Investor Relations Week: Big Polluters Brace for Shareholder Rebellions, Drugmakers Protect Vaccine Intellectual Property, and ‘Culture War’ Hits Proxy Season


– Some of the world’s largest corporate investees face the prospect of a shareholder rebellion this month, with climate-related votes set to rise throughout the proxy season, CNBC reported. Oil and gas majors on both sides of the Atlantic are set to hold their general meetings in the coming weeks, with existing climate strategies to be voted on alongside a series of investor-led resolutions aimed at cutting emissions. Norway’s Equinor and Britain’s BP held their respective general meetings this week. UK-based Shell will hold its annual shareholders’ meeting on May 24 and the annual general meeting of TotalEnergies in France will take place on May 25.

– Investors have failed in their attempts to get Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna to share their vaccine intellectual property (IP) to expedite the distribution of Covid-19 jabs, the report reported. BBC. Drugmakers have said they are making doses faster than they can be used, but a third of the world’s population has still not received a single dose, the World Health Organization said. Only 24% of Moderna’s investors backed the company, which was undertaking a feasibility study on transferring intellectual property and technical know-how to manufacturers in low- and middle-income countries. Only 27.3% of Pfizer shareholders backed a similar motion. The proposal also fell through at Johnson & Johnson, although no figures have yet been released.

– The so-called “culture war” has spilled over into proxy season, according to USA today. At Wells Fargo’s annual meeting in April, a conservative activist presented a shareholder proposal that would force the bank to disclose more information about its charitable donations and warned corporate executives against engage in the kind of LGBTQ advocacy that prompted Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to repeal Walt Disney’s special tax privileges days earlier. Wells Fargo shareholders largely rejected the measure, but that hasn’t stopped conservative activists. Two groups — the National Legal and Policy Center and the National Center for Public Policy Research — are making regular appearances this season by proxy.

– Nearly half of the top lawyers named to the 500 largest companies in the United States in 2021 were women, a sign of some progress in diversity in the legal departments of large companies, according to a Reuters (paywall) research report by Russell Reynolds Associates. Fifty-nine Fortune 500 companies appointed new general counsel last year — and 29 of them were women. That 49% figure topped the 42% of the total Fortune 500 general counsel appointees in 2020 who were women. The growing focus on social and racial justice, as well as increased turnover in the ranks of general counsel due to Covid-19 may have spurred the increase in diversity since 2020, according to the report.

– Elon Musk has been investigated by US regulators over his alleged late public disclosure of his notable Twitter stake, The Wall Street Journal (paywall) reported, citing insiders. The world’s richest man disclosed a 9.2% stake in the social media platform, worth nearly $3 billion, to the SEC on April 4, a delay of at least 10 days since exceeding the mandatory threshold of 5% to reveal a participation. Musk’s filing also called his participation passive, suggesting the multi-billionaire had no plans to take over Twitter or influence its management or operations. Musk, 50, today said his $44 billion bid to make Twitter private was “temporarily on hold” due to spam and fake user accounts at the company.

– A UK Treasury official says rules may be needed to end the risk of green money laundering resulting from “totally unregulated” ESG ratings used to invest in sustainable assets, Reuters reported. Adam Lyons, head of the department’s green finance unit, said greenwashing, or unsubstantiated claims about companies’ ESG credentials, was a serious problem in financial markets. The department will work this year with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and assessors to understand the issues affecting the sector and whether it should be brought into the regulatory fold, Lyons said. The FCA said last year that ESG ratings needed stricter oversight.

the FinancialTimes (paywall) reported that Europe’s largest private equity group, CVC Capital Partners, stalled its IPO plans in the first half of this year as market turmoil prevented a multi-billion dollar IPO. euros he had hoped to achieve in June. The buyout group has told analysts it expects its IPO, “a historic change for a secretive company that has been in private hands for three decades,” to take place this fall or early 2023. Less than $3 billion has been raised in traditional IPOs in Europe. so far this year, up from $32.7 billion in the same period last year, according to Dealogic.

– CEMEX has expanded its executive compensation link with climate action to include more leadership positions worldwide, reported Agg Net. The UK concrete producer has announced that its variable executive pay scheme, which includes progress towards the company’s ambitious carbon reduction targets as a variable, will be extended to cover more than 4,500 executives globally. Starting this year, the CO2 emissions component will have an impact ranging from -10% to +10% on the total cash payment of the annual variable remuneration of the executives. The initiative is part of the company’s Future in Action program, which focuses on reducing the carbon footprint of CEMEX’s operations and products to become a zero-carbon company by 2050.

– AlphaSense, the New York-based market intelligence and research platform, announced its acquisition of Sentieo, a financial intelligence platform designed for the investment management industry. Sentieo will operate under its current management as a wholly owned subsidiary of AlphaSense and customers of both companies will continue to receive the same products and services as before, AlphaSense said. “Over time, each will be supplemented with additional features and content based on the companies’ collective capabilities,” AlphaSense said. “The acquisition allows AlphaSense to further accelerate product development by leveraging the combined strengths of two of the industry’s most innovative development teams.”

– “One of the biggest challenges for corporate issuers is to acutely and strategically control their own ESG narrative,” said Adam Frederick, Global President of Morrow Sodali, when asked about the challenges. for shareholder engagement in 2022. Frederick spoke after the New York-headquartered business advisory firm announced on April 26 that TPG Growth, the midmarket and growth capital platform of the alternative assets company TPG, had acquired a majority stake in the company. “Our partnership with TPG enables us to make immense capital investments in talent, resources and technology, driving innovation and further professionalizing our real-time capital markets information, debt services, our data-driven analytics, ESG advice and technology solutions.”


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