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BusinessDesk: Skellerup looks to hike directors' fees almost 50%

BusinessDesk: Skellerup looks to hike directors' fees almost 50%

Skellerup Holdings, the rubber goods and milking products manufacturer, will ask shareholders to approve close to a 50% increase in non-executive directors fees, saying the move is necessary to retain talent on its board.

The Christchurch-based company is looking to increase the total pool of non-executive directors' fees to $475,000 from $320,000, effective from July 1, according to a statement filed with the NZX today.

If approved, the measure would see each of the four non-executive directors on the five-person board receive an average fee of $118,750 at the end of the 2011-2012 financial year.

That compares to a median fee of $30,333 per paid to New Zealand non-executive directors for a median 120 hours of work per annum, according to the latest survey conducted by the Institute of Directors.

Skellerup's aggregate non-executive director remuneration for the financial year ending June 30 was $278,000.

In its annual meeting notice, the company said the motion was put forward as fees had not been reviewed since September 2006 and were needed to "attract and retain the highest quality directors". The increase, which it said was based on advice received from external consultants, would non-executive pay in line with similar sized NZX listed companies.

According to the company's latest annual report, non-executive Chairman Selwyn Cushing earned $130,000.

Elizabeth Coutts earned a basic fee of $75,000 plus $40,000 for additional work, John Thompson earned $65,000, and Ian Parton was paid $8,000.

Skellerup, which was the best-performing company on the NZX 50 last year, reported a 69% increase in annual profit to a record $20.2 million for the 12 months ended June 30, on improved revenue and returns across its range of agricultural and industrial products.

In May this year the company was slapped with a $20,000 fine by the NZ Markets Disciplinary Tribunal for not finding a replacement for then-independent director David Mair when he was tapped as acting chief executive. Parton was appointed as an independent director in his stead.

The annual meeting takes place on Oct. 26 in Auckland. Skellerup shares fell 0.9% on the NZX today, and have dropped 1.6% so far this year.


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