Right of the shareholder to demand information
In order to assess his capital investment and to exercise his rights of co-management, the shareholder requires information about the Company. Therefore, the shareholder has the right to demand information about matters concerning the Company, and in particular legal and business issues. At the Annual General Meeting, each shareholder has the right to query the Board of Executive Directors. The questions have to relate to matters concerning the Company and have to be necessary for an objective assessment of a topic raised on the agenda. The right to demand information also extends to legal and commercial relationships of the Company to affiliated companies.
Under certain circumstances, the Board of Executive Directors has the right to refuse to give information. This applies e.g., if
- the provision of information could be disadvantageous to the Company,
- the Board of Executive Directors would make itself liable to prosecution by providing the information,
- the information was available on the website of the Company seven days before and during the Annual General Meeting.
If the information is refused, the shareholder can demand that this fact be recorded in the minutes and may enforce the information in court. Furthermore, if information is refused, the shareholder may have the right to appeal against the relevant resolution of the Annual General Meeting. The Stock Corporation Act does not permit the shareholders to inspect the books and documents of the Company; however, certain written information on the Company is published by means of publications in media, e.g. on the Internet page, in the Commercial Register and in the electronic Federal Gazette (Bundesanzeiger). Further information rights include the right to demand information concerning the equity interests held in public companies as well as the right to information on the organisation of the corporate management.