02.02.2021 - 00:00 Uhr

freenet Group announces further share buyback program and proposes total distribution of 1.65 euros per share

  • Share buyback program 2021 of up to EUR 135 million resolved
  • Special dividend of EUR 0.15 per share
  • Dividend of EUR 1.50 per share for 2020
  • Continuity on the Management Board

Büdelsdorf, 02 February 2021 – With the approval of the Supervisory Board, the Management Board of freenet AG [ISIN DE000A0Z2ZZ5] today decided to launch a share buyback program 2021. Within the scope of this share buyback program, up to 9.75 million shares of the company (corresponding to approx. 7.61 per cent of the share capital of EUR 128,061,016) are to be bought back via the stock exchange. The total volume of the share buyback program is up to EUR 135 million. The program is scheduled to begin on 25 February 2021 and will run until 31 December 2021 at the latest.

Thus, freenet AG is making use of the authorization granted by the Annual General Meeting on 27 May 2020, according to which up to 10 % of the company's share capital existing at the time of the resolution or, if this value is lower, at the time the authorization is exercised, may be repurchased until 26 May 2025. In the period from 1 September to 28 December 2020 the authorization has already been exercised and 2,956,232 freenet shares (around 2.31% of the share capital) were repurchased (share buyback program 2020).

At the Annual General Meeting on 27 May 2020, freenet shareholders had voted by a clear majority (94.74 percent) to suspend the dividend payment for the 2019 financial year (payable in 2020). As a result of the resolution passed at the Annual General Meeting, 1.61 euros per share (approximately 206 million euros) of the previously announced 1.65 euros per share (approximately 211 million euros) was withheld. The decisive factor was the unforeseeable impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the financial sector and the potentially challenging refinancing of two promissory note loans of around 700 million euros due within 12 months.

In the meantime, the freenet Group has been able to refinance at a favorable interest rate level and reduce any cluster risks from the financing, so that the reason for the dividend suspension has basically ceased to apply. With the announced share buyback program 2021 (volume: EUR 135.0 million) - in addition to the share buyback program 2020 (volume: EUR 51.4 million) - a further significant amount of the retained dividend for 2019 is therefore to be distributed to freenet shareholders retrospectively.

In total, distributions from share buybacks (both programs) could amount to an expected 186.4 million euros by 31 December 2021. The Management Board plans to distribute the remaining part of the dividend of approximately EUR 20 million retained in the previous year in the form of a special dividend of EUR 0.15 per share.

Furthermore, the Management Board intends to propose to the Annual General Meeting that a dividend of 1.50 euros per share be distributed for the 2020 financial year on the basis of the current state of knowledge for the 2020 financial year. In total, an amount of 1.65 euros per dividend-bearing share would thus be distributed to shareholders in 2021. In this respect, the Management Board, with the approval of the Supervisory Board, today resolved to submit a corresponding proposal for the use of net profits to the Annual General Meeting. With this proposal, the Executive Board is keeping its promise to base distributions on the Company's operating performance and situation and to allow shareholders to participate accordingly.

In addition, the Supervisory Board of freenet AG announces that it has extended the service agreements of Management Board members Antonius Fromme (Chief Customer Experience Officer) and Rickmann von Platen (Chief Commercial Officer), which expire in May 2021, by five years to 31 May 2026.

The appointment of Ingo Arnold, CFO of freenet AG, was also extended by five years to 31 December 2026. In addition, Ingo Arnold was appointed Deputy CEO of freenet AG with effect from 1 January 2021.



freenet Group

Investor Relations & ESG

Fon: +49 (0) 40 / 513 06 778

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