The Board of Executives of the RAG-Stiftung presented the figures for the 2019 business year on 4th June 2020 in Essen/Germany. Summary: The foundation model worked to its full extent and as expected in the first year in which financing for the perpetual obligations was to come from the German coal mining industry. The foundation remained on course even throughout the coronavirus crisis.
Bernd Tönjes, Chairman of the Board of Executives of the RAG-Stiftung, is pleased that “at 291 M €, we are slightly below the expected costs for the perpetual obligations of 300 M €.” The 2019 business year was also an extremely successful one on the whole, as the foundation’s Board of Executives reported at the Annual Press Conference at the Zollverein World Heritage Site (Figure 1). The foundation once again reported a new record profit of 474 M € (compared to 454 M € in the previous year). The foundation’s assets amounted to 18.7 bn € at the end of 2019.
The foundation got off to a good start in 2020 as well but then, like the economy as a whole, was struck by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Tönjes nevertheless underlined that: “The RAG-Stiftung is on a firm, crisis-proof footing, even in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. The effects on our capital investments were and remain manageable. The diversification of our portfolio is paying off right now.”
Jürgen Rupp, CFO of the RAG-Stiftung, was full of confidence: “The past year has proved that the foundation model works. This year has shown us that the foundation is on a firm footing, even in the midst of an economic crisis.” The foundation further increased its independence from Evonik AG in 2019 as well. While Evonik now represents just 44 % of the foundation’s total assets, 49 % of total revenues already result from other investments. In 2019, the foundation invested another 1.2 bn € and by April 2020 invested a further sum of over 650 M € in globally diversified asset classes. Rupp also emphasised the growth in hidden reserves (an increase of 690 M € in 2019), which means that the foundation is able to fulfil its obligations towards RAG Aktien-gesellschaft at all times. “At the same time, they enable us to monitor developments calmly, even in times of crisis, and take well-considered decisions for our portfolio,” states Rupp.
The Board of Executives of the foundation, by contrast, sees a major need for improvement with regard to the requirements from the German Commercial Code (HGB) for the financial reporting of long-term obligations. RAG and consequently the RAG-Stiftung are affected by a control and profit transfer agreement, which is why the chairman of the foundation is speaking out in favour of an arrangement with fixed interest rate and therefore greater calculability and improvement of the loss situation. This would help all companies recorded under the HGB in the current crisis too.
The foundation will in the meantime continue to prioritise funding for the education of children and young people who do not have equal opportunities. The foundation has since established some flagship projects along the entire education chain, reported Bärbel Bergerhoff-Wodopia, Member of the Board of Executives at the RAG-Stiftung and responsible for the HR department and the education, science and culture funding areas. “In total, by the end of 2020 we will have invested around 120 M € in funding projects since the foundation was established. With this money, we have been able to do a lot of good in former mining regions.” The coronavirus is meanwhile also posing particular challenges for many recipients of RAG-Stiftung funding. Bärbel Bergerhoff-Wodopia emphasised that, especially in times of crisis, RAG-Stiftung is here to support the recipients of its funding: “We are and will remain a reliable partner!” (RAG-Stiftung/Si.)