Second strike at Penrice Soda’s AGM

Penrice Soda Holdings suffered a second strike against its remuneration report at the company’s annual general meeting yesterday.

10.5 million shares voted in favour of the report, with 17.4 million against. Penrice, whose website describes it as the country’s only manufacturer of soda ash and sodium biocarbonate, saw over three quarters of votes against its remuneration report last year.

The second strike means the company has 90 days to hold an extraordinary general meeting, at which shareholders will decide the fate of non-executive directors.

Chairman David Trebeck said that the vote had more to do with unhappiness at the company’s performance than the pay packets of its directors.

"I have concluded that any vote against the remuneration report is analogous to a lightning rod to which all shareholder disaffection can be directed regardless of its nature, rather than reflecting concerns with excessive remuneration of the type for which the two-strikes policy was enacted," The Australian reports him as saying.

The Adelaide-based manufacturer has suffered from a downturn in demand for glass, which is made using soda ash, due to winemakers sourcing their bottles from overseas. Other factors such as the high dollar and high costs for operating its plant have hurt the business, which has debts of $100 million and a market capitalisation of under $8 million.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the company’s shares closed at 8.4 per cent yesterday, down from $2.20 in 2005.


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