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Comvita board proposes increased fee pool to hire tech-experienced director

Friday 23rd September 2016

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The board of Comvita, the manuka honey products company, is proposing to increase its pool for directors' fees so it can hire a new director with technology experience.

In its notice of annual meeting, Comvita's board recommends increasing the maximum pool of total director remuneration by $60,000 to $610,000, the equivalent of an annual fee for one director.

The pool was increased by $100,000 at Comvita's annual meeting last year, with a 25.3 percent increase in per-director fees over two years, partly conditional on earnings per share increases which were met.

The drive to hire a new director comes from an evaluation of the board by consultants Kerridge Partners, which the board says led to a collective belief that it needed a new director with "commercial digital technology and sales expertise and experience in the near future", though it doesn't have set timing on when this would happen.

There would be no increase in fees paid to individual directors, the board said.

In August, the Te Puke-based company posted a 15-month profit of  $18.5 million that broadly met its guidance while lowering its dividend payout ratio to chase "growth opportunities". The payout ratio for the 15-month period amounts to about 42 percent of operating profit, which was lower than the company's previously adopted ratio of 50 percent of operating profits.

Comvita shares last traded at $11.35, down 1.3 percent today, and have jumped 37 percent this year.

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