Colin Kruger, 03 April 2016

The largesse at Caltex is not being restricted to its executive talent.

If you thought last year’s $14 million remuneration package for chief executive Julian Segal was a bit rich, it will be interesting to see what shareholders make of a request from their newly installed chairman, Greig Gailey, to top up the board’s remuneration pool a little.

By a little we mean, an extra $250,000 to $2.5 million.

Hang on a second, didn’t their recently departed chair, Elizabeth Bryan, come cap in hand at last year’s AGM to lift the board’s pay pool by $250,000 to $2.25 million?

That’s a 25 per cent rise in a bit over a year if investors approve the proposal at the meeting next month.

Sure the company has enjoyed a good run, lifting net profit to $522 million in 2015, from just $20 million a year earlier even as revenue fell to $20 billion from $23.9 billion due to the decline in the oil price.

But Bryan, who left in December after taking the chair at Virgin Australia, was asking for extra money due to the fact that the non-executive director’s (NEDs) were starting to push up against the $2 million cap with their total pay reaching $1.76 million. There had been no increase since 2010.

Fair enough.

But why on earth are they running into pay trouble so early in Gailey’s rein?

Well, according to the AGM notice posted on Friday, Caltex engaged an “independent adviser” to review the board and committee fees and remuneration pool for the NEDs. The board must have been shocked at the news.

“Peer data from the review indicated that the current pool limit is approximately 90 per cent of the peer medium,” said the notice of meeting.

The Caltex board pointed out that it is  focused on succession planning, and given the significant board changes last year, they said extra money might be needed “to maintain an appropriate reserve to enable Caltex to continue to effect board and committee succession in an orderly fashion.”

The good news is that shareholders will be getting a little extra at this year’s AGM.

Gailey will warm up the crowd next month by presenting “an Operational Excellence Moment to the meeting,” according to the notice.

Dog house

Cudeco founder, Wayne McCrae, must be happy to see that the copper hopeful hasn’t lost its sense of fun since his abrupt departure last year.

The stock has not traded since August last year, when McCrae departed as executive chairman when Cudeco’s new investors arrived. The company continues to clarify its “financing arrangements” which is to include a capital injection by its new backers.

The promise to unveil the grand new plan by September last year has obviously hit a few glitches.

Cudeco’s new boss, Peter Hutchison, and chairman, Noel White, probably thought they had cracked it in February when they lodged a prospectus to provide the funding to finally develop its Rocklands copper plant near Cloncurry – more than a decade after the colourful McCrae first made this promise.

The corporate plod had other ideas, though. It put through a interim stop order just before Valentine’s Day and Cudeco “is continuing to work with ASIC to resolve its concerns in relation to disclosures in the prospectus for the rights issue.”

At least the company has managed to put out a respectable feasibility study on Rocklands, which means it will no longer have to rely on McCrae’s highly technical descriptions of the metallurgical properties of the native copper as being “just like dried dog s***”.

The study estimates the project will generate $631 million worth of free cash flow over 10 years with a NPV (net present value) of $405 million.

Based on its last traded share price, Cudeco has a market value of around $350 million.

Selfie listing

CBD’s nomination for the best April Fool’s day joke debuted on Thursday March 31.

IOT – as in the Internet of things – debuted on the ASX by way of a reverse takeover of the not-so resourceful Ardent Resources.

And how did IOT announce its presence on the ASX? How about the next generation selfie stick?

Yes this flying $349 selfie stick, to be exact. It is basically a mini drone with a camera offering video streaming and 360 degree panoramic shots.

So, the sales pitch is that it is designed for the ultimate self-obsessive – rather than a creepy peeping tom.

Despite this momentous announcement to mark IOT’s market debut, the share price sunk from a float price of 2.8c a share, to 2.4c, and failed to recover any ground on Friday.

Extracted in full from the Sydney Morning Herald.