DT makes stable dividend payment
In his speech, René Obermann emphasized that the foundation has been laid for the future. The shareholders' meeting in Cologne's Lanxess Arena came to a close after more then nine hours. This marks the last time that René Obermann, who is leaving the company at the end of the year, will hold a speech as CEO of Deutsche Telekom at the company's shareholders' meeting.
"What we have achieved in the past few years is nothing less than making Deutsche Telekom competitive once again, both in Germany and abroad," said Obermann, taking stock on his time as CEO. Going forward, the Group wants to make considerable investments to be able to grow. "Unlike many competitors, we are actually increasing our capital expenditure to almost 30 billion euros in the next three years," said Obermann. "In 2014, we want to stabilize revenue in Germany, in Europe we expect income - adjusted for regulatory and exchange rate effects - to rise and we also anticipate growth in the United States."
"We are stepping on the gas!"
Another point in focus is the current discussion on differentiated fixed-line tariffs. "A great deal of populism" has made its way into the debate. "I will say it again: We want to operate the best networks, including in rural areas. We will continue to expand. And we will continue to offer flat rates," emphasized the Group CEO. Internet use will only be more expensive for a small percentage of users who consume many times more data than the average customer. "Faster for everyone, more expensive for a few - that is fair. So, once more to be perfectly clear, we are not limiting the speed - we are stepping on the gas!"
In the subsequent discussion, shareholder representatives gave Obermann a predominantly positive progress report. He "concentrated on the right points", said Lars Labryga, for instance, from Germany's Gerneral Credit Protection Agency for Captial Investors. And he was not the only one to go into the challenges DT overcame in the last few years; such as the business in the USA or the shrinking customer base in Germany.
DT "did everything right"
Shareholders also expressed their support for the transition of the position of Chief Executive Officer from René Obermann to Tim Höttges. DT "did everything right" in the switch, said Thomas Hechtfischer, from the Deutsche Schutzvereinigung für Wertpapierbesitz, one of Germany's oldest associations for private investors. Shareholder representatives were, however, critical of the company's prospects in markets outside Germany, for instance in the USA or in Greece.
Obermann used his "farewell speech" to give a "personal message". He promised to make "our company more competitive in all areas". That includes the improvement of the brand and service, tackling the major problems abroad, fighting for better conditions for investment and seeking out new opportunities for growth. "How you judge my work is, of course, up to you. I would only like to assure you that I will continue to fight for Deutsche Telekom to the full right up until my last day," said the DT CEO.
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