Stein­hoff scraps direc­tors' bonuses - for now

Zambian Business Times - - EQUITIES -

The group says it will be left to a newly-con­sti­tuted Su­per­vi­sory Board to de­cide on ex­tra com­pen­sa­tion for hard-work­ing mem­bers

STEIN­HOFF has yielded to an out­cry from share­hold­ers and scrapped a pro­posal to vote on once-off pay­ments of be­tween €100, 000 and €200, 000 to mem­bers of its Su­per­vi­sory Board at this month's an­nual gen­eral meet­ing.

One of the res­o­lu­tions set to be put to the vote at the 20 April AGM was for Heather Sonn and Steve Booy­sen to each re­ceive an ex­tra €200, 000, while Jo­han van Zyl would re­ceive €100, 000 due to the time the three had com­mit­ted to the be­lea­guered group since early De­cem­ber.

In an an­nounce­ment on 06 April, the group said it had taken note of the con­cerns raised by stake­hold­ers around the pro­posed pay­ments. It has scrapped that res­o­lu­tion for now but will still go ahead with other res­o­lu­tions, in­clud­ing the reap­point­ment of the three Su­per­vi­sory Board mem­bers, as well as An­gela Kruger-Stein­hoff, who it says pro­vide con­ti­nu­ity to the pro­cesses un­der­taken to sta­bilise the re­tailer. It wants them to sit along­side new mem­bers who will be ap­pointed to the board at the AGM. It says Van Zyl, Sonn and Booy­sen were mem­bers of the In­de­pen­dent Com­mit­tee ap­pointed in De­cem­ber to bol­ster in­de­pen­dent gov­er­nance of the group and to pro­vide a cen­tre of lead­er­ship af­ter the res­ig­na­tion of CEO Markus Jooste. Apart from set­ting a foren­sic au­dit by PwC off on the cor­rect foot­ing, it says the three have also helped with cru­cial man­age­ment de­ci­sions and have in­ter­acted with reg­u­la­tors, Par­lia­ment, share­hold­ers and other stake­hold­ers. They have also met with bankers and cred­i­tors to en­sure liq­uid­ity for the group and the con­tin­ued trad­ing of its un­der­ly­ing com­pa­nies.

"We be­lieve a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the role that the Su­per­vi­sory Board, and par­tic­u­larly its In­de­pen­dent Com­mit­tee, has played since the cri­sis broke in early De­cem­ber 2017 in help­ing to sta­bilise the com­pany, deal with cred­i­tors to en­sure con­tin­ued op­er­a­tions, to help un­cover wrong­do­ing and to iden­tify and bring to ac­count those re­spon­si­ble, will be help­ful to share­hold­ers," Stein­hoff said in a state­ment. "It is cru­cial for the com­pany and its share­hold­ers that there is con­ti­nu­ity in these roles un­til such time as the sta­bil­ity of the group is rea­son­ably as­sured."

Stein­hoff said the three mem­bers had re­quested that the ad­di­tional pay­ments not be pur­sued at the AGM but left to the newly-con­sti­tuted Board which will be ap­pointed at the AGM, and specif­i­cally its Re­mu­ner­a­tion Com­mit­tee, to re­solve at an ap­pro­pri­ate time in the fu­ture.

The group's shares rose as much as 4.3% yes­ter­day be­fore clos­ing 1.7% up at R3.07. The shares slide 9.9% to a new low of R3.02c af­ter it said prop­erty housed in its Hemi­sphere In­ter­na­tional Prop­er­ties sub­sidiary may only be worth half of the €2.2 bil­lion it was pre­vi­ously es­ti­mated at.

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