made on the available reserves for this purpose and decreased by the reported losses and by the sums allocated to reserves in accordance with any legal and statutory provision;
- the Board of Directors’ decision to distribute interim dividends can only be taken within two months after the date of the accounting statement described above;
- the distribution may not be determined less than six months after the closing date of the previous accounting year and before the approval of the annual accounts related to this accounting year;
- whenever a first interim dividend has been distributed, the decision to distribute a second one may only be taken at least three months after the decision to distribute the first one; and
- the statutory and independent auditor(s) in its (their) report to the Board of Directors confirm(s) the conditions listed above are fulfilled.
Under general Luxembourg law, the conditions for making advances on dividends are less stringent than the conditions listed above, however, the more restrictive provisions of the Company’s Articles of Association will prevail as the recent changes under Luxembourg law have not yet been reflected in the Articles of Association of the Company.
When an advance distribution exceeds the amount of dividend subsequently approved by the general meeting of shareholders, such advance payment is considered an advance on future dividends.
Exceeding a threshold
Any shareholder who crosses a threshold limit of 2.5%, 5%, 10%, 15%, 33 1/3%, 50% or 66 2/3% of the total of the voting rights must inform the Company, which is then obliged to inform the relevant controlling authorities. Any shareholder not complying with this obligation will lose his voting rights at the next general meeting of shareholders, and until proper major shareholding notification is made.
Documents on display
Copies of the following documents may be inspected at the registered office of the Company (tel : +352 26 47 67 1), 40 rue de la Vallée, L-2661 Luxembourg, on any weekday (excluding public holidays) during normal business hours:
1. Articles of Association of the Company;
2. Audited consolidated financial statements of the Company as of and for the years ended 31 December 2017, 2016, and 2015, prepared in accordance with IFRS adopted by the European Union;
The registration document(s) and most of the information mentioned are available on the Company’s website: www.orcogroup.com.
The registration document(s) is available on the website of Luxembourg Stock Exchange: www.bourse.lu.
KPMG Luxembourg are the external auditors of the Company. The appointment of KPMG expires at the end of the annual general meeting of shareholders to be convened in 2018 to approve the accounts for the financial year ended 31 December 2017.
Consolidated management report and the the stand-alone management report are presented under the form of a sole report.