The newly appointed Supervisory Board of Merck KGaA re-elected Wolfgang Büchele as its Chairman at its constitutive meeting directly following the 24th Annual General Meeting. Michael Fletterich was also confirmed as Vice Chairman, representing the employee side. Apart from Büchele and Fletterich, four further shareholder representatives were elected by shareholders at the Annual General Meeting in Frankfurt am Main. Moreover, two shareholder representatives were directly appointed by E. Merck KG. The eight employee representative members had already been elected on April 11. The Supervisory Board members are appointed for the period until the end of the Annual General Meeting 2024, which is to resolve on the approval of actions for fiscal 2023.
The new Supervisory Board of Merck KGaA consists of the following members: Dr. Wolfgang Büchele (Chairman), Michael Fletterich (Vice Chairman), Dr. Gabriele Eismann, Edeltraud Glänzer, Jürgen Glaser, Sascha Held, Michael Kleinemeier, Renate Koehler, Anne Lange, Peter Emanuel Merck, Dr. Dietmar Oeter, Dr. Christian Raabe, Helene von Roeder, Prof. Dr. Helga Rübsamen-Schaeff, Dr. Daniel Thelen, and Dr. Simon Thelen.
The term of office of the previous Supervisory Board members expired upon conclusion of the 2019 Annual General Meeting. In addition, the Annual General Meeting approved the actions of the Executive Board and the Supervisory Board of Merck KGaA for fiscal 2018 by a large majority and approved all of the resolutions on the agenda, including the proposed dividend of € 1.25 per share. Merck is thus maintaining the dividend at a stable level although earnings per share pre (EPS pre), which is decisive for the dividend to be paid, declined in 2018.
Around 1,000 shareholders took part in the Annual General Meeting. When the resolutions were voted on, around 86.5 million shares were represented, corresponding to 66.96 % of the approximately 129.2 million shares issued.
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Virtual Annual General Meeting planned for June
Due to the spread of the coronavirus (Sars-Cov-2), Bilfinger is planning to conduct its regular Annual General Meeting on June 24, 2020 as a virtual general meeting without the physical presence of shareholders. The protection of the health of employees, shareholders and service providers is given the highest priority.
The framework for holding a virtual Annual General Meeting is provided for by the regulations created by the German legislator for the year 2020 to mitigate the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Annual General Meeting shall only be accessible to shareholders who have registered in due time via the company’s website. By using a previously established online portal, these shareholders shall be able to observe the entire Annual General Meeting and to exercise their voting rights electronically (postal vote) or by granting a proxy. The online portal will in addition enable them to submit questions on agenda items up to two days prior to the Annual General Meeting.
Merck, a science and technology company, announced that it acquired the Oled patent portfolio for display applications from Konica Minolta Inc., a global technology company that provides innovative solutions to businesses and society. The acquired portfolio comprises over 700 patent families.
“Adding Konica Minolta’s patents to our already strong portfolio will further boost our Oled development pipeline”, said Kai Beckmann, Member of the Executive Board of Merck and CEO Performance Materials. “With this step we will further strengthen our power to drive innovations in the fast-growing market of Oled displays.”
For more than 15 years, Merck has conducted research and development in the Oled technology field, and, as a result, became one of the leading Oled material suppliers.
The acquisition of Konica Minolta’s Oled patents for display applications is effective immediately. Financial terms were not disclosed.
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Bilfinger to become a DFKI shareholder
Bilfinger, through its subsidiary Bilfinger Digital Next, is joining the group of shareholders of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). The DFKI is an industry-focused research institute in the field of innovative software technologies incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) and is considered one of the most important “Centers of Excellence” in the international scientific community. The purpose of the stake is to develop innovative solutions based on AI for the process industry. Bilfinger is the first industrial services provider in the DFKI shareholder group, which also includes companies like Google, Microsoft and SAP. Franz Braun, CEO of Bilfinger Digital Next: “Artificial intelligence technologies give companies in the process industry groundbreaking new opportunities to manage and maintain their plants with a greater degree of efficiency and effectiveness. Plant operators can generate substantial competitive advantages using AI. We want to demonstrate these possibilities to our customers and support them with future-oriented solutions based on the broad range of advantages delivered by artificial intelligence”.
Prof. Dr. Antonio Krüger, CEO and Chairman of the DFKI Management Board: “We are pleased to be taking the next step towards a lasting partnership on the basis of the success we have enjoyed in our joint project work to date. Bilfinger’s commitment attests to our cooperation and underscores the industrial relevance of the work DFKI researchers are doing. DFKI’s circle of shareholders will be strengthened by the addition of an ambitious industrial services provider, with whom we plan to continue implementing the results of AI research into products and solutions for the process industry”.
Bilfinger has been collaborating successfully with the DFKI for some time on the development of digital solutions for the process industry. Joint developments that have been launched on the market include PIDGraph, a software for the digitalization of plant documentation. Through the application of AI methods, the software is able to digitalize piping and instrument flow diagrams (P&I diagrams) that are only available in paper or PDF formats. The symbols, texts and lines of the diagrams are converted into a digital format with the help of neural networks trained to recognize patterns. The software records the corrections made by the user and thus continuously improves itself. The digital formats created by PIDGraph can be processed by any modern engineering and asset management system, thereby forming the basis for creating “digital twins” of industrial plants, for example. The digitalization of P&I diagrams is not only significantly cheaper with PIDGraph, but also much faster than conventional methods.
“The AI algorithms recognize the complex elements in the plant diagrams, analyze them, assign them semantically, making them readable for the computer. PIDGraph shows how mature AI methods can comprehend complex corporate knowledge and make it available for digital use,” says Prof. Dr. Andreas Dengel, who started the cooperation with Bilfinger and leads the research area Smart Data & Knowledge Services at the DFKI.