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SHAREHOLDERS’ LETTER N°50

BIC Group’s Shareholders' Letter of April 2020

Gonzalve Bich

Clichy, France – April 15, 2020

Dear Shareholders,

 

In light of the rapid escalation of the COVID-19 epidemic and the unprecedented trading environment, and resulting sanitary crisis, the health and safety of all our stakeholders remains our absolute priority. Everywhere, we have implemented policies to help prevent the spread of the virus, and are following all the local government regulations strictly.

A dedicated team, comprised of all team members from all key functions of our organization, monitors the overall situation on a daily basis.

To date, we have had to halt operations in several countries. Team members at many of our offices worldwide are working remotely. At sites that remain open, we have applied social distancing and enhanced cleaning conditions to help protect and support our team members, notably our team members working in production and warehousing environments.

From a commercial standpoint, we have implemented plans to respond to market fluctuations. We are working closely with our customers and suppliers to meet consumer needs. Our collective goal is to minimize disruption and maintain commercial activity as much as possible. Our responsibility is to ensure access to everyday products for consumers everywhere.

We are working closely with all our business partners to leverage our integrated model, omnichannel distribution network, and strong balance sheet to lessen the long-term operational and financial impact of the epidemic.

Although it is too early to assess the full impact of this outbreak, we have announced on March 23rd, 2020, our decision to suspend our 2020 outlook until further notice.

Given the uncertainty of the magnitude and duration of the crisis, the Board of Directors has also decided to reallocate the Group’s cash flow, first suspending BIC’s share buyback program, and second lowering the proposed dividend to 2.45 euros, as compared to 3.45 euros initially proposed.

Our financial situation remains solid and access to liquidity secured, this decision is aimed at protecting our on-going operations and strengthening our competitive positions.

The dividend will be proposed for vote at the Company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on May 20th, 2020. To preserve the health and safety of the AGM attendants and comply with current exceptional regulations, the conditions of shareholder attendance will be adapted. The meeting will be held behind closed doors, without shareholders physically present.

As it is our responsibility to maintain best-in-class governance and shareholder engagement, we strongly encourage shareholders to vote by post, or online ahead of the AGM, or to give a proxy vote to the Chairman. We will also provide the opportunity to our shareholders to ask questions before the AGM via our website.

We invite you to regularly check our website (www.bicworld.com) to access the latest information on our AGM organization.

The COVID-19 crisis is a new challenge for all of us. However, I am convinced that we have, together with all our stakeholders, the resources to weather this crisis and emerge collectively strengthened from this experience.

Thank you for your trust and engagement

  

Gonzalve Bich, Chief Executive Officer

 

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