The “buffet dividend”

By | 08/05/2015

The German business and investment magazine “Bilanz” has just published an interesting article on the food provided at this year’s annual general meetings of Germany’s largest publicly traded companies (members of DAX). As you know, an annual general meeting is the place for all shareholders of a company to meet with its executives and be informed about both past performance and future strategy. At such a meeting you as a shareholder can expect a “buffet dividend” or “natural dividend” (this is what the magazine calls it). The host company would typically provide plenty of food and drinks to get you into a good mood and ready for the presentation and discussion marathon.  There are even people that only go to such meetings because of the generous food catering. On the other hand the food provided also carries a message. So if your company is going to announce a major dividend cut or is just short of facing bankruptcy, you probably don’t want to serve French wine and Russian caviar. On the other hand you can be more generous if you have good numbers to announce and can look optimistically into the near future.

So if you want to know what was recently on the menu for German companies’ shareholders in 2015:

Henkel: Potato soup (800 liters of it!), fruit salad

Thyssen Krupp: 5000 sausages, 4000 croissants

Metro: 1100 portions of poulard breast, prime boiled beef with horseradish sauce, tortellini with ricotta filling

Tui: 400 halved rolls (well at least they were whole-grain) with salami and cheese

Daimler: 7000 portions of potato salad, 4500 Swabian pasta squares (Maultaschen)

Infineon: 2000 pretzels, pork goulash, vegan vegetable curry

Siemens: 1.3 tons (yes!) of ham, German meat loaf (Leberkäse), turkey, and 6000 portions of ice cream

Beiersdorf: 1500 cheese sticks, 500 fruit sticks

By the way – the German erotic accessories producer Beate Uhse is known for providing more than just food at its annual meetings. In the past they gave shareholders free G-strings, erotic card games or photo opportunities with scantily dressed ladies…

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