They are backed up by the Investor Relations and Corporate Communications department with IR Director Flemming Ole Nielsen and IR Officer Ronni Olsen also spending about 10 days on the road.
This is what is called the road show – a series of meetings with investors and portfolio managers discussing and presenting the company as well as answering questions about the transport market as we see it.
To take a closer look at what a road show is really like, we meet up with Jens Bjørn Andersen and Flemming Ole Nielsen in New York. The day begins in a dark corridor outside a hotel room in midtown Manhattan where they wait their turn.
They will meet two other men inside the room. On the table will be notebooks, papers, soda cans and pens and presentations. Behind them, a headboard from the bed that has been removed to make room for the meeting will hang on the wall, and to their other side the door to the bathroom, complete with hotel soaps and towels, will stand ajar for the half hour the meeting will take.
Jens Bjørn and Flemming are here to present DSV and the others, the investors, are here to listen and to ask questions - both about DSV and about the state of trade in the world. Information* they can use to decide when and where to invest what is typically their client’s money.
On the road, every day is different – sometimes it is a series of meetings in an old hotel and at other times at the offices of investors arranged one after the other for an entire day.
Flemming O. Nielsen and Jens Bjørn Andersen with an early cup of coffee
Meeting the competition
This day, Jens Bjørn Andersen is also part of a panel discussing the business in front of the investors. His counterpart is CEO John Wiehoff of C.H. Robinson, the largest freight forwarder in the USA and the company right above us in the world rankings. The two take questions from the room in a relaxed and friendly fashion.
"We are not allowed to talk to our competitors under normal circumstances due to anti-cartel legislation, so it is nice to be able to meet and hear a little bit about their views on the industry at events like this," says Jens Bjørn.
Reality check in Midtown Manhattan
In Denmark, DSV is a top-20 company and globally we are the 5th largest freight forwarder. We have a large, new and shiny corporate headquarters and employees in 75 countries.
In New York, Jens Bjørn Andersen is the CEO of a mid-cap European company in a world of infinite investing opportunities.
So in the worn room at the Midtown Marriot Hotel, Jens Bjørn Andersen and Flemming Ole Nielsen host their guests from a sobering perspective. Often an investor will represent more money than the entire market value of DSV but even with smaller investors there is a healthy respect:
"In reality, these people represent our owners who we ultimately work for. Their concerns are worth hearing and their feedback is something we use actively both to adjust our way of communicating about ourselves but also as a tool to learn about the general market," says Jens Bjørn Andersen.
This last point is important. During road shows our top level management has the opportunity to talk with experts in the field who know about what is going on with our business, our competitors and perhaps parts of the economy we are not sure about.
At the very least, they can alert us to areas where we have radically different expectations or estimations than the general consensus in the market.
"We use our investor relations to gain feedback on our performance and the market that would otherwise be hard to get. The investors we meet are happy to give advice and share their opinions. After holding maybe 30 meetings on a road show, we always return with information we can use constructively," says Jens Bjørn.
Midtown Manhattan is a busy place of business
Less numbers and more trends
What is surprising about all these meetings is that they are not so much about very specific numbers in our financial reports.
There is more interest in the general make-up of our company; where are we big and exposed and where are we small but can potentially grow? What are our views on trade lane development and current events and their effects? What is our financial history? Do we have solid IT and will we be ready for future developments? What makes us special in a commoditised market?
This last question is really about our corporate culture: We value local independence, entrepreneurship and not messing with the work our freight forwarders are doing by centralising too many of their functions. We also take great pride in knowing our internal KPI’s and what profit we make per shipment, per customer, per department etc. This sounds simple, but it is an important management tool and the investors like to hear that management has focus on profit and cash flow.
With all these questions, it is important that whoever is representing DSV has a thorough knowledge of almost everything relating to the business of freight forwarding and DSV. That is why a great deal of time is invested backstage to make sure we have all the numbers, trends and up-to-date information ready. Information that is gathered from the divisions as well as relevant group departments and briefly outlined in our financial reports and investor presentations.
"All this intelligence is of immense value to me and the senior management. It increases transparency and enables us to have a better overview of our company and the business on which to base our executive decisions. And being forced to update the information on a quarterly basis is a healthy exercise even though it is also a lot of work for a lot of people," says Jens Bjørn.
Why invest in investors?
Investor Relations is at its core a legal service; any publically listed company needs to comply with financial law regarding disclosure of information about anything relevant to the company finances.
But on top of that there is the element of interacting with investors to inform them of how the company is doing on a number of parameters and of any changes to company business strategy.
This last part – being transparent to investors – has always been a priority for DSV:
"We strongly believe that being transparent about our business is good for us; our investors trust us when they can see what we are doing, and those relationships make it easier and cheaper for us to raise money should we need it. Also, our share price is more stable with a high and consistent level of disclosure and communication, since we can reduce the chance of any sudden surprises for the market," says Jens Lund, CFO of DSV.
The investors never receive any inside information about DSV, the purpose of these meetings is to comment on and explain information which has already been given in DSV’s official announcements and general market trends to the stock market.
Find more investor related information here