Aareal Bank: Activist investors like the hedge fund Petrus Advisers are increasing the pressure
Photo: Fredrik von Erichsen / dpa
The hedge fund Petrus Advisers has increased the pressure on Aareal Bank.
In a letter to supervisory board chief Marija Korsch (72) on Tuesday last week, which manager magazin has received, the investor takes the work of the supervisory body to the test: Its contribution to the strategy is "consistently negative".
Instead, the committee "cheekily stuffed the neck of the oversized executive board".
The total of 19 million euros that went to the executive committee in 2019 and which made up 13 percent of the institute's net income were a "robbery of the bank", a "great fall from grace" and "simply unethical" in view of the falling share price, write the investors and demand a complete waiver of bonuses for 2020.
This is the second attack in a few weeks.
In early November, Petrus Advisers wrote to bank boss Hermann Merkens (54) criticizing the high costs of the real estate financier, the oversized head office in Wiesbaden, the discouraged strategy and came to the conclusion: "A liquidation of the bank would be from the point of view of the capital market the best strategy to create positive value for shareholders. "
Activist investors like Petrus and Teleios are increasing the pressure
Petrus holds a good six percent in Aareal Bank.
The activist investor Teleios is also involved in the institute.
Under pressure from major shareholders, the bank sold almost a third of its IT subsidiary Aareon in the summer.
But that is not enough for Peter.
The investor is now apparently also tightening the tone because he was not satisfied with the reaction to the letter to Merkens.
The only answer is a reference to 350 to 370 million euros in cash that will be paid out to shareholders as soon as the European Central Bank allows it, according to the latest angry speech.
"This argument already shows that you have insufficiently understood the seriousness of the situation", write Petrus founder Klaus Umek (49) and his partner Till Hufnagel (45).
Because the capital reduction will by far not be enough to deliver a "sustainable after-tax return" of eight to ten percent.
A few days after the letter to Merkens at the beginning of November, he announced a three to four month break due to illness.
In his letter to the head of the supervisory board, Petrus therefore also demands that these alternatives for the successor of Merkens be examined.
Because one is concerned that a prolonged illness will further increase the management vacuum at the bank.
The list of demands also includes a downsizing of the management board and the supervisory board.
The control body should also reduce its costs.
At the end of the letter, Petrus openly calls for the head of the supervisory board to resign: "Clear the way for unused resources" with an "ethically justifiable" management approach.