Global Top 10: BASF on talking (scientific) heads

Feb 10, 2016
<p>Part of a new series of articles profiling the world&rsquo;s top-ranking IR teams</p>

Global Top 50 rank: 3

Euro Top 100 rank in 2015: 2

IR Magazine Awards won in 2015: 4

IR team size: 13

Magdalena Moll, head of IR at Ludwigshafen-headquartered BASF, sets out a few things that any successful IR team needs: a clear strategic focus, an experienced team and a commitment to the program. As another consistent high performer, the German materials firm undoubtedly has all three.

It doesn’t hurt that the company also enjoys a 13-strong IR team, though Moll says this is needed at such a huge company. Putting into perspective just how big BASF is, she explains that the company has 13 operating divisions and each is the size of a company on Germany’s MDAX index. ‘We need these resources to pull the information in,’ she explains. ‘One of our tasks is to go into each division and take out the information because they don’t deliver it to us.’

Despite this big job – even for such a large team – Moll concedes that having so many in the IR department does allow her team ‘to be a little bit more innovative’. One example of such innovation is a two-day investor event last year – to celebrate the company’s 150th anniversary – when BASF brought out the leaders of 12 innovative new projects to talk to investors.

‘Where our communications department has done a really exceptional job is in getting scientific people, who do not always like to communicate, to enjoy talking to the financial markets,’ explains Moll. And while bringing 12 such project leaders out at once might be a bit ambitious – and something she concedes you might only be able to do for a 150th anniversary – she makes a habit of mining BASF’s management. And it’s something Moll does well: BASF board members and divisional presidents conducted 266 one-on-one meetings and 91 group meetings with investors, she says. In total the company went on 62 roadshows, attended 536 investor meetings and conducted 108 conference calls across 2015.

‘We try to incorporate not only the CEO and CFO but also the divisional presidents and select leaders of our more innovative projects into [investor] events,’ she says. ‘Maybe this makes a difference in terms of really giving an inside view of what’s going on.’

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