Check against delivery, Lucerne, 13.05.2008
- Mr. Chairman, esteemed shareholders of OC Oerlikon,
- I stand here before you as a current Vice President as well as a representative of Renova Group.
- Since last May, I have been serving on the Board of OC Oerlikon as its Vice Chairman. Over that period of time, I have had the chance to establish a good understanding of the company and appreciate its potential as well as to learn about the challenges it is facing.
- As a result of an in-depth analysis of the company, Renova Group has made the decision to increase its financial and personal commitment to Oerlikon. As announced recently, we expect our total shareholding to reach 39% over the next two weeks, and to become the largest shareholder of the company.
- Please take this as a testament to Renova's faith in OC Oerlikon. Renova' consolidation of shares in Oerlikon was intended to bring stability to the shareholder structure. As the anchor shareholder of the company, we will become a source of support to the management in implementing Oerlikon's ambitious growth program.
- Let me explain in a few points why we made the decision to take the lead in the company and to commit very significant capital to it.
- Firstly, we believe in the technological, innovational and management potential of OC Oerlikon. The company has what it takes to become the leading international player in the area of thin-film coating, vacuum machinery, and solar energy solutions. It already is in leading positions in textile and selected drive system and space applications. These leading positions have to be secured and improved. We must build on Oerlikon's success through selected acquisitions and business combinations which can improve the competitiveness and market strength of the company.
- Secondly, most of Oerlikon's businesses are very well positioned in relation to the major economic trends that we are witnessing at the moment. Dramatic increases in energy and base material prices once again have brought into the spotlight industrial and engineering companies that provide energy- and material- efficient solutions. We see that even traditional industries like oil and gas production as well as electricity generation are becoming more and more dependent on high-technology equipment. The same is true about "new" industries. Nanotechnology, one of Oerlikon's areas of expertise, is being used by a growing number of applications.
- Thirdly, we believe that a significant part of Oerlikon's value and potential is in its excellent management team as well as in its long-standing relationships with its customers. I would like to take this opportunity to express our support for Dr. Krueger and for the great team that was assembled over the last years to lead the company's successful industrial development. The new Board intends to provide for continuity of the best management practices inside the company.
- Fourthly, we consider Switzerland to be an ideal place for the location of research-and engineering-intensive companies. We established our presence in this country four years ago, and I would like to tell you that I personally have developed an admiration for the ability of the Swiss to manage complex situations - from governing a country with four national languages to creating efficient machinery and to managing companies constituted of hundreds of separate entities in dozens of countries around the globe. Swiss business culture certainly has what it takes to be competitive in the current fast-changing world. Orientation on details with constant focus on success combined with open-mindedness and the ability to reach fair compromises even in difficult situations are, in our view, key to success in modern business.
- Last, but not least, we see significant areas where our group's experience in creating industry leaders and our ability to align the interests of shareholders with management incentives can make a valuable contribution. To increase shareholder value at Oerlikon, we will encourage the company to look across industrial and regional boundaries. Already ambitious programs of expanding in the Asian and other new markets shall be continued. Our goal is also to introduce greater transparency and accountability to increase the appeal of the company to existing and potential shareholders.
- Also, we would ask you, our fellow shareholders, to support today the election of five highly qualified individuals to the Board of the company. All Board candidates presented to you today, those representing Renova and the three independents, have between them tens of years of experience in international business, finance and law. At the same time, four of the proposed candidates have started their carrier in Switzerland, and have deep appreciation of Swiss business.
- We are convinced that this Board, if elected, will be able to provide strategic guidance to the company and guarantee for the highest standards of corporate governance. Let me assure you that our Board will work for the benefit of all shareholders, and will also have in mind the interests of the company's employees.
- Oerlikon can look back on a long history of industrial innovation. We are proud to be part of this tradition-rich history. I have seen what Oerlikon and its employees are capable of. This team has made Oerlikon a strong force in its key sectors. I am fully committed to contribute, as I believe is everyone in this room. I invite everyone - shareholders and employees: let us together write the next page in the Swiss success story that is Oerlikon.
- Thank you for your support.