Wallenius Wilhelmsen has a sound level of equity supporting its objectives, strategy and risk profile. As of 31 December 2018, the total equity amounted to USD 2 876 million, corresponding to 38.8%, up from 36.2% at the end of 2017. The liquidity position is considered good, with cash and cash equivalents of USD 484 million, and about USD 335 million in undrawn credit facilities. The group had total interest-bearing debt of USD 3 100 million at the end of 2018. Outstanding bonds were about USD 380 million with the remainder consisting of bank loans, export credit facilities and leasing commitments. The group was in compliance with all loan covenants at year-end 2018.
The Board of Directors is of the view that the capital structure of the Wallenius Wilhelmsen is appropriate to the company’s objectives, strategies and risk profile.
The Board of Directors have adopted the following dividend policy:
Wallenius Wilhelmsen ASA’s (‘WALWIL ASA’) objective is to provide shareholders with a competitive return over time through a combination of rising value for the WALWIL ASA share and dividend payments to the shareholders. The Board targets a dividend which over time shall constitute between 30% and 50% of the Company’s profit after tax. When deciding the size of the dividend, the Board will consider future capital requirements to ensure the implementation of its growth strategy as well as the need to ensure the Group’s financial standing remains warrantable at all times. Dividends will be declared in USD and paid out semi-annually.
As the Board of Directors wanted to see a further strengthening of the solidity of the group before declaring a dividend, there was no dividend pay-out for the financial year 2017.
The Board has decided to propose an ordinary dividend of 6 cents per share to the Annual General Meeting in April 2019.
The Board also proposes that the Annual General Meeting gives them authority to approve a second dividend payment of up to USD 6 cents per share for a period limited in time up to the annual general meeting in 2020, but no longer than to 30 June 2020. In total, the proposed dividend for 2018 is equivalent to up to USD 50 million.
The boards proposal is based on careful review of the group’s current solidity and liquidity position, future capital requirements and prospects. The proposal will also facilitate a semi-annual payment of dividend, in line with the company’s dividend policy.
Authorisations to the Board of Directors
At the AGM in 2018, the Board of Directors were granted an authorisation to acquire own shares with a total nominal value of up to NOK 22,001,456 which equals 10% of the current share capital. The authorisation can be used in connection with the Company’s long-term incentive scheme for the executive management, as well as to enable the acquisition of own shares as an alternative to dividends in order to be able to optimize the capital structure of the company. The authorisation is valid until the AGM in 2019, but no longer than 30 June 2019.
At the AGM in 2018, the Board of Directors was also granted an authorisation to increase the share capital by up to NOK 22,001,456, representing 10% of the issued share capital. The authorisation can be used in connection with acquisitions in return for shares and for general corporate purposes. The authorisation is valid until the AGM in 2019, but not longer than 30 June 2019.
Deviations from the code: The authorisations to the Board of Directors to acquire own shares and to increase the share capital cover more than one purpose. The Board of Directors is of the view that this gives them a flexibility to use the authorisations for one or several purposes, depending on the specific needs of the company.