Responsible and transparent corporate governance geared towards creating sustainable value added has always been a main foundation of HHLA’s commercial success. HHLA therefore expressly supports the German Corporate Governance Code (hereinafter referred to as “the Code” or “GCGC”) and the objectives that it pursues. The Executive Board and Supervisory Board once again carefully studied the recommendations and suggestions of the Code in the 2021 financial year and submitted their annual declaration of compliance in accordance with Section 161 AktG on 13 December 2021. This confirms that the corporate governance and culture of HHLA and the Group comply with the recommendations and most of the suggestions contained in the Code, with the exceptions outlined below.
The current declaration of compliance – as well as those of previous years – is available at www.hhla.de/corporategovernance and reads as follows:
“The Executive Board and Supervisory Board of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG hereby state after due examination that in the period starting 11 December 2020 (the date on which the previous declaration of compliance was issued), HHLA complied with the recommendations of the German Corporate Governance Code (“the Code” or “GCGC”) in the version dated 16 December 2019 with the following exceptions. Furthermore, HHLA shall comply with the Code in the future with the following exceptions:
- Not all the members of the Executive Board and Supervisory Board currently comply with the limits on mandates as defined in recommendations C.4 and C.5 GCGC. When selecting candidates for the Executive Board and Supervisory Board, the Supervisory Board and the Nomination Committee have always taken care to ensure that the individuals concerned have enough time to fulfil their commitments. This generally also means that they comply with the limits on mandates defined in recommendations C.4 and C.5. However, the Supervisory Board believes that the question of whether a member has sufficient time for their commitments must be answered according to the circumstances of the individual case. The number of mandates may be an indication, but should not be the only criterion, particularly since there may be added value for HHLA when its Board members hold other external mandates. The Supervisory Board therefore believes it is reasonable if members of the Supervisory Board or Executive Board exceed these limits in individual cases.
- With regard to the structure of Executive Board remuneration, the Code recommends, among other things, that the performance criteria for the variable remuneration components should be based primarily on strategic objectives and that the variable remuneration should consist of short- and long-term components, whereby variable remuneration resulting from the achievement of long-term targets should exceed the share of short-term goals (G.1 second indent, G. 6 and G. 7). The long-term variable remuneration granted to each Executive Board member should largely be invested in company shares or otherwise based on the share price. The Executive Board member should only be able to access the long-term variable remuneration after four years (G.10). It is possible to withhold or claw back the variable remuneration in justified cases (G.11 sentence 2). If the service contract with an Executive Board member comes to an end, outstanding variable remuneration components for the period until the contract ends should be paid according to the originally agreed targets and comparative parameters and on the dates or after the holding periods defined in the contract (G.12). The remuneration system for the Executive Board of HHLA only complies with these recommendations to a limited degree. The variable remuneration for the HHLA Executive Board is essentially based on the achievement of certain key figures or targets – in particular, EBIT, ROCE and other ESG targets – for a three-year average comprising the current and the two previous financial years and does not therefore stipulate any subdivision into short-term and long-term components. There are no plans for share-based components, holding periods or withholding and clawback rights. The Supervisory Board is of the opinion that the variable remuneration of the HHLA Executive Board in its current form is already sufficiently geared towards the company’s long-term performance. If any severance payment is made when a contract comes to a premature end, it is generally paid at the departure date. This enables a clear distinction to be made and avoids later arguments. The Annual General Meeting of 10 June 2021 approved the remuneration system for the Executive Board with a large majority (95.8 % of the votes).
- According to recommendation G.3, the Supervisory Board should use a suitable peer group of other companies, whose composition it discloses, in order to assess the customary nature of actual total remuneration of Executive Board members compared to other companies. The peer group is expected to be disclosed for the first time in the remuneration report to be prepared in accordance with Section 162 AktG in the run-up to the Annual General Meeting 2022.
Hamburg, 13 December 2021
Hamburger Hafen und Logistik Aktiengesellschaft
The Executive Board
The Supervisory Board”
Production value – intermediate inputs (cost of materials, depreciation and amortisation, and other operating expenses); the value added generated is shared between the HHLA Group’s stakeholders, such as employees, shareholders, lenders and the local community.
Earnings before interest and taxes.
EBIT / Average operating assets.