Since 1972, audits have been conducted by Deloitte & Touche GmbH, Hannover, and the companies that preceded it, and it has issued a declaration of independence pursuant to Item 7.1. of the German Corporate Governance Code.
The selection of the firm of auditors that is proposed for election by the general shareholders' meeting is made by the Supervisory Board in cooperation with the audit committee.
The auditors responsible for the conduct of the audit are appointed by the firm of auditors. This is based on Section 319a of the German Commercial Code, which contains special regulations concerning the auditing of a company that makes use of an organised market within the meaning of Section 2(5) of the German Securities Trading Act (Wertpapierhandelsgesetz). In addition to commercial connections, auditors are excluded from the provision of consultancy services for the company on a larger scale. In general, we do not procure any consultancy services from the auditors.
In this connection, particular regard is paid to Section 319a, item 4, of the German Commercial Code. Accordingly, an auditor is excluded from the conduct of an audit if the auditor has already issued an opinion pursuant to Section 322 of the German Commercial Code in seven or more cases. Deloitte & Touche GmbH rotates auditors internally after six years.
Our current auditors, Prof. Dr. Beine and Mr. Römgens have overseen a fifth audit with the annual financial statements for 2012.