THE WEST AUSTRALIAN
Wednesday, 28 November 2012 14:23
Sandfire Resources' first annual meeting since it started mining was not a happy one for all shareholders, with the copper and gold producer registering a strong protest vote against the only two directors up for re-election.
The protest came despite Sandfire achieving several milestones at its newly commissioned $390 million DeGrussa mine, 150km north of Meekatharra, over the past year and its share price outperforming many of its peers.
About 19.5 per cent of the 123 million shares voted as proxies for Sandfire's annual meeting yesterday were cast against the re-election of chairman Derek La Ferla.
The protest vote against the re-election of non-executive director Soocheol Shin, who represents 17.3 per cent shareholder POSCO, was almost as strong at 16 per cent.
By comparison, the protest against Sandfire's remuneration report amounted to 11 per cent of proxies cast. This annual meeting season has been punctuated by heavy protest votes against companies' remuneration reports.
It is understood the protest vote against the Sandfire directors' re-election were cast by institutional investors, who were concerned about the lack of independent directors on the board. Of the five Sandfire directors only Mr La Ferla and Robert Scott can be considered independent.
Mr La Ferla addressed the issue in his address to the yesterday's annual meeting, saying the miner intended to "grow and refine the structure and membership" of the board over the next year. "It is our intention to appoint one or perhaps two additional directors to complement and add to the qualifications and experience of our current board members," he said.
It is understood Sandfire's other big investor, OZ Minerals, did not vote its 28 million shares against either director or the remuneration report.
Sandfire shares closed down 21¢, or 2.5 per cent, at $8.15 yesterday.
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