Directors in Pulse Utilities, the loss-making Auckland electricity retailer which recently pulled out of sales talks, are seeking a 25 per cent increase in fees.
The company, which was rescued last year by a Westport lines company after coming close to running out of cash, is seeking consent from shareholders to increase its total fees from $168,000 to $210,000.
In the notice for its annual meeting, to be held on August 24, Pulse said the board of directors believed the increase was appropriate as it "may" seek to add new directors and to attract talent it needed to pay market rates.
Pulse added that since the fees were last set, the company had expanded substantially.
"The substantial increase in operations means that the directors have been devoting significantly more time to the Company. Accordingly, it is appropriate for directors to receive a level of remuneration commensurate with their contribution to the Company."
The increase requires shareholder approval. Westport-based Buller Electricity, owns 69 per cent of the company.
In February, Pulse said it had engaged Cameron Partners to conduct a strategic review, with the investment bank seeking expressions of interest for the company.
That process has been terminated, although Pulse has yet to update the NZAX of its plans.
Joseph van Wijk, Pulse's chairman, said recently the company would make an announcement in the next few weeks about its future, although it would be "nothing dramatic".
It is believed the company will attempt to raise money from existing shareholders.
Based in Westport and operating the district's electricity network, Buller became the controlling shareholder of Pulse last year when it rescued it from a cash crisis, providing $15m in cash and guarantees.
Owned by a customer trust, Buller holds 69 per cent of Pulse's shares.
Founded as a smart metering company, Pulse switched its focus to discount electricity retailing in 2010. It has built a customer base of more than 32,000 through an aggressive recruitment drive although this has not yet translated into financial success.
A net profit of $162,000 in the year to March 31 came on the back of a major fundraising and gains on derivatives, with its underling loss of $5.3m a deterioration from the $3.9m in the previous year.
Bad and doubtful debts of $2.4m are 60 per cent higher than those of TrustPower, which has more than six times as many customers.
Despite the rescue deal from Buller, Pulse appears close to running out of cash. It had negative operating cashflow in the year to March 31 of $6.3m, ending the period with just $123,000 cash in the bank despite raising $6.8m from its refinancing.
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