Choppies Enterprise Limited will hold its annual general meeting early next month to approve directors’ remuneration. Currently Choppies directors’ remuneration exceeds P22 million in the past financial year ended June.
A leader in fast moving consumer goods has just announced in its latest annual report that it has paid its Chief Executive Officer Ramachandran Othapathu P10, 934036 million in the year ended June 2013. This means, Ram as he is known in the industry, is raking close to a million Pula every month in salary, easily making him one the highest paid executives for domestically listed companies. Ram’s monthly salary is over 900 times higher than that of a cashier who earns a little over P1, 5 00 monthly in Choppies growing chain stores countrywide. It remains to be seen if shareholders at a meeting scheduled at Masa Centre on the 5th December, will approve such ‘hefty’ pay. Founder of Choppies group, Farouk Ismail who acts the company’s executive director was paid P9, 810,299 in total in the same year.
Ram and Ismail are also board members of the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) listed company which has announced it has expanded into the Zimbabwean market through a joint venture. Chairman of the Choppies board of directors Festus Mogae, was also paid P648, 508 for his work in the board, which among others include giving strategic advise to the company. Other board members, which include Robert Neil Matthews, Timothy Gordon Marsland and Dorcas Kgosiitsile, were paid P420, 000, P410, 000 and P370, 000 respectively. In total directors were paid P22, 592, 843 million. On a related matter, Marsland has since resigned from the board, and will be replaced, said the annual report. Shareholders of Choppies will also approve the remuneration of KPMG, a local auditing firm for the past year as well as declared dividend.
Kgosiitsile and Matthews will also seek re-election into the board. Meanwhile, Mogae, also a former President wrote in the annual report that they are still looking for investment opportunities in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania among others. The company already has presence in the first two named countries. “We expect to be able to report to back to shareholders on progress made in this regard(of expansion)in the course of the coming financial year,” added Mogae, who is also an investor at the company. Choppies will also target under-serviced areas in the retail sector, as well as growing retail network.
The company currently has over 80 stores both Botswana and South Africa. Choppies has a market capitalisation of P3, 6 billion and its stock is among the most liquid at BSE. For the year to date, the company’s share price has increased from 199 thebe to the current 312.