SOUTH AFRICA – The complementary sugarcane and maize feedstocks company, Tongaat Hulett’s shareholders have voted against a non-binding advisory resolution endorsing the company’s remuneration policy at its Annual General Meeting.

Meanwhile, CFO Murray Munro who joined the group in 2003 has stepped down due to health reasons but will remain as an employee of the company.

In an AGM note to investors, Tongaat Hulett said that only 40.64% of votes were in favour of the non-binding remuneration resolution; 59.36 were against it and 9.04% abstained.

An overview of the remuneration policy aims at aligning performance of company executives and fair reward with the company’s commercial success and sustainability while taking into account various stakeholders’ perspectives and the affordability/cost to company.

Part of it states that remuneration is linked to individual performance so that as a general principle, good performers are remunerated in line with the market median, with high achievers and exceptional performers being rewarded towards the market upper quartile.

The company said that other resolutions including the reappointment of auditors, directors and more, easily passed.

The only other resolution that failed to achieve a 75% threshold of votes cast was a non-binding advisory vote endorsing the company’s implementation report.

According to the report, the group’s long-time CEO Peter Staude earned US$747,871.16 in the year ended 31 March 2018 – which included a cash package of US$650,416.05 and retirement and medical contributions of US$96,193.50.

Murray Munro, the group’s Chief Financial Officer, earned a cash package of US$384,034.05 and retirement and medical contributions of US$57,690.40, for a total of US$442,120.29 and neither received a cash bonus, as they had in 2017.

In June, Tongaat said it was set to review executive pay after reporting 37.2% decline in headline earnings before closing 5% down at US$6.44 a share, the lowest since June 2009.

The company announced that its CEO Staude would be stepping down at the start of October.