Mandarine Gestion rejects double voting rights

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French asset manager Mandarine Gestion has announced the firm will support resolutions at AGMs calling for the re-establishment of the “one share, one vote” principle at all companies held in its portfolios. The firm has defined its position as “clear and reasonable”.

Double voting rights in France have been expanded to all listed companies since 29 March 2014 and the adoption of the Florange law.

“However, the law leaves shareholders the right to maintain simple voting rights by amending the company’s bylaws,” Mandarine Gestion pointed out.

“Double voting rights could appear pertinent in certain cases. Certain commentators defend the stability in the shareholder structure, which would enable the implementation of long-term strategy in opposition to destabilising actions by shareholder activists.”

“However, in other cases, advocates of “one share, one vote” justify this system by arguing that it allows a more fluid market, thereby rejecting any anti-takeover measures,” the firm said.

According to Mandarine Gestion, by trying to impose double voting rights, the French legislators and government are “seeking to encourage durable investments in listed companies and consequently reward long-term shareholders.”

The firm argued that because the length of ownership of shares by investors has dropped significantly, “the Florange law should not lead to changes in short-term positions.”

“Additionally, the obligation to register shares under the nominative form represents an additional obstacle given administrative constraints,” the firm commented.

Adrien Paredes-Vanheule
Adrien Paredes-Vanheule is deputy editor and French-Speaking Europe Correspondent for InvestmentEurope, covering France, Belgium, Geneva and Monaco. Prior to joining InvestmentEurope, he spent almost five years writing for various publications in Monaco, primarily as a criminal and financial court reporter. Before that, he worked for newspapers and radio stations in France, in particular in Lyon.

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