Enkraft raises PNE interest ahead of AGM battle with Morgan Stanley
Wind turbine. Source: PNE AG.
Activist investor Enkraft has raised its ownership interest in German renewables developer PNE AG (ETR:PNE3) ahead of a meeting that will decide whether Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) will gain further control over the company’s supervisory board.
A regulatory filing on Monday shows that Enkraft Square GmbH has increased its stake to 5.03% from 3.13%.
“It is astonishing that investment banks such as Morgan Stanley, ostensibly concerned with sustainability and good corporate governance practices, discard any such good principles when it is to their own benefit. Morgan Stanley has completely discredited itself when it comes to ESG,” Enkraft’s managing director Benedikt Kormaier said when contacted for a comment.
In 2019, a unit of Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners (MSIP) launched a board-supported bid of EUR 4.00 (USD 4.22) per PNE share, seeking to take over and delist the company. The price was fiercely opposed by some of PNE’s largest investors, including Enkraft, and MSIP only managed to build a stake of 39.80%, thus failing to pass the threshold required to proceed with a delisting. Still, it secured a couple of seats on the supervisory board.
On Wednesday, May 18, PNE will hold its annual general meeting (AGM) at which shareholders will vote on a number of proposals, including the reelection of three members of the supervisory board and its expansion from currently six members to seven. For the additional seat, the supervisory board is proposing Marc van’t Noordende, who is an operating partner at MSIP.
In a letter to Per Hornung Pedersen, chairman of PNE’s supervisory board, dated April 20, Kormaier says that “with the appointment of Mr. van't Noordende, Morgan Stanley incomprehensively wants to exercise even more control than before over PNE, even though Morgan Stanley is only one among many shareholders of PNE.”
Kormaier further points out that Marc van't Noordende has no expertise in the field of renewable energies, but, at the same time, exercises direct control on behalf of Morgan Stanley in companies fully controlled by it such as Tele Columbus AG and VTG AG.
Last week, PNE reported the best first-quarter EBITDA result in its history and confirmed its goals for the full 2022.