The Combined Shareholders' Meeting chaired by Benoît Potier, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, in the presence of the members of the Board of Directors, was attended by 5,471 people on Wednesday, May 5, at the Palais des Congrès in Paris. The shareholders, representing 47.2% of the voting rights, i.e. 147,022 shareholders present or represented, approved all the proposed resolutions.
The proposed dividend of €2.25 per share, the same as for the previous fiscal year, was approved and will be distributed on May 17. Shares held in registered form continually from December 31, 2007 to May 17, 2010, the payment date of the dividend, will be granted a 10% bonus dividend of €0.22 per share. The free share issue will be allocated on May 28, 2010 in the ratio of one free share for every 15 shares held.
The Combined Shareholders' Meeting renewed the terms of office of Mrs. Béatrice Majnoni d'Intignano, Mr. Benoît Potier and Mr. Paul Skinner, and appointed Mr. Jean-Paul Agon, Chief Executive Officer of the L'Oréal Group, as director for a period of 4 years. The Board of Directors currently comprises 12 members, of various complementary experiences, nationalities and cultures, nine of whom are independent. The Combined Shareholders' Meeting also renewed the mandates of the statutory auditors of the Company for a period of six years.
At the meeting which was held following the Combined Shareholders' Meeting, the Board of Directors renewed the terms of office of Mr. Benoît Potier as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for the duration of his directorship. It took formal note of the termination of Mr. Benoît Potier’s employment contract, in accordance with the AFEP-MEDEF recommendations.
Commenting on the 2009 financial year and growth outlook, Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO, stated:
"The solidity of our fundamentals and the momentum that the Group has created in recent years, thanks to the strategic ALMA program, have enabled us to achieve a quality performance. This confirms the resilience of the Group's business model and its ability to adapt quickly, enabling it to maintain its course over time.
Air Liquide has unique entrepreneurial capital, which is not only human, but technological and also financial, fueled by a strong entrepreneurial spirit and based on the remarkable loyalty of its employees and shareholders. From these strengths and with the support of its shareholders, the Group is pursuing its growth and building the future."