March 13, 2017 / 11:41 AM / 9 months ago

Anglo American plans pay cap after shareholder revolt

LONDON (Reuters) - Miner Anglo American (AAL.L) is set to cap executive bonuses, it said on Monday, following a shareholder revolt last year over high payouts even when the company’s share price had crashed.

The Anglo American logo is seen in Rusternburg October 5, 2015. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

In its annual report, Anglo American said on Monday it would reduce maximum annual bonuses for Chief Executive Mark Cutifani to 300 percent from 350 percent of basic salary, bringing it in line with other executive directors.

For Cutifani, the limit is 13.1 million pounds.

The company also said that from this year, the value of long-term incentive plans (LTIP) would be capped at twice the face value of the award at the time of vesting - a response to shareholder concern that executives could gain from share price swings that were not backed up by improved company strategy.

“We were determined to address investors’ concerns about the potential windfall gains for executive directors,” Philip Hampton, chairman of the remuneration committee, wrote in the report.

Even then, executives would only be eligible for the limit of twice the face value if they met performance targets.

Representing pension funds with a total of one trillion pounds in assets under management, the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) said the proposed change did not go far enough.

“While Anglo-American’s direction of travel is to be welcomed, an annual bonus potentially worth 300 percent of a salary, on top of fixed pay approaching 2 million pounds, still seems far too generous,” said Luke Hildyard, a policy lead at the PLSA.

Cutifani’s pay for 2016 was just under 4 million pounds, which included fixed pay and a cash bonus, but no LTIP award because targets were not met.

In addition, Anglo American said it was increasing executive directors’ salaries in 2017 by 2 percent after freezing them in 2016 “to recognise the challenges faced by the Company at the beginning of the year”.

The increase in 2017 is in line with pay awards to the overall British employee population, it said.

The new policy will be voted on at Anglo American’s annual general meeting (AGM) in April.

At last year’s AGM, opposition to the remuneration policy was significant at close to 50 percent as shareholders objected to windfalls for directors linked to volatile commodity markets rather than shrewd strategy.

After a widespread commodity slump at the end of 2015 and in early 2016, Anglo American recovered strongly last year when it was the top performer on the blue chip FTSE, rising around 300 percent.

($1 = 0.8188 pounds)

additional reporting by Simon Jessop; editing by Susan Thomas/Ruth Pitchford

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