Summerset to boost board pay

HAMISH MCNICOL
Last updated 11:53 25/03/2014

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Retirement village and aged-care operator Summerset will ask shareholders to boost the fee pool it pays directors by 50 per cent to $600,000.

The move will account for changes to the board since the company listed in November 2011.

The Wellington-based listed company last month announced its net profit for the year ended December 31, 2013, had more than doubled to $34.2 million, after a third consecutive year of record sales.

In its notice of annual meeting released to the stock exchange this morning, the company said it would seek to raise the maximum amount of directors' fees from $400,000 to $600,000, effective from April 1 this year.

This would require shareholder approval at the next annual meeting, which will be held in Wellington on April 30.

The company said the increase in the total pool was necessary due to changes in the composition and size of the board.

Summerset had five directors when the pool was originally established before the company's initial public offer, two of which were executives of major shareholder QPE Funds Management.

These two received lower fees for their non-executive positions at Summerset, but had resigned in October last year as QPE sold its remaining shareholding.

The pair, Chris Hadley and Marcus Darville, each received $32,358 in directors' fees from Summerset.

Furthermore, outgoing chief executive Norah Barlow had not previously received directors' fees as managing director, but intended to remain on the board as a non-executive director following her retirement.

Last year as chief executive she received $689,998 in salary, bonuses and through the employee share plan.

But Summerset had also appointed two extra non-executive directors in September last year, Dr Marie Bismark and Anne Urlwin, who, along with Barlow would receive fees this year.

"Based on recent research the proposed fees are in line with the fees paid to directors of comparable-sized listed companies in New Zealand and below those of comparable-sized companies in Australia," the company said.

It said this increase would also allow for fees for a possible additional director in the future.

Chairman Rob Campbell, who would stand for re-election at the annual meeting, received $150,000 in directors' fees last year.

The proposed increase would also raise the chairman's remuneration to $165,000, while non-executive directors would increase from $75,000 to $80,000 a year.

Shareholders would also be asked to amend Summerset's constitution to comply with ASX listing rules, to comply with its duel listing.

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Shares in Summerset traded at $3.55 this morning, a 153 per cent increase on the company's IPO price of $1.40.

- Fairfax Media

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