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Thai Oil board hit over rise in payments

THAI OIL'S board has come under the gun from minority shareholders who questioned the increased remuneration payments to the directors in spite of the company's continued decline in profits.

At the diversified oil refiner's annual shareholders meeting yesterday, many expressed dissatisfaction over the total payments to its board of directors, which exceeded Bt50 million last year.

One said he believed most shareholders attending the meeting yesterday had suffered losses from their investments in the company because of its falling profits for three consecutive years and its sagging share prices.

"If there is an evaluation of board's work, I suggest the members who have not contributed benefits to the company should be ousted," he said.

Another shareholder pointed out that National Police chief Pol General Adul Saengsingkaew had attended only six of the 12 board meetings held last year.

According to the company's annual report, Thai Oil's remuneration scheme for its board last year comprised two portions, bonuses that totalled Bt37 million and monthly meeting fees that totalled Bt14.26 million (Bt10.35 million for the main board and the rest for subcommittees). These sums were paid to a total of 18 people who were on the company's board of directors at some point last year, including three who resigned.

Wisan Wuthisaksilp, a Thai Oil board member who is also chairman of the firm's nomination and remuneration committee, said the directors had shouldered more responsibility due to increased complexity of the company's businesses, including new business abroad.

He said total bonuses paid to the board would actually decline to Bt31 million this year from Bt37 million last year, and that Thai Oil's remuneration was in line with other firms in PTT Group and other companies in the same industries.

President and chief executive officer Veerasak Kositpaisal told the shareholders' meeting that the firm had evaluated the performance of its board members and the remuneration scheme included a variable portion that was pegged with the company's operating results.

Thai Oil, 49 per cent owned by state-controlled energy conglomerate PTT, reported net profits of Bt10.39 billion last year, compared with Bt12.32 billion in 2012 and Bt14.85 billion in 2011.

The company's shares traded on the Stock Exchange of Thailand under the TOP stock symbol closed at Bt52.75 yesterday, down Bt0.25 from Tuesday. Its stock price closed at Bt56.25 at the end of last year, Bt67.5 at the end of 2012, and Bt58.5 at the end of 2011.

Thai Oil's 15-member board is chaired by Norkun Sitthiphong.


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