Restaurant Brands board seeks 18% pay rise

Shareholders will vote on July 22 in Auckland on lifting the board's pool for fees covering five directors to $400,000 a year from $340,000.

The board of fast-food operator Restaurant Brands New Zealand [NZX: RBD] has asked shareholders to approve an 18 percent boost to its pool for directors' fees which it says will help attract and retain high calibre talent needed to run a more complicated business after its recent Australian expansion.

Shareholders will vote on July 22 in Auckland on lifting the board's pool for fees covering five directors to $400,000 a year from $340,000, the Auckland-based company's notice of meeting said. The increase would allow the chairman's fees to rise by $25,000 to $125,000 and lift individual directors' fees by $5,000 to $60,000. It would also allow for the audit and risk, and remuneration committee chairs to be paid an additional fee of $10,000 and $5,000.

"Directors believe that with a much more complex business following the Australian acquisition and in the increasing need to attract high calibre talent to the board (from both sides of the Tasman) a fee increase as is proposed is necessary," the company said.

Restaurant Brands took the unusual step of publishing an excerpt from a report commissioned from remuneration consultants Strategic Pay, which recommended base director fees be raised to between $65,000 and $70,000, and the chair's fee be increased to a range of $130,000 to $140,000. It also suggested the separate committee chair fees that were adopted.

"In our view, the recommended ranges represent appropriate competitive, and median-oriented levels for publicly listed companies in the NZ market," the report said. "While these levels suggest percentage increases of up to 16.6 percent for directors and 40 percent for the board chair, we note the significant organic growth in revenues, profitability and market capitalisation since our 2014 report, and also recognise the growth and challenges inherent in the Australian KFC acquisition."

Restaurant Brands, which operates the local KFC, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and Carl's Jr brands, carried out a major expansion across the Tasman in March, buying QSR Pty, the biggest KFC franchisee in New South Wales with 42 stores, for A$82.4 million in cash and scrip.

Shareholders will also vote on approving the re-election of Sue Suckling and election of Stephen Copulos and Vicky Taylor to the board

Restaurant Brands shares were unchanged at $5.40 and have gained 22 percent so far this year. The stock is rated an average 'buy' based on four analyst recommendation compiled by Reuters.

(BusinessDesk)

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