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voestalpine: High tension before the Annual General Meeting

voestalpine: High tension before the Annual General Meeting
voestalpine: High tension before the Annual General Meeting

voestalpine: Accounting scandal will be a major topic at the Annual General Meeting (Werk/Fotostudio Eder)
Meinhard Lukas
Florian Beckermann, Association for Investors

The meeting, which starts at 10 a.m. and is traditionally well attended by hundreds of small shareholders, is likely to be controversial, not only because of the sharply reduced profits due to goodwill write-downs, but above all because of alleged balance sheet embellishment. The OÖNachrichten reported exclusively on this at the beginning of June.

A former manager and an accountant from a German subsidiary are said to have embellished the balance sheet for a good ten years. The accounting errors amount to around 100 million euros. The equity has already been reduced by this amount to 7.5 billion euros. Internal investigations into the background are ongoing and could last until August or September.

As is well known, voestalpine did not derive any immediate obligation to inform shareholders from the events that became known to internal controlling in February 2024. There was no ad hoc announcement in this regard. The Financial Market Authority has therefore initiated a special investigation into the balance sheet embellishment.

Debate about ad hoc obligation

Linz lawyer Meinhard Lukas comes to the conclusion “after extensive discussions with capital market law experts” that there was actually no ad hoc obligation. In an interview with OÖNachrichten, he explains this as follows: Firstly, incidents must have the potential to cause “significant price movements” in the share. According to Lukas, they did not have this, as the alleged incorrect bookings did not occur in the parent company (with 16.7 billion euros in sales in 2023/24), but in one of hundreds of subsidiaries. Here, the proportions are relevant for influencing the price, the 100 million euros over ten years is a small lever.

Meinhard Lukas
Image: VOLKER WEIHBOLD

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Meinhard Lukas
Image: VOLKER WEIHBOLD

Source: Nachrichten

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