Investor Relations activities
The Investor Relations team focuses on providing transparent and consistent information and interactive communication. We strive for an open dialogue with the financial community, the Media, and all key stakeholders to enhance understanding of the business as well as to explain the risks and opportunities.
The Adecco Group is committed to providing regular updates on key value drivers, business strategy, threats, and opportunities as well as key ratios used by the Group to track its own performance. We are dedicated to providing true, fair, and up-to-date information to every interested stakeholder, so that the share price reflects the inherent value of the Group.
We formally communicate our financial performance in our comprehensive quarterly results, which Management discusses with the financial community via a conference call and webcast. We also offer meetings with Management and Investor Relations at roadshows, conferences, and at our headquarters. In addition, we strive to ensure clear and transparent communication of other price-sensitive information through press releases and comprehensive content on our website at www.investor.adecco.com. We respect the legal obligations relating to confidentiality and disclosure, and make every effort to guarantee equal distribution of price-sensitive information.
In keeping with our approach, we maintained an open dialogue with the financial community through our Investor Relations activities in 2015. During the year, we devoted 65 days to market communication around the time of our quarterly results releases. We participated in 14 broker conferences and 23 roadshows in Europe and North America during 2015.
The Adecco Group’s development is closely monitored by the financial community. Currently 24 brokers actively cover the Group, maintaining regular contact with Management and the Investor Relations team. They comprise ABN Amro, Bank am Bellevue, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bank Vontobel, Barclays Capital, Berenberg, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Exane BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs, Helvea-Baader Bank Group, HSBC, Jefferies, JP Morgan Cazenove, Kepler-Chevreux, MainFirst, Mirabaud, Morgan Stanley, Rabobank, Redburn, Royal Bank of Canada, UBS, and Zürcher Kantonalbank.
After reporting the Q4 and FY results for 2014, at the end of March 2015, 41% of the analysts recommended buying the stock, 50% had a neutral view, and 9% recommended selling. The year 2015 ended with 44% of the analysts having a buy recommendation, 39% being neutral, and 17% having a sell recommendation on shares of the Adecco Group.
Share performance report
Following a 2% decrease in 2014, the share price of the Adecco Group started 2015 at CHF 68.85. In the month of January, the discontinuation of the minimum exchange rate of CHF 1.20 per euro by the Swiss National Bank weighed on the share, which touched the minimum of the year of CHF 59.35 on January 16. Subsequently, expectations of an improving economy in Europe led the share price to increase to CHF 76.70 on April 30. On May 7, the Adecco Group announced the upcoming change of the Group CEO and CFO, and the uncertainty this created led the share price to fall to CHF 70.00. A continued positive economic outlook supported a recovery in the share price in the following months, which reached the maximum of the year of CHF 83.60 on August 5. Thereafter, the global economic recovery continued but did not strengthen as expected. During the Group’s Q3 2015 results presentation on November 5, we announced that our revenue growth in the second half of 2015 had not accelerated sufficiently to achieve our EBITA margin target of 5.5% in 2015. Our revised guidance weighed on the share price, which closed at CHF 68.90 on December 31, 2015.
Over the year 2015, the share price of the Adecco Group was virtually flat. This represents an outperformance of 2% compared to the Swiss Market Index (SMI) (in CHF), but an underperformance of 28% against a basket of our key competitors  in the staffing industry. The Adecco Group’s market capitalisation, based on issued shares, was CHF 12.0 billion at the end of 2015, compared with CHF 12.3 billion at the end of 2014.
The Adecco Group continues to have a broad investor base, made up of over 14,000 shareholders. Our top 20 shareholders held approximately 32% of the issued and outstanding share capital as of year end 2015. European institutional investors had increased their holdings in the Adecco Group to 42% of shares issued at the end of 2015, compared to 36% at the end of 2014. The percentage held by North American institutions decreased by 8% to 30%.
At the Annual General Meeting (AGM) 2015, the cancellation of 4,606,873 shares of the Adecco Group, representing 3% of total shares, was approved and was correspondingly executed in June. The number of shares in issue was therefore reduced to 174,474,937 shares. The Board of Directors will propose a further cancellation of 3,318,750 shares at the AGM 2016.