Opus directors seek 12% pay rise after 5 years on hold

Listed engineering company's board wants a pay rise.

BUSINESSDESK: The board of engineering firm Opus International Consultants will ask shareholders for a 12 percent increase in its fee pool, which hasn’t increased since listing in 2007.

The directors want shareholder approval to lift the fee pool to $400,000 a year from $357,500, effective from Jan. 1 this year. That would boost chairman Kerry McDonald’s fee by $10,000 to $120,000, and a $5,000 lift in directors’ fees to $60,000.

The original pool was set in 2007, when the shares were listed at $1.65 apiece on the NZX, and since then, the company’s stock has climbed 30 percent to $2.14.

Last year, the board decided to ask shareholders for a pay rise after an unnamed independent remuneration consultant recommended the rise, the company said in its notice of annual meeting.

Similar reviews have been held every since 2007, and this is the first time the board sought an increase.

Opus asked for, and was granted a waiver from listing rules preventing majority shareholder Opus International (NZ) from voting. NZX Market Supervision was satisfied the resolution doesn’t discriminate between independent and non-independent directors, and was consistent with unbiased outside advice.

The company was rated ‘outperform’ according the average rating of four analysts, who have a median price target of $2.40.

Shareholders will vote at the annual meeting on April 11 in Auckland. Chairman McDonald and director Suhaimi Halim are up for re-election at the meeting.

Requests for bigger directors’ fees raised hackles with some investor groups last year, and resins maker Nuplex Industries ultimately backed down on its resolution.

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