2010 posed major challenges for the Volkswagen Investor Relations team in view of the high volatility of the capital markets throughout much of the year. The biggest challenge was without doubt Volkswagen AG’s capital increase, which was successfully completed in April. With net issue proceeds of €4.1 billion, it was one of the most significant transactions of this kind in Europe and the largest in the automotive sector to date.
In the period from February to April, our investor relations work was driven by our many discussions with investors and analysts; these talks were directly and indirectly related to preparing and implementing the capital increase.
However, the Board of Management and the Investor Relations department also maintained close contact with capital market participants at all key financial centers worldwide in the other months of the year. We provided in-depth and detailed information about the Volkswagen Group’s strategy and business development at a total of around 600 roadshows, conferences, presentations and one-on-one discussions. In addition, our Investor Relations staff were available to answer questions from private shareholders at numerous events that were often organized in conjunction with shareholders’ associations. Investor Relations also provided extensive support for Group Treasury’s capital market activities.
The Group presented its results for 2009 at its Annual Media Conference in March 2010; the event was simultaneously broadcast on the Internet. Scheduled conference calls were held to explain the Volkswagen Group’s quarterly results in 2010, which were also broadcast on the Internet. We also promptly published all presentations given in connection with the events that were relevant for investors online at . Our website was even more popular in the past year than in 2009. We recorded a total of 2.7 million visitors – an increase of more than 50%. This again underlines the growing importance of the Internet as an information channel for investors.
Our investor relations work received several awards in the past year. For example, Volkswagen won the BIRD 2010 (Best Investor Relations Germany) in the DAX. We see this – together with Volkswagen’s extremely successful capital increase in the spring – as recognition of the quality of our work, but also as an incentive to continuously improve.
HIGHLIGHTS IN THE INVESTOR RELATIONS CALENDAR
The highlight of Volkswagen AG’s investor relations activities in 2010 was our capital increase, which took place in an extremely challenging and volatile capital market environment. We kicked off the year with an information event at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, London, on February 3, 2010. This was attended by more than 120 analysts and investors, and around 500 other interested parties took part via the Internet. The Chairman of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG, Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, and Chief Financial Officer Hans Dieter Pötsch gave a detailed presentation of the Group’s “Strategy 2018”, under which Volkswagen aims to achieve pole position in the global automotive industry in the long term. They also unveiled medium-term goals and explained the current status of the planned combination of Volkswagen and Porsche. After these presentations, many investors took the opportunity for one-on-one discussions with members of top management. The positive response to this event and the deeper understanding that it gave the capital markets of the Volkswagen Group’s business activities formed a strong basis for the placement of the new shares, which began several weeks later.
On March 10, a large number of analysts and investors accepted the Audi brand’s invitation to test new models in person in Ingolstadt. Members of the Board of Management and members of top management used this event to present the premium brand’s strategy. A day later, the Volkswagen Group’s Annual Investor Conference was held at the Autostadt in Wolfsburg. The Board of Management provided extensive information about fiscal year 2009 and gave an outlook for the Company and the industry.
We again explained the Volkswagen Group’s strategy for sustainable profitable growth at the German and Austrian Corporate Conference organized by Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt am Main on May 20 and 21, 2010. Topics included the Group’s expansion in the BRIC countries, its strategy for the US market, the increase in efficiency and flexibility in production thanks to its modular toolbox principle, as well as fuel-efficient and alternative drive technologies.
A week later, the Board of Management of Volkswagen Group China explained the Group’s Chinese strategy in detail to investors and analysts in Beijing. This event focused on the particular challenges posed by the Chinese growth market, the economic development of the Volkswagen Passenger Cars, Audi and Škoda brands that manufacture vehicles there, and the Company’s product strategy.
Another of the year’s highlights was the Volkswagen Group Night in the run-up to the Paris Motor Show on September 29, 2010, where a large number of investors and analysts also saw the Volkswagen Group’s new models being presented.