By Maria Saporta
Sandy Springs-based Veritiv – which will soon be officially designated as a Fortune 500 company – held its second annual meeting Thursday at the Westin Atlanta Perimeter Norh – close to its new corporate offices.
For the second year in a row, the meeting attracted only one Veritiv shareholder. This year it was Suzanne Mulcay from Marietta.
“I live close by,” Mulcay told Veritiv Chairman and CEO Mary Laschinger. “I try to go to annual meetings when they’re being held in Atlanta.”
Jokingly she added that she manages her own mutual fund.
Mulcay became a Veritiv shareowner by owning shares of International Paper. Veritiv formed by a spinoff of International Paper combining with Unisource Worldwide. The entity became a public company on July 1, 2014. But Fortune Magazine requires a company to be in operation for at least a year before it can be included in the prestigious Fortune 500 ranking.
The company expects to be included on the 2016 list, which will be released on June 6. Had it been included last year, it would have been ranked as one of 300 largest public companies in the country.
When the ranking comes out, Laschinger will the first and only woman CEO of a Georgia Fortune 500 company.
But Laschinger isn’t focused on that notoriety. Instead, she told Mulcay how pleased she was that she had decided to keep her Veritiv shares after the spinoff.
Mulcay told the CEO that she just needed to keep delivering results.
“We have had seven quarters in a row of delivering on our commitments,” Laschinger told her.
On May 10, the company announced its earnings for the first quarter of the year. Net sales were $2 billion, a decrease of 5.5 percent from the previous year. Its net income for the same period was $3.3 million, which included $7.9 million of integration expenses and restructuring charges. Basic and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were 21 cents.
“Veritiv is off to a good start in 2016, with first quarter,” Laschinger stated in the earnings release. “Adjusted EBITDA increasing more than 20 percent year- over-year despite the continuing economic softness and currency headwinds impacting our top line performance. In the face of market pressures and the increasing complexity of our integration efforts, our team maintained focus on positioning Veritiv to deliver long-term value to our shareholders. We are on track to meet our 2016 commitments, and I remain confident in the company we are building for the future.”
Veritiv’s annual meeting lasted for all of seven minutes. Seven directors were elected; Deloitte & Touche received 99 percent to continue serving as the company’s independent public accounting firm; an executive compensation plan was endorsed, and shareholders approved the company changing its articles of incorporation to provide for the removal of directors with or without cause.
Unlike most annual meetings, only one director was present in person – Laschinger. The other six directors participated through a conference call.
As a relatively new company, Laschinger said they have had trouble scheduling the annual meeting so that it would work with the board meeting dates. She said that by next year’s annual meeting, she hopes all the directors will be able to attend.