Thunderous applause and exceedingly high level of approval
Even with our shareholders, football is currentlythetopic of conversation: With Borussia Dortmund topping the Bundesliga table, the atmosphere at Monday's Annual General Meeting was upbeat. Hans-Joachim Watzke (CEO) and Thomas Treß (Managing Director) were met with thunderous applause as they addressed the AGM. Borussia Dortmund, Germany's only listed football club, will once again distribute a dividend to its shareholders this year.
"It's a great moment, standing here before you, knowing we're currently number one in the Bundesliga. But if you know, as I do, how quickly things can change in football, then remaining grounded is an appropriate and important cue", stressed Hans-Joachim Watzke at the Annual General Meeting of Borussia Dortmund GmbH & Co. KGaA held at Dortmund's Westfalenhallen convention centre. "Now we have to remain focussed and maintain the necessary level of sharpness!", Watzke continued.
In particular, he praised the new manager Lucien Favre and his team in front of the more than 1,000 shareholders (some 65% of the registered share capital was represented at the AGM). When Lucien Farve, captain Marco Reus, left defender Marcel Schmelzer and veteran Łukasz Piszczek joined the meeting at 11:17 a.m., they were met with a thunderous standing ovation.
Despite the club's excellent run so far this season, Watzke did not neglect to reflect on the unsatisfactory results of the previous season and to focus on the lessons learnt: "At the end of the last season we welcomed two absolute experts in Sebastian Kehl as Head of the Professional Squad and Matthias Sammer as an external advisor, both of whom will help us to forge ahead thanks to their constructive, sometimes controversial, criticism and ideas, along with their unfailing energy and love of the game. Each of us has dialled his ego back a bit. That, too, is certainly one reason why things are going so well for us."
BVB was "staffed for the future", said Watzke. "Nobody has to worry about turmoil. We have so many young, dynamic and gifted individuals that there will never be a vacuum", said Watzke, touching on the strategy for the future: "Together with the consulting firm McKinsey we have developed a growth strategy, the stated objective of which is for us to generate revenue of EUR 500 million (excluding transfers) by 2025. You all are welcome to watch us do this. Sponsorships, internationalisation and digitalisation are to be the driving forces. There's currently a huge interest in Borussia Dortmund again as far as sponsorships are concerned."
In the quest for economic excellence, however, Watzke cautioned against losing sight of the fundamentals. "We have to be keenly aware of when we've reached the limits of commercialisation and then ease the foot off the gas", he stated. He was expressly against raising ticket prices by more than the rate of inflation and underscored the club's importance for society at large. Just the day before at the Members' Meeting, BVB had taken a clear stance against racism, discrimination and intolerance. Borussia Dortmund's plans to build a fan relations office near Signal Iduna Park in order to further strengthen communications with its fans was also met with great approval by the shareholders.
Managing director Thomas Treß then ran through the figures previously presented in August: the club's highest ever revenue at EUR 536.0 million (previous year: EUR 405.7 million), consolidated profit of EUR 28.5 million (previous year: EUR 8.2 million), and a consolidated operating result before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of EUR 126.6 million (previous year: EUR 74.0 million). All this documents how well-positioned Borussia Dortmund is financially. Treß reported that transfers deals had accounted for 41.5% of revenue during the financial year and that cash flows from operating activities had amounted to EUR 158.36 million, approximately EUR 47 million more than in the previous year.
Treß stated that the net asset value of Borussia Dortmund GmbH & Co. KGaA was "conservatively estimated to be EUR 1.1 billion". Even an analysis conducted by KPMG also put "the value between EUR 1 billion and EUR 1.1 billion". This corresponded to a share price of EUR 11.96. "We're not there yet", said Treß, "but you will all have noticed that our share price has more than quadrupled since 2005 and has risen by 40% since the previous Annual General Meeting alone. We continue to be on a strong course for growth!"
BVB is distributing a dividend of EUR 0.06 per share to its shareholders for the 2017/18 financial year (total distribution of EUR 5.5 million). The actions of the general partner and of the Supervisory Board were ratified by an overwhelming majority of 99.97%. (sf)
Voting results here.
The speech of Hans-Joachim Watzke (German Version)
The speech of Thomas Treß (German Version)