How on earth are we meant to keep track of our listed companies when 677 annual reports are lodged with the ASX in the last 24 extended working hours of the September quarter?

It’s raining outrageous pay packets

From the second September 30 sealed section

Today is the last day for about 1200 publically listed companies to lodge their annual reports and notices of meetings at the ASX so check out this link for what should be one of the great deluges up until 8pm this evening.

As at 5.32pm this afternoon, a massive 264 annual reports had been lodged and we’re tipping the final figure for the day will exceed 400, partly because many companies have had trouble getting auditors to deal with all the extra “box-ticking” and disclosures associated with CLERP 9 and the new ASX Corporate Governance guidelines.

There are a lot of companies out there thankful that the election and the smashing of this child pornography ring will dominate the news tonight and tomorrow but any newspaper worth its salt will package up the executive pay figures on the front page tomorrow morning.

For instance, Leighton Holdings have just revealed that Wal King, the man whose blowouts at Spencer Street and the Sydney Hilton Hotel sent the share price tumbling 20 per cent in one day, was paid an outrageous $8.2 million. Then you have outgoing Wesfarmers CEO Michael Chaney who collected an excessive $6.7 million in 2003-04.

The other big one was Insurance Australia Group, the old NRMA Insurance, where CEO and former Wallaby Michael Hawker collected a tidy $3.375 million and chairman James Strong scored $436,000. Even good old Anne Keating pocketed $136,000 from IAG.

John Howard is warning about inflationary wage claims under a Labor Government but the only serious inflationary pay rises out there at the moment are from all his mates in the business sector whose pay packets are rising even faster than profits in most cases.

Others to report today included Gary Morgan’s gold mining dog Haoma, where the pollster chairman was paid $40,000 and John Elliott got his last ever fees from a public company – a miserable $37,000 before he resigned in May.

We now have all the figures in for pay packets in 2003-04 and the biggest 12 packages we’ve spotted are as follows:

Rupert Murdoch, News Corp CEO: $29.6m
Peter Chernin, News Corp COO: $28.8m
Ted Kunkel: ousted Foster’s CEO $5.9m (plus $12.25m in super and leave etc)
Frank Lowy, Westfield CEO: $14.7m
Peter Yates, sacked PBL CEO: $10.55m
Allan Moss, Macquarie Bank CEO: $9.08m
Frank Cicutto, ousted NAB CEO: $9m
Wal King, Leighton CEO: $8.2m
David Morgan, Westpac CEO: $7m
Michael Chaney, Wesfarmers CEO: $6.7m
Chip Goodyear, BHP-Billiton CEO: $6.4m
Geoff Dixon, Qantas CEO: $6.1m

The great annual report deluge

From the first October 1 sealed section

We told you in yesterday’s second edition that 264 annual reports had been lodged with the ASX by 5.32pm last night and it appears that the final figure for the day topped 400 as we counted another 169 that came after that. If anyone spots a scandal or three buried in the figures of some obscure company drop us a line to boss

Don Argus, the man who likes to have BHP-Billiton AGMs on Melbourne Cup eve, covered himself in glory yet again as the Brambles annual report was dropped at 8.49pm, with only non-entities called Jaguar Minerals, Australian Pure Fruits, Victoria Petroleum and Synergy Metals coming in after Brambles before the ASX went home at 9pm.

The Brambles annual report revealed that new CEO David Turner scored a very tidy $4.4 million for the year and the man he replaced, Sir CK Chow, didn’t get any massive golden farewell as his pay packet fell from $3.15 million in 2002-03 to just $1.36 million last year.

However, Brambles did pay Victor Mendes, the President of its troubled CHEP pallet business, $6.35 million including termination payments of $2.04 million even though he won’t actually be restructured out of the business until October 24, 2004.

Meanwhile, that table which The Australian ran this morning accompanying their story on executive pay looked remarkably like the one we sent out at 6.10pm last night.

However, The Australian did insert NAB’s new Australian boss Ahmed Fahour at number three with $19 million when his sign on fee was only $13.5 million and his signing wasn’t even announced to the market until August 11, 2004. Given that we are dealing with payments in 2003-04, he shouldn’t be on that list.

Hourly summary of annual report ASX filings

From the second October 1 sealed section

No. of annual reports lodged
Wednesday, September 29 Thursday, September 30 Friday, October 1
1 11 23 35
2 22 18
3 13 17
4 15 19
5 11 21
6 13 39
7 18 51
8 19 64
9 20 58
10 21 56
11 21 53
12 39
Total 184 458 35

The above statistics certainly paint an interesting picture with 677 annual reports filed in the last 24 available hours. For watchers of corporate governance, that’s one every 2 minutes and 14 seconds. The hourly lodgements rate shows there was some serious paper pushing on the final day! There were a total of 32,408 pages of reading material for the investors and analysts to digest!

September 30 is the last date for annual report lodgement with the ASX if your year end is June 30, which is the case for about 1300 of the 1645 listed companies on the ASX. This means that 41 per cent of all listed companies could only manage to get their reports done in the last 24 hours that the ASX was accepting them.

Any company which had not filed by 10am this morning were suspended from trading and this illustrious group comprised the following:

Golden Valley Mines
AJ Lucas Group
CCI Holdings
Medical Monitors
Wentworth Mutual
Motion Picture Co of Australia