Aquarius bosses agree to pay cuts

HARARE – Aquarius Platinum Limited (Aquarius) has cut its chief executive Jean Nel’s salary by 30 percent and imposed a 10 percent slash of directors’ fees as part of measures to contain “cash corporate costs”.

The platinum group metals producer, which jointly owns Zimbabwe-based Mimosa Mining Company with Impala Platinum (Implats), yesterday announced that it was devising a “range of initiatives designed to reduce operating costs and conserve cash resources during the present difficult operating environment.”

In August, Aquarius announced a $226 million impairment charge, after writing off another $99 million in the second half of the financial year ended June 2013, on top of the $127 million that was written off in the first six months.

“To assist in the preservation of the company’s cash resources the non-executive directors have agreed to a reduction in directors’ fees of 10 percent and offered to receive 25 percent of their remaining director fees in shares in lieu of cash,” said Nel.

He said the transaction is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval at the group’s annual general meeting to be held late November.

The number of shares would be calculated by dividing 25 percent of the residual fee by the simple average of the share price over the preceding calendar quarter.

The first affected payment would be due on March 31, 2014.

Nel has offered to receive approximately 70 percent of his salary and any applicable bonuses he may receive over the next three years (commencing from July 1, 2013) in shares instead of cash.

Any shares issued as part of a bonus will be issued on the same terms.

In addition, Nel has, for the second consecutive year, asked not to be considered for a salary increase in 2014.

This comes as pay cuts have intensified across the mining sector amid concerns of falling international metal prices and depressed performance.

Falling commodity prices and soaring costs of extracting raw materials such as coal and gold are shackling resource firms that until recently had been riding what industry experts called a once-in-a-century mining boom.

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