Commerzbank has dismissed a request for two seats on its supervisory board made by Cerberus Capital, saying that it does not see “neither the necessity nor a basis” for change at board level, according to Reuters.
Responding to a letter dated June 9 from Cerberus that demanded two seats, cost cuts, and a shift in strategy, Commerzbank said it had no vacancies on its board, a person familiar with the situation told Activist Insight Online. The person added that an unwritten rule in Germany is that a shareholder should own 10% to receive one board seat, and also noted that all shareholder representatives had been elected with an overwhelming majority until 2023.
Still, the person said that Commerzbank board will listen to Cerberus’ ideas and carefully consider their implementation.
This has not discouraged Cerberus, which is said to be continuing with its campaign at the German lender, according to sources cited by Reuters.
Cerberus, the owner of a 5% stake in Commerzbank, lambasted the bank’s leadership for failing to implement “any significant operational, technology or management initiatives,” which the activist said led to a “precarious situation.”
The U.S.-based investor revealed it had presented a number of recommendations to Commerzbank before launching the public campaign, frustrated with the bank’s unresponsiveness. It also said that other investors would “be highly supportive of efforts to enact significant change,” a potential omen of a full-blown conflict.
Shares in Commerzbank traded down 0.7% at 4.13 euros apiece at 11:30 a.m. Central European Summer Time on Monday. The stock is down 60% since Cerberus unveiled its 5% stake in July 2017.