The board has reviewed the actions taken to date, as well as the bank’s contingency plans which are designed to protect the wellbeing of its employees, customers and shareholders while ensuring that it continues to meet its obligations to all stakeholders.
In line with the recent decisions taken by the authorities in several Spanish regions to suspend teaching activity in centres of education, Santander has asked its employees in the corporate centres located in Madrid to work from home.
In view of the current situation and the outlook for the coming weeks, the board has concluded that the best way to ensure that shareholders can fully exercise their rights safely in the upcoming AGM, scheduled for 3rd April, is through participating remotely instead of attending in person, or voting in advance either themselves or through nominated proxies.
Madrid, 10 March 2020 - PRESS RELEASE
The Grupo Santander board of directors yesterday held an extraordinary meeting to review the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and the bank’s corresponding contingency plans, with the goal of preventing contagion and ensuring that the bank continues to serve its customers normally.
In line with the recent decisions made by the authorities in several Spanish regions, Santander has asked its employees in the corporate centres located in Madrid to work from home for the next 15 days. This measure follows the actions taken in recent weeks across the Group in all its markets, including the restriction of non-essential employee travel and meetings involving a large number of people.
Across the group we have been supporting more and more customers through digital channels. The board has also approved a series of measures to ensure Santander’s customers have adequate support, including providing SME customers with liquidity lines where appropriate to mitigate the impact on their activity should this be required. Each of Santander’s markets will provide measures tailored to the needs of their customers.
Furthermore, in view of the current situation and the outlook for the coming weeks, the board has approved a series of measures relating to the next Annual General Shareholders’ Meeting (AGM), scheduled for 3rd April. The board believes that, consistent with its recommendations for employees, the safest way to ensure all shareholders can exercise their rights in the upcoming AGM is through participating remotely instead of attending in person, or voting in advance either themselves of through nominated proxies. In previous years over 2,000 shareholders have attended the AGM in the Santander Exhibition and Conference Centre.
Spanish regulations and the bank’s by-laws and rules and regulations for the AGM already guarantee shareholders the right to participate in the meetings remotely, and to vote at AGMs without having to attend the meetings in person, using the online applications already provided by the bank. Santander is one of the few Spanish companies that has incorporated into its internal regulations the option for shareholders to attend shareholders’ meetings remotely; the level of remote participation has increased in recent years.
The board’s decision has been made having considered the practices followed by both multinational companies and international bodies such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Group Executive Chairman Ana Botín said: “The health of our employees, customers and shareholders is of utmost priority to us all, and in recent weeks we have taken a number of actions to protect their wellbeing, while also ensuring the bank continues to meet its obligations as normal.
“Given the ongoing evolution of the coronavirus outbreak, and in line with the recommendations of global and local health authorities and governments, we believe that the most prudent action is to ask our employees at our largest centres in Madrid to work from home at this stage.
“Furthermore, the board’s intention is that all our shareholders participate in the AGM of 3rd April remotely. We are, therefore, asking all our shareholders to plan their participation through remote channels and to contact the shareholder support line for any assistance required. This decision is consistent with our goal of protecting the wellbeing of our stakeholders while also ensuring that shareholders can continue to exercise their rights fully.
“Finally, on behalf of everyone at Santander, I would like to thank all those health professionals and carers across the world who are doing their utmost to tackle this crisis.”
Banco Santander has enabled the following specific measures to be taken in relation to the Ordinary General Meeting:
Furthermore, to ensure full participation of all shareholders in the AGM, additional measures will be taken for shareholders who do not have access to online facilities to allow them to participate in the AGM. These will be provided in locations within Santander’s branch network and will be confirmed by Santander Shareholder Relations in due course.
All the information related to Santander Annual Shareholders Meeting is available at www.santander.com. All shareholders can contact the Shareholders Relations team with any question related to the AGM.