As of March 31, 2021, the ordinary share capital of Sonova Holding AG was CHF 3,219,906.85 fully paid up and divided into 64,398,137 registered shares with a par value of CHF 0.05 each.
Sonova Holding AG has issued neither participation certificates nor profit-sharing certificates.
With the exception of the treasury shares held by the company itself, each share represents one vote at the Annual General Shareholdersʼ Meeting and is entitled to dividend payments. As of March 31, 2021, the company held 1,355,464 treasury shares (1,970,548 in the previous year).
More information on the share capital can be found in Art. 3 of the Articles of Association available here.
Authorized and conditional capital
The 2020 Annual General Shareholdersʼ Meeting authorized the Board of Directors to increase the share capital at any time until June 11, 2022 by a maximum amount of CHF 321,990.65 by issuing a maximum of 6,439,813 registered shares that are to be fully paid up, each with a nominal value of CHF 0.05. Increases in partial amounts shall be permissible. The Board of Directors did not make use of this authorization in FY 2020/21.
The 2005 Annual General Shareholdersʼ Meeting approved the creation of conditional share capital of 3,301,120 registered shares with a par value of CHF 0.05 per share to improve the companyʼs financial flexibility. This capital may be used for exercising option and conversion rights granted in connection with bonds or similar debt instruments issued by the company to finance the acquisition of companies, parts of companies or shareholdings.
The AGMs in 1994 and 2000 approved the creation of conditional share capital of 8,000,000 registered shares with a par value of CHF 0.05 per share. As of March 31, 2021, the share capital may still be increased by issue of a maximum of 5,322,133 registered shares of which 2,021,013 registered shares can be issued for distribution to key employees of the Sonova Group through an equity participation program and 3,301,120 registered shares can be issued in connection with exercised option and conversion rights which have been granted in relation to debentures or similar bonds of the company.
The conditional capital amounts to a maximum of CHF 266,107 which equates to 8.13% of the existing share capital.
More information on the conditional share capital can be found in Art. 4 of the Articles of Association, available here.
In FY 2020/21, a total of 170,694 options and Stock Appreciation Rights (SARs) were granted as part of the Sonova Executive Equity Award Plan (EEAP). In FY 2019/20, the number of options and SARs granted totaled 208,245. As of March 31, 2021, there were 1,119,468 options, performance options and SARs outstanding (compared with 1,118,053 in the previous year). Each of the options entitles the holder to purchase one registered share in Sonova Holding AG with a par value of CHF 0.05 at the respective exercise price and upon meeting certain performance criteria, while the SAR entitles to receive a cash settlement equal to the option value. The EEAP is described in greater detail in the Compensation Report and in Note 7.4 to the consolidated financial statements.
Sonova Holding AG has not issued any convertible bonds.
Changes in capital
As of March 31, 2021, the capital of Sonova Holding AG comprised the following:
Ordinary capital (in CHF)
Authorized Capital (in CHF)
Conditional capital (in CHF)
Of the 8,000,000 maximum approved conditional shares, a total of 5,978,987 shares with a par value of CHF 0.05 each was issued prior to FY 2019/20. Starting in FY 2014/15, Sonova decided to purchase shares on the market to fulfill its obligations under the long-term incentive plans and not to issue shares out of the conditional share capital. The maximum conditional share capital reserved for long-term incentive plans therefore remained unchanged at 2,021,013 shares.
The conditional share capital of 3,301,120 registered shares, which was created on July 7, 2005 in order to increase the companyʼs financial flexibility, has not yet been used.
The AGM in 2019 approved a reduction of the share capital by CHF 46,637.50 through cancellation of 932,750 registered shares. This capital reduction was the result of the share buyback program as further outlined below, in which the company repurchased 932,750 registered shares between April 1, 2018 and March 31, 2019.
The Board of Directors did not make use of the authorized capital in the FY 2020/21.
Share buyback program
On August 31, 2018, Sonova announced a share buyback program that started in October 2018. The program was targeted to buy back shares worth up to CHF 1.5 billion and was planned to run for up to 36 months. On March 16, 2020, as a precautionary measure, Sonova announced the suspension of the Groupʼs share buyback program to reflect uncertainties regarding the financial impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
As of March 31, 2021, Sonova has repurchased no further registered shares through this buyback program.
The transactions before March 16, 2020, were conducted via a separate trading line on the SIX Swiss Exchange as part of the share buyback program (available here).
Limitations on transferability and nominee registrations
Limitations on transferability for each share category
To be recognized as a shareholder with full voting rights, the acquirer of shares must submit a written application for registration in the share register. The company may refuse registration in the share register if applicants do not explicitly declare that they have acquired and will hold the shares in their own name and for their own account. The company may further refuse entry of the acquirer as a shareholder or usufructuary with a voting right to the extent that the shares held would exceed 5% of the overall number of shares shown in the Commercial Register (Art. 8 para. 6 of the Articles of Association). Linked parties are considered as one person. This registration restriction does not apply to the founding shareholders. The Board of Directors may grant exceptions where there is justified cause, in which case no special quorum is required.
More information on the limitations on transferability and registrations can be found in Art. 8 of the Articles of Association, available here.
Exceptions granted in the year under review
No exceptions were granted by the Board of Directors during the reporting period.
Admissibility of nominee registrations
The Board of Directors can issue regulations specifying the conditions under which trustees/nominees are recognized as shareholders with voting rights (Art. 8 para. 5 of the Articles of Association, available here).
Procedure and conditions for cancelling statutory privileges and limitations on transferability
A resolution of the General Shareholdersʼ Meeting approved by a relative majority of the votes cast is sufficient for cancellation (Art. 15 para. 4 no. 3 of the Articles of Association, available here).