2022 was yet another intensive year that demanded much from everyone at SHV. The diminishing impact of COVID-19 opened opportunities for the Groups to return to more normal ways of operating. Yet the Russian invasion of Ukraine came as a shock to us all and disrupted doing business even more.
The Supervisory Board of Directors (SBD) is fully aligned with the decision to put an immediate halt to new investments, new projects, and new exports in and to Russia. The SBD has remained in close contact with the Executive Board of Directors (EBD) to stay informed of the situation. It is good to see we have already taken significant steps to withdraw most activities from Russia and efforts continue for the few still in place. We appreciate the hard work put in by the EBD, the Mammoet and Nutreco management boards, and the Ethics & Compliance colleagues to make sure this process is executed without violating any contractual obligations, sanctions, or regulations.
On a happier note, we finally celebrated our 125th anniversary after our original plans were postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions. At inspiring events attended by SHV shareholders and colleagues, artists from different genders, cultures, and backgrounds gave performances inspired by the SHV values. There were also celebration events with Group management teams, the Functional Directors, as well as with external partners. SHV has a long and proud history and we all feel the responsibility to carry this into the future. A digital tour of our history is now available on the SHV website, with future developments to be added on a regular basis.
After almost two years of online meetings, we were happy that we could finally get together in person. During these meetings, discussions focused on the strategy of the different Groups, especially in light of the challenging geo-political situation and ensuing market circumstances. Other topics included the ongoing execution of Makro’s strategy; people; sustainability; safety; rolling forecasts; the performance management cycle; risk management; internal audits; and preserving liquidity and overall financial headroom. Major acquisitions and divestments were also high on the agenda, this year especially in relation to NPM Capital and Kiwa. In certain instances, there were additional calls to discuss specific subjects and projects.
SHV organised interesting company visits to two NPM Capital portfolio companies. After meeting Conclusion, which supports companies in their digital transformation, we were at the new state of the art, fully automated distribution centre at Picnic. And as the ‘new kid on the block’, Kiwa gave an extensive presentation detailing their activities and future strategy.
For the third year in a row, the Annual Shareholders’ Meeting took place online due to COVID-19 restrictions. Mr Rijkman Groenink officially retired from the SBD at the close of the AGM of April 8, 2022, in accordance with the Articles of Association of SHV Holdings N.V. We would like to sincerely thank Rijkman for his significant contribution to the Board over the last 15 years. His critical mind, valuable insights, and great support to SHV will be missed.
At the same meeting, Mr Karl Guha was appointed as a member of the SBD for a period of four years. Mr Guha is an experienced banker with wide-ranging international knowledge on numerous subjects. Mr Rob Frohn, Mr Philipp von Hammerstein-Loxten, Mr Manfred Mautner Markhof, and Mrs Marjan Oudeman were re-appointed as SBD members for the next four years, all having made excellent contributions to the meetings.
We also officially welcomed Mr Eelco Hoekstra as a member of the EBD, following the transfer of Mr Fulco van Lede to Nutreco as CEO.
Looking back on 2022, we are even more proud of SHV and our people. Operating environments have been more than difficult for a number of years, and we have been impressed by the determination, perseverance, and commitment to delivering results shown by all colleagues. The continued efforts of the EBD, Jeroen, Ricardo, Floris, and Eelco were essential to keeping everyone engaged and focused on the job and we sincerely thank them for that.
The difficult times are not over. The financial outcome of 2022 is not at the level it should be. Given the challenges faced by the Groups, the SBD is ensured that everything possible is being done to drive growth and create value in the coming years. With the support of the EBD and Group management, together with the continued dedication of our colleagues across the organisation, we can look with confidence at 2023 and beyond.
Utrecht, 9 March 2023
On behalf of the Supervisory Board of Directors,
A.M. Fentener van Vlissingen