Home » Archive Industry News » Industry News 2021 » Industry News 04_2021 » RAG-Stiftung defies the pandemic – foundation model proves itself robust and capable of handling a crisis
Fig. 1. The foundation’s Board of Management reported on the previous financial year of 2020 and gave insights into ongoing developments (from left to right): Bärbel Bergerhoff-Wodopia, Bernd Tönjes (Chair) and Jürgen Rupp. Photo: Nikelowski

RAG-Stiftung defies the pandemic – foundation model proves itself robust and capable of handling a crisis

The year 2020, a year defined by the coronavirus pandemic, has been very successful for RAG-Stiftung, Essen/Germany, despite the resulting challenges. The Board of Management of the foundation communicated this on 9th June 2021 as part of the Annual Press Conference at the Zollverein World Heritage Site (Figure 1). At the end of 2020, the assets of RAG-Stiftung exceeded the 20 bn € mark for the first time.

“The foundation has passed another tough test with the coronavirus crisis,” claimed Bernd Tönjes, Chair of the Board of Management of RAG-Stiftung, at the press conference, and overall appeared very satisfied with the foundation’s business development in a challenging environment. “The foundation model has proven itself to be extremely robust and capable of handling a crisis, even under difficult conditions,” Tönjes pointed out. Despite the pandemic, we succeeded in keeping its effects on the foundation and its shares minimal. In only its second year, the foundation has also been able to reliably finance perpetual tasks from the German coal mining industry of RAG Aktiengesellschaft and, in parallel to this, has been able to increase its assets to more than 20 bn €.

In 2020, the foundation was able to achieve an annual profit of approximately. 859 M €. Even adjusted for the special effect from the sale of Evonik shares at the start of 2020, the annual profit still amounted to 324 M €. Chief Financial Officer Jürgen Rupp: “We worked just as hard and successfully in 2020 on further diversifying our assets. In total, we invested 1.4 bn € in our diversified capital investments in the past year.” The worldwide, widely diversified line-up of the capital investment portfolio has proved its worth. This allowed the foundation to participate in the economic upswings in Asia and the USA, even when the low point caused by the pandemic in Europe had not yet been reached. RAG-Stiftung is off to a promising start for 2021 as well. “Our capital investments continue to perform well. We will continue to use any investment opportunities that arise to further expand our portfolio. As an active capital market participant, we will, however, also make one or two disinvestments. Provided that the coronavirus situation does not get significantly worse, we are essentially expecting a normal second half of the year,” according to Rupp.

The foundation’s funding activities have also been effected by the pandemic. “It especially affects the youngest members of our society,” explained Bärbel Bergerhoff-Wodopia, Member of the Board of Management at RAG-Stiftung and responsible for the HR Department and the funding areas of education, science and culture. “We have therefore financed, i. e., a catch-up programme for primary school pupils who now need to catch up due to school closures – quickly and without complications. The feedback from teachers to date on the learning progress is very positive.” In addition, digitalisation has experienced a boost due to the pandemic. “We will therefore expand our digital offensive in the education sector in 2021. This focuses in particular on communicating the digital and media competence that is so important for children and young people,” says Bergerhoff-Wodopia. Funding activities in the cultural sector were also particularly badly affected by the effects of the pandemic. Here, the foundation developed solutions with the recipients of its funding, in order to lessen difficulties. One thing is for certain – RAG-Stiftung remains a reliable partner for the recipients of its funding. The total budget in the funding sector in 2021 remains the same as in the previous year, 27 M €. Since the foundation of RAG-Stiftung, over 140 M € have now been fed into the funding of education, science and culture.

To conclude, Tönjes emphasised: “The coronavirus pandemic in 2020 demonstrated the limits of our society. But it also sharpened our awareness of responsible behaviour.” RAG-Stiftung will continue to make its contribution to sustainably advancing the transformation of the previous mining regions in the future. As an example, Tönjes named the plans regarding the Colosseum in Essen, where, in the future, economics, science, education and research as well as small, young and medium-sized companies should grow together into an ecosystem for innovation and transformation. “Here at RAG-Stiftung, we have also set ourselves some ambitious targets for the future,” explains Tönjes. “Above all, we will also reliably bear the costs of post-mining and not burden the taxpayer. In a time in which everything has changed: You can still rely on the foundation!” (RAG-Stiftung/Si.)