DistributionNOW discusses gaining and maintaining European investors

Mar 23, 2018
This article was produced by ELITE Connect and originally published on the ELITE Connect platform

With headquarters in Houston, Texas, more than 300 worldwide locations and over 4,500 global employees, DistributionNOW is one of the largest distributors to the energy and industrial sectors.  Continuing our focus on US companies and European investors, we hear from Michelle Lewis, chief strategy officer at DistributionNOW, who gives us insight into how the company engages with its European prospects.

What’s the rough geographical split of your investor base?  Has this changed in recent times?

Approximately 20 percent of our shares are held in Europe. We have maintained this percentage for the last three years.

What methods have you used to successfully expand your investor base to Europe?

We specifically target European investors when planning our activity. A handful of core European investors have been with us since our IPO and, since then, we have made it a goal to further expand the investor base. We target two to three investor trips to Europe a year, with at least one of those trips including our CEO. Meetings include existing investors and potential shareholders, sourced through analysts, direct inbound inquiries, or suggestions from an IR advisory. We also invite our European investors to come visit our sites in the US so they can get a sense of our business on the ground and meet a larger swathe of both our management team, and our employees.

How you do maintain your relationships with your European investors? What works best?

We reach out to our top 20 shareholders, which include some of our larger European investors, for follow-up calls with the entire management team, after our earnings calls. Also, as previously mentioned, we invite our European investors to come visit us and our sites in the US. When we do this, we plan trips that are focused on both our assets and people, but also are useful in understanding the broader industry context. For example, we organized a recent trip to the Permian Basin to not only see our facilities but also visit arguably the current epicenter of global oil production growth. 

What do you think is important to European investors?

In general, we find European investors tend to be more focused on the long-term fundamentals of the business. Our European investors focus on a broad set of management and operational issues. They research externally and inquire about issues related to culture, employee satisfaction and turnover, our use of capital and related M&A criteria, our field operations, and the relationship of the management with the field. They are less interested in the current quarter’s data and some have stated that the quarterly earnings call is not that important to them.

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