The world’s biggest miner, BHP Billiton, has today released its 220
page annual report and 24-page notice of meeting for the forthcoming
AGM in Perth. Check it all out here.

CEO Chip Goodyear has lived up to his name as his total pay rose to a
record $US5.15 million in 2004-05, whilst chairman Don Argus collected a
tasty $US490,000 making him Australia’s highest paid non-executive
chairman when you also include the juicy $US1.286 million lump sum
waiting for him in the directors’ retirement scheme.

The AGM in Perth on Friday, November 25 will no doubt be poorly
attended and as usual, BHP has put the most controversial items at the
bottom of the agenda. Items 17, 18, and 19 deal with the vote on the
incredibly complicated remuneration report and up to 1.75 million new shares and options for
the two executive directors, Goodyear and Miklos Salomon, the most
senior remaining executive from the Billiton camp who has a tidy $US9.4
million in superannuation awaiting him.

Executives such as BHP Petroleum chief Phil Aiken must be happy they’ve
stayed with the Big Australian through the good and bad times. Profits
are soaring thanks to the crazy oil price and Phil saw his pay packet
soar from $US3 million to $US4 million last financial year. Not bad for
a divisional manager working out of Melbourne who doesn’t even sit on
the main board.

BHP Billiton had no less than 16 different executive equity schemes
in operation up until June 30, 2005 and eight of these issued more stock over
the year. Trying to keep up with who has made what under the myriad of
different structures is nearly impossible, but someone like Don Argus
can’t be unhappy with his shares which are now worth almost $5 million.

The old BHP employee share scheme has issued a whopping 373 million
shares over the years which are worth a hefty $8 billion with the stock
up 52c to a record $21.51 this afternoon.

Have a trawl through the annual report yourself and see if you can make
head or tail of it. There are no doubt hundreds of current and former
BHP executives who are millionaires courtesy of the schemes and the
boom in China, but getting a fix on the exact scale is no easy task.

Peter Fray

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