BELGIUM: Anheuser-Busch InBev told to increase board independence
A-B InBev saw it fall down Erste's Social Responsibility Index
An Austrian asset manager that sold its “socially responsible” stock in Anheuser-Busch InBev has said the brewer could return to favour if it elects more independent directors to its board.
Erste Asset Management claims A-B InBev has “governance issues”, with less than 22% of board members deemed to lack “sufficient independence”. Erste has banned managers that control funds in its sustainable investment portfolio from holding A-B InBev shares, a spokesperson for the company told just-drinks today (24 June).
However, the spokesperson said changes to A-B InBev's board could reverse Erste's decision.
“If the governance part is moving in the opposite direction,” the spokesperson said, “it is realistic that the company is again included in the investment universe.”
A-B InBev has 14 board members, four of which are independent, including chairman Kees Storm. The brewer did not respond directly to Erste's decision but said its board structure “fully complies” with Belgian law.
Sustainable investments make up about 6% of Erste's EUR48.5m (US$65.9m) assets under management. The spokesperson said A-B InBev was “already quite weak” in governance, according to Erste's Social Responsibility Index (SRI). However, the most recent monthly SRI update saw A-B InBev excluded from the list.
The spokesperson said up to three companies can be taken off the list every month.
A-B InBev stock in Erste's traditional funds has not been affected.
The Belgian brewer last week announced it is to give its barley growers access to “superior-yield” crops to help farmers become more “sustainable and profitable”.
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Anheuser-Busch InBev NVSA (ABI) - Financial and Strategic SWOT Analysis Review provides you an in-depth strategic SWOT analysis of the company’s businesses and operations. The profile has been compile...
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