The RAG-Stiftung in Essen/Germany enjoyed continued success in 2016 and is meticulously preparing for the phase-out of the German coal mining industry at the end of 2018. At the annual press conference on 30th May 2017 in Essen, the Board of Executives took stock of the first ten years of the RAG-Stiftung and made it clear that the foundation was also on course for future success.
On foundation, its assets amounted to 6 bn €. When the current Board (Figure 1) took office at the end of 2012, this figure had risen to 11 bn € and currently stands at almost 17 bn €. According to RAG-Stiftung Chairman Werner Müller, this equates to an annual increase in assets of around 9 % since the end of 2012 and is extremely pleasing, particularly against the background of persistent low interest rates.
The profit generated in 2016 was considerably higher than expected. A total of 393 m € was allocated to the provision for perpetual obligations. This is the highest annual profit since the foundation’s creation – apart from the surpluses in 2008 and 2013, in which a larger amount of Evonik shares were sold. The provision for perpetual obligations now stands at 4.84 bn € (4.45 bn € the previous year).
When the RAG-Stiftung begins paying for the perpetual obligations arising from the German coal mining industry as of 2019 for the first time, the foundation estimates this will cost around 220 m € per year. This is offset by an annual income from diversified capital investments amounting to twice the sum of these outgoings.
“It is still possible to earn money in a low-interest environment,” explained Chief Financial Officer Helmut Linssen. “We have been able to do so by adopting a global capital investment strategy and spreading our investments among different asset classes. Moreover, we profit from investment in illiquid assets with higher returns.” The RAG-Stiftung’s diversified capital investments have easily more than doubled since the current Board took office in December 2012: On average, over 700 m €/a were invested . “With well over a year until the German coal mining industry comes to an end, the RAG-Stiftung remains perfectly placed to fulfil the purpose for which it was set up, as of 2019,” emphasised Müller.
Head of Human Resources Bärbel Bergerhoff-Wodopia also spoke positively of the RAG-Stiftung’s selective funding and sponsorship activities: “Since the foundation began its work, we have distributed a total of 30 m € to mining regions for projects in the fields of education, science and culture. When you consider that RAG-Stiftung still had around 1.5 m € available for funding projects in 2012, it becomes clear how we have expanded this area of responsibility over the past few years.” In 2017, the foundation’s funding budget was 13.5 m €. “By funding these projects and focussing on promoting education, we are acknowledging our shared social responsibility for the mining regions in the Ruhr, in the Saarland and in Ibbenbüren,” explained Bergerhoff-Wodopia.
Launched in 2016 to mark the beginning of the phase-out of the German coal mining industry, the “Glückauf Zukunft!” initiative has now developed into an extraordinarily varied program. It was set up by the RAG-Stiftung together with RAG Aktiengesellschaft and Evonik AG, and in association with the German Trade Union for Mining, Chemicals and Energy (IG BCE). The aim of the “Glückauf Zukunft!” initiative is to give mining the send off it deserves and to provide fresh impetus for the future of these mining regions. A project schedule for the initiative will be presented in autumn 2017. (RAG-Stiftung/Si.)