Your Company’s Annual Meeting, which took place on May 16, 2019, was an opportunity to discuss many news items related to Wendel. Firstly, we discussed our financial results. Our net asset value (NAV), the most relevant indicator for an investment company, stood at €166.7 per share as of March 31, 2019, up 13.1% from December 31, 2018, and our consolidated sales also rose 4.1% during the first quarter of the year, to €2,053.3 million.
During the Meeting, we also discussed the situation of our companies, after a mixed first quarter. Bureau Veritas, whose executive committee has been substantially renewed, continued to stand out through the positive momentum of its business. IHS experienced strong organic growth, and Allied Universal continued to successfully integrate USSA while strengthening its range of services. In contrast, market conditions were less positive for Stahl, Constantia Flexibles and Tsebo. Monitoring the operational performance of our companies is a crucial point for Bernard Gautier and me, and for this reason our investment team is collaborating with the executives of these companies to implement the measures necessary to preserve their profitability. In the same vein, we recently created a team of Operating Partners, who seek to accelerate value creation on a broader scale and to adapt the market conditions in which our companies operate.
Finally, at the end of our Annual Meeting, shareholders approved the payment of an ordinary dividend of €2.80 per share. This represents an increase of 5.7% compared with the previous year, in line with the policy we implemented several months ago to return value to shareholders.
I wish you all a very pleasant summer.
André François-Poncet, Chairman of the Executive Board