Options may net Mercer boss $1m

MARTA STEEMAN
Last updated 08:13 10/05/2012

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Shareholder approval to exercise share options early may see the new chief executive of Christchurch stainless steel maker Mercer Group, Rodger Shepherd, make a $1 million gain.

Shepherd may now buy 18,181,818 shares at 5.5 cents a share after a special meeting yesterday in Auckland approved changes to one lot of share options in his employment agreement.

The approval allows him to buy the 18.18 million shares before February 2 next year rather than have to wait until that date.

Yesterday the shares were trading on the NZX at 12c each so this lot of options is worth $2.18 million for a $1m spend.

Shepherd has been appointed to restructure the manufacturer, whose key shareholder is Christchurch businessman Humphry Rolleston.

Shepherd has other share options in his employment agreement that are also "in the money" at present but he cannot exercise one lot for 19 months and the other lot for 29 months. The options are to buy up to 14.285 million shares at 7c each on February 2, 2014 and 11.76 million shares on December 2, 2014 at 8.5c a share.

As part of his employment agreement he will be paid in shares also in the next three years. He will be granted shares equal to 1 per cent of Mercer's total shares just before August 2 this year for his services as chief executive, another 1 per cent before August 2 next year and another 1 per cent just before August 2, 2014.

His notice to the NZX said he will hold up to 19.05 per cent of Mercer shares if he exercises all the options and no more shares are issued.

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- The Press

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