10. Shareholders’ rights of participation
10.1 Restrictions of voting rights and representation
Each share that is entered in the share register entitles the shareholder to one vote. The voting rights may be exercised only after a shareholder has been registered in the Company’s share register as a shareholder with voting rights up to a specific qualifying day (record date) which is designated by the Board of Directors. On application, persons acquiring shares are entered in the share register as shareholders with voting rights without limitations, provided they expressly declare having acquired the shares in their own name and for their own account and that they comply with the disclosure requirement stipulated by the FMIA. Entry in the share register of registered shares with voting rights is subject to the approval of the Company.
Entry may be refused based on the grounds set forth in art. 7 para. 3, para. 4, para. 5 and para. 6 of the Articles of Association. The respective rules have been described in Section 2.5 “Limitations on transferability and nominee registrations” of this Corporate Governance Report. If the Company does not refuse to register the applicant acquirer as a shareholder with voting rights within 20 calendar days upon receipt of the application, the acquirer is deemed to be a shareholder with voting rights. Acquirers that are not eligible for registration are entered in the share register as shareholders without voting rights. The corresponding shares are considered as not represented in the General Meeting. A revocation of the statutory restrictions of voting rights requires the approval of a simple majority of votes cast, regardless of the number of shareholders present or shares represented. Abstentions and invalid votes do not count as votes cast.
The rights of shareholders to participate in General Meetings comply with legal requirements and the Articles of Association (https://www.sig.biz/investors/en/governance/articles-of-association). Every shareholder may personally participate in the General Meeting and cast his/her vote(s), or be represented by a proxy appointed in writing, who need not be a shareholder, or be represented by the independent proxy. Shareholders may issue their power of attorney and instructions to the independent proxy by post or electronically. The independent proxy is obliged to exercise the voting rights that are delegated to him/her by shareholders according to their instructions. Should he/she have received no instructions, he/she shall abstain from voting.
On an annual basis, the Annual General Meeting elects the independent proxy with the right of substitution. His/her term of office terminates at the conclusion of the next Annual General Meeting. Re-election is possible. Should the Company have no independent proxy, the Board of Directors shall appoint an independent proxy for the next Annual General Meeting.
10.2 Quorum requirements
Unless a qualified majority is stipulated by law or the Articles of Association, the General Meeting makes its decisions on the basis of the relative majority of valid votes cast, regardless of the number of shareholders present or shares represented. Abstentions and blank votes do not count as votes. Resolutions require the approval of a simple majority of votes represented.
10.3 Convening the Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting is convened by the Board of Directors or, if necessary, by the Company’s independent auditors. Extraordinary General Meetings may be held when deemed necessary by the Board of Directors or the Company’s auditors. Liquidators may also call a General Meeting. Furthermore, Extraordinary General Meetings must be convened if resolved at a General Meeting or upon written request by one or more shareholder(s) representing in aggregate at least 10% of the Company’s share capital registered with the commercial register.
General Meetings are convened by publication in the Swiss Official Gazette of Commerce at least 20 days prior to the date of the meeting. Such publication and letters of invitation must indicate the date, time and venue of the meeting, the items on the agenda, and the wording of any motions proposed by the Board of Directors or by shareholders who have requested the convention of a General Meeting or the inclusion of an item on the meeting’s agenda.
10.4 Inclusion of agenda items
The Board of Directors is responsible for specifying the agenda. Registered shareholders with voting rights individually or jointly representing at least 5% of the Company’s share capital or shares with a nominal value of at least CHF 1 million may request that an item be placed on the agenda of a General Meeting of the Company, provided they submit details thereof to the Company in writing at least 45 calendar days in advance of the shareholders’ meeting concerned.
10.5 Registration in the share register
Only shareholders who are registered in the share register as shareholders with voting rights on a specific qualifying day (record date) designated by the Board of Directors are entitled to attend a General Meeting and to exercise their voting rights. In the absence of a record date designated by the Board of Directors, the record date shall be ten days prior to the General Meeting.