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UK Self-Storage Operator Safestore Faces Shareholder Backlash Over Executive Bonus Plan

U.K. self-storage operator Safestore Holdings PLC could be in hot water with shareholders over its remuneration policy—and not for the first time. Under a new bonus plan, CEO Frederic Vecchioli would receive £8.7 million in company shares, while finance director Andy Jones would receive £5.9 million in shares. Shareholders are expected to vote against the bonuses and could oust Claire Balmforth, pay-committee chair, during a vote next week, according to the source.

Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., a voting-advisory service, has recommended members vote against the policy change during the shareholders’ annual meeting. In its report, the firm raised concerns about the “structure and operation” of the Safestore bonus plan, which increased from 100 percent of a director’s salary to 150 percent last July, the source reported.

Balmforth could be forced to step down from her role as pay-committee chair ahead of next Wednesday’s vote if it’s apparent shareholders have enough support to vote her out, according to the source.

The contentious situation is similar to last year, when Safestore executives backed away from a proposed bonus plan that would have awarded Vecchioli with up to 2.5 million shares after five years, worth £9.4 million at the time. Nearly 40 other company leaders would also have received pay bonuses under the plan. Shareholders approved an amended pay policy during a special meeting last July.

In its most recent financial-earnings report, Safestore reported total revenue for the first quarter of its 2018 fiscal year was up 9.8 percent to £35.1 million, with “like-for-like” growth for the group up 4.5 percent, using constant exchange rate, in France and United Kingdom. Same-store revenue in the U.K. grew 4.3 percent, while the company’s Paris business increased 5.5 percent compared to the same period in 2017.

Safestore operates 146 self-storage facilities, including 120 facilities it owns in the U.K. and 26 in France. Its storage properties comprise 6.27 million square feet of storage space and serve approximately 60,000 customers.

Source:
The Telegraph, Safestore Faces Shareholder Revolt Over Director Share Awards

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