How can one justify the inclusion of a company whose head office and Management Committee are located in Belgium and whose shareholder rights are not the same as those of French companies in the CAC 40, and on the same basis as the principal companies with their head offices in France?
Our first concern is for shareholder rights. The member states of the European Union have not harmonised these rights, and those underwritten by French law, which are quite far-reaching, and the rights of shareholders in Belgian, Luxembourg or Dutch companies are in some cases different.
ArcelorMittal is today part of the CAC 40, and for a number of years we have been astonished by its unusual status with special legal rights (similar to EADS or STMicroelectronics), without any reaction from Euronext.
We must take care that all the companies in this leading index of the Paris stock market satisfy the statutory requirements governing French companies, at the risk of seeing our index progressively reflect only "best performing" companies that infringe the rules of good corporate governance that apply to the French market.
At a time when France is trying to develop a better regulated economy in order to avoid such deviations, it would be a pity to let people think that a company could join the CAC 40 without accepting the rules of the French market, rules specifically designed to protect investors! And the same reasoning applies to all social and environmental issues.
We believe that only companies which meet the same rules of corporate governance and the same social and environmental constraints as French companies should be selected for the CAC 40, and it is urgent for private and institutional shareholders to become involved in this debate, in order to clarify a situation which disadvantages companies that have chosen to remain based in France.
Olivier de Guerre
Chairman, PhiTrust Active Investors