Roche raises dividend by 36 percent
Annual General Meeting approves Annual Report and financial statements for 2006 and appoints Pius Baschera and Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer to Board of Directors
Roche’s Annual General Meeting, which was held today in Basel, has approved all the Board of Directors’ proposals. The 680 shareholders in attendance, representing 137,557,426 or 85.97% of a total of 160,000,000 bearer shares, approved the 2006 Annual Report and financial statements. They also authorised a 36% increase in the gross dividend to 3.40 Swiss francs per share and non-voting equity, the twentieth dividend increase in as many years. Pius Baschera, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hilti Corporation, and Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Executive Board of the leading central European oil and gas Group OMV, were appointed to the Board of Directors.
In his address to shareholders, Chairman and CEO Franz B. Humer summed up the year as follows: “We have maintained the strong business trend of recent years and achieved another extraordinarily good result - indeed the best in our company’s 110-year history. Roche’s sustained business success and scientific achievements put us in the advantageous position, compared to many of our competitors, of being able to address the challenges and opportunities of the healthcare market from a position of strength.”
Dr Humer also commented on controversial issues. Speaking about remuneration for the Corporate Executive Committee and Board of Directors , he said that Roche had first published open and transparent figures on the subject in its 2002 Annual Report. “This year’s Annual Report contains a separate chapter that provides a detailed and comprehensive breakdown of the amounts paid to all members of the Board and Executive Committee. The information disclosed in this chapter goes beyond the new requirements of the Code of Obligations. Executive Committee and top management remuneration at Roche is geared to clearly defined performance criteria.”
In his speech Arthur D. Levinson, Ph.D., Genentech’s chairman and chief executive officer, underlined the unique relationship between Roche and Genentech. He pointed out that Roche and Genentech have a true collaboration across different areas including R&D and manufacturing, where the strengths of both companies are maximized. “Since Genentech’s founding more than 30 years ago, science and innovation have been the driving force, and an important area of differentiation, behind our efforts to help patients with serious medical diseases” commented Arthur D. Levinson further. “Building on this commitment, in 2006 alone, Genentech received eight FDA approvals. During the past year, we focused on building our product portfolio, a key to our growth, adding seven new molecular entities to the development pipeline and receiving positive data from four Phase II clinical trials in oncology and immunology. In 2007 and beyond, we plan to continue to create value through excellent science, planning and investing for the long term, disciplined execution against our goals, and a passionate commitment to patients and our employees.”
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world’s leading research-focused healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. As the global leader in biotechnology, Roche contributes on a broad range of fronts to improving people’s health and quality of life by supplying innovative products and services for the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Roche is the world leader in diagnostics, the leading supplier of drugs for cancer and transplantation and a market leader in virology. It is also engaged in other important therapeutic areas including autoimmune, inflammatory and metabolic disease and diseases of the central nervous system. In 2006 sales by the Pharmaceuticals Division totalled 33.3 billion Swiss francs, and the Diagnostics Division posted sales of 8.7 billion Swiss francs. Roche employs roughly 75,000 people worldwide and has R&D agreements and strategic alliances with numerous partners, including majority ownership interests in Genentech and Chugai. Additional information about the Roche Group is available on the Internet at www.roche.com.
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