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Stepping into the future

4th Annual General Meeting of GfK SE

(PresseBox) (Nürnberg, ) At today's 4th Annual General Meeting of GfK SE, a minimum of 83.65% of the shareholders of GfK SE voted in favor of the resolutions proposed by the Supervisory Board and the Management Board. Approximately 250 shareholders and proxies, representing 85.82% of all shares, attended the Annual General Meeting.

This year's Annual General Meeting of GfK SE, held at the Stadthalle in Fürth, discussed and voted on a total of ten items. With a large majority, shareholders and proxies agreed to the proposal of the Supervisory Board and Management Board regarding payment of a dividend of EUR 0.65 per share. The 35% increase in the rate of distribution was welcomed, as was the intention to distribute around 30% of the profit to shareholders in the future. To date, the dividend rate has amounted to around 20%. The dividend payment of EUR 0.65 per share already corresponds to 27%. With this increase, the Management Board is highlighting its confidence in terms of future business development.

In addition, the General Meeting authorized the Management Board to issue options or convertible bonds equivalent to a total new amount of EUR 250 million up to May 15, 2016. The previous authorization expires on May 22, 2012.

As in the previous years, KPMG AG, Nuremberg, Germany, were appointed to audit the financial statements and consolidated financial statements for the 2012 financial year.

At the Annual General Meeting, it was also announced that the Supervisory Board unanimously resolved on May 15, 2012 to extend the contract of Pamela Knapp as Member of the Management Board (CFO) of GfK SE for a further five years as of October 31, 2012. Pamela Knapp has therefore been appointed as a member of the Management Board until October 31, 2017.

Matthias Hartmann, CEO of GfK SE, provided an overview of the financial year ended and the annual financial statements for 2011. He emphasized, "The past year marked a year of change. It was a year which opened a new chapter in the company's history, for clients and employees, with the launch of the new Own the Future corporate strategy." The response from shareholders was positive in respect of the successful past financial year, in which sales and consolidated total income rose to new record levels, and the excellent first quarter of 2012.

In his outlook for the current financial year, Matthias Hartmann underlined that GfK was confirming its ambitious medium-term targets for sales and the margin. Accordingly, the company plans to increase sales in 2012 by around 9% to approximately EUR 1.5 billion. In the coming years, GfK will focus its activities to generate growth in around 30 countries worldwide, particularly the USA and BRIC countries. Following the acquisition of Knowledge Networks, the leading US expert in digital research, and Bridgehead International, a leader in healthcare consulting, GfK has already recorded initial successes this year and reported strong organic sales and income growth in all regions for the first quarter of financial year 2012.

GfK

GfK is one of the world's largest research companies, with more than 11,500 experts working to discover new insights into the way people live, think and shop, in over 100 markets, every day. GfK is constantly innovating and using the latest technologies and the most intelligent methodologies to give its clients the clearest understanding of the most important people in the world: their customers. In 2011, GfK's sales amounted to EUR 1.37 billion.

Since January 1, 2012, GfK has been focusing on the two complementary sectors of Consumer Choices and Consumer Experiences.

The Consumer Choices sector investigates what's selling when and where. It focuses on the continuous assessment of market segments and trends by analyzing all major digital sales and information channels and media. The former Retail and Technology sector and the Media sector's TV, radio and print measurement businesses have been folded into the new Consumer Choices sector.

The Consumer Experiences sector concentrates on consumers' attitudes, perceptions and behavior and answers the questions who is buying, why they are buying and how they are buying. These are explored through highly creative, robust and flexible methodologies. GfK is pioneering sophisticated new ways of understanding how people experience brands and services. The former Custom Research business and ad hoc research from the Media sector are included in this new sector.

To find out more, visit www.gfk.com.
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