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Summerset seeks to boost directors’ fee pool by 50%

Summerset seeks to boost directors’ fee pool by 50% as board gets rejig

By Paul McBeth

March 25 (BusinessDesk) - Summerset Group, the retirement village operator and developer, will ask shareholders for a 50 percent bump in the directors’ fee pool to account for a rejigged board, having delivered a 153 percent boost in the company’s stock price since it listed in 2011.

The Wellington-based company wants to lift the pool for directors’ fees to $600,000 from $400,000, which it says will compensate the directors who replaced representatives of former cornerstone shareholder Quadrant Private Equity, and chief executive’s Norah Barlow’s transition out of management next month. The higher fee pool would allow Summerset add another director.

“This increase in the fee pool is primarily necessary due to changes in the composition and size of the board,” the company said in its notice of annual meeting. “Based on recent research the proposed fees are in line with the fees paid to directors of comparable sized listed companies in New Zealand and below those of comparable sized companies in Australia.”

The $400,000 fee pool was set in November 2011 when Quadrant sold down its stake and listed the company on the NZX. Quadrant’s representatives on the board had taken lower fees than other non-executive directors, while Barlow didn’t receive director fees as managing director.

Quadrant sold the shares at $1.40 in the initial public offer, and the stock has soared 153 percent since then to $3.53, while paying dividends of 5.75 cents per share. Over the same time, the benchmark NZX 50 index gained 53 percent.

Summerset’s new fee structure would lift the chairman’s fee by $15,000 to $165,000, non-executive directors’ fees by $5,000 to $80,000, and raise the additional fee for chairing the audit committee by $5,000 to $15,000. The bigger pool would also cover a $7,500 fee for the chair of the remuneration committee.

Shareholders will also be asked to amend the company’s constitution to incorporate ASX listing rules to comply with its Australian dual-listing.

The annual meeting will be held in Wellington on April 30.

Last month the company reported annual profit more than doubled to a record $34 million in calendar 2013, as sales of occupation rights to its retirement units reached an all-time high.


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