THE BOTTOM LINE
Not chickenfeed: Astral forks out R1.1m for its chairman
Finally shareholders approve Theuns Eloff's package
Theuns Eloff, the nonexecutive chairman of poultry giant Astral Foods, will no longer be out of pocket.
On Thursday sanity prevailed at Astral’s reconvened general meeting, where shareholders overwhelmingly approved Eloff’s (dare we say, modest?) remuneration package of R1.1-million.
In April Astral found itself in the awkward position of not being able to pay its nonexecutive chairman after shareholders at a general meeting voted against a resolution to approve Eloff’s remuneration package. This general meeting was held after shareholders voted down the relevant special resolution around Eloff’s remuneration at an AGM in February this year.It would have been a travesty if Eloff was out of pocket since Astral has enjoyed one of its best financial years ever with profits booming and shareholders being rewarded with a bumper dividend. Thursday’s general meeting was in stark contrast to the last assembling of shareholders. Around 27.6 million shares – or 71% of Astral’s issued shares – were voted with 99.8% in favour of the resolution to remunerate Eloff.
The shareholder response shows considerable support for Astral’s board, and the group’s strategy of being the lowest cost poultry producer in Africa.
Most market watchers suspected the previous votes represented mainly offshore investors that took a default position on remuneration rather than them having any particular beef with Eloff.
Of course, executive remuneration has become an increasingly contentious topic over the years – particularly generous packages offered to nonexecutive directors that don’t add value for shareholders. But Eloff is considered an astute and well-informed director, and a nonexecutive that has added considerable value to Astral’s laudable efforts at maintaining a no-frills operational culture.