Mr. Chairman, thank you very much.
My name is Charles Kidd and I have worked for Sika for over 34 years. I began in Canada, I moved to Egypt, then Singapore and Indonesia. Most recently I have taken up the General Managers position with Sika Japan. Now, some people may say that 34 years in a company is sort of the exception to the rule, but strangely enough the spirit of Sika ensures that many of our employees have been with this company for more than 10, 15, 20 and some even more than 30 years. So I feel compelled that I cannot stand up here on my own and speak to you with the voice of only one. I feel compelled to invite my fellow friends and compatriots from the management team to join me in a show of solidarity for the message I have to make. Ladies and gentlemen please, senior managers, please join me.
(Senior managers go on stage)
These, ladies and gentlemen, are the people that drive this business. Come on up here. So when I speak, I speak for all Senior Managers. I can tell you that we (the Senior Managers) hold the responsibility - the management responsibility - for the regions, for all areas, and for all individual countries. We also have up here managers from functional teams such as human resources, finance, and operations. When we look at the number of years this group has, on average over 20 years of experience working for Sika; this is what makes this company so great! This is the team that has not deserted.
We could have gone and run but like we say in the Sika Spirit, we planted our feet and faced the challenge; as we have for years and years, not just recently, but for years. So, we may rightfully claim, this group is the heart of Sika. We pump the blood through the veins, as our chairman spoke of. However, with this responsibility in delivering these great results, as our CEO pointed out, we are not in a position to comment on potential shareholders. But, as you can see, we are a Team that stands for Sika. We won’t sit idly by and watch this proceeding going forward. So as our culture dictates, we ask questions. We want to be involved. We want to understand this transaction. And let me tell you, all I see, from my point of view, are a lot of smoke and mirrors and sleight of hand. I see nothing that benefits this company.
Now we’ve been closely watching the proceedings over the last 16 months. We may not have been as intimately involved, as our independent board, our CEO or our management team, but, be assured, we have been watching. We have sent letters to the family Burkard and Saint-Gobain, we have made speeches in the past expressing our requirement to get more information and yet we get nothing back. Our question, If you can’t deal with the heart of a company; who are you dealing with?
I was actually quite amazed that they (Saint Gobain) expressed their points in a newspaper and yet they won’t deal with us, face to face, eye to eye. So, on behalf of the Team, I get to express our opinion. It is our professional opinion the “underlying proposal” / “hostile takeover”, call it what you may, will not deliver any benefits to Sika or our shareholders - and as Sika Senior Managers many of us are also shareholders. Again, let me make this perfectly clear. The underlying proposal will not deliver any benefits to Sika and our shareholders; I think our chairman pointed this out quite clearly. Every aspect of this proposal offers no benefits to any of us!
As I said earlier, we have not received anything back from Saint-Gobain to make us feel any more comfortable or make us feel there is something substantial in what they offer us. The smoke and mirrors will not go away. Now our task is to execute strategy 2018, you’ve heard of our commitment, we will continue to build and grow this company! I think, as it was pointed out, the cloud of uncertainty we find ourselves in could easily have been to our detriment, but think again; we have stood up to this occasion as Sika has always done and shown the performance of a company that is second to none in this business world.
I would like to thank the independent board members and our group management for doing such a wonderful job in supporting the management teams of Sika, and, to our shareholders who have also been incredible, standing up, voicing your opinions and making sure that Sika will continue this story we have created together and for the future. For many years Sika has successfully created a unique and prosperous company culture. We call it the “spirit”, you can call it whatever you like. Can you quantify it? Of course not! We can qualify it by the performance that we give to this company.
We do our utmost to ensure the future of a successful Sika-group, but we CANNOT and WILL NOT commit to a model that is not exclusively dedicated to the interests of Sika, a point clearly pointed out by our Chairman. Sika’s success-story is built on open communication and trust. We, the Sika senior managers, sincerely ask the Burkard family to pick up this conversation, as our chairman mentioned, and get this thing back on track. Let’s make sure that we continue to create the success-story which is Sika. And before I end, I personally would like to say, given what I just heard and given what I know about this “deal”, to Saint-Gobain, to the family Burkard: I AM NOT FOR SALE!
I am not for sale! Are we for sale?
Senior Managers: “NO!”
NO! We are not for sale! And now if you allow me this one last comment. And I apologize if there is some loss in translation. “Wir sind Sika und wir wollen es auch in Zukunft bleiben!”
Thank you very much.