Owen Hembry

Owen Hembry is the business news editor of the New Zealand Herald

Shareholder group backs increase in directors' fees

Sanford Shareholders Association chairman John Hawkins. Photo / Dean Purcell
Sanford Shareholders Association chairman John Hawkins. Photo / Dean Purcell

The Shareholders Association is backing an increase in directors' fees at Sanford after the listed fishing company agreed not to immediately take the full amount.

The chairman of the association, John Hawkins, said agreement had been reached on changes to Sanford's proposed director fee increase after constructive discussions with the company's chairman, Jeff Todd, and managing director, Eric Barratt.

Sanford was seeking an increase from $442,500 to $550,000 - after adjusting for an extra board member recently appointed, the association said.

The issue had arisen as a result of shareholder dissatisfaction with Sanford's performance since the last adjustment in 2008, it said.

Hawkins said Sanford would limit the amount paid to $500,000 with the balance being available next financial year subject to a lift in performance.

It was important that the company could pay sufficient to attract quality directors with the skills to contribute to a ongoing strategic review, Hawkins said.

The association said it accepted that the current fees were too low but it was important that fees for directors were related to performance and not out of line with returns to shareholders.

"We believe the compromise we have reached balances those requirements," Hawkins said.

The association would vote undirected proxies it held in favour of the motion to increase the fees of directors at the company's annual meeting next Wednesday.

Barratt said it had been a good meeting and Sanford wanted to take note of the concerns of stakeholders.

Sanford has eight directors, including a managing director who did not get directors' fees.

- NZ Herald

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