Xstrata investor to say no to pay plan

Standard Life Investments, one of the 10 largest shareholders in Xstrata, is to vote against a pay plan tied to the miner’s £20.77bn takeover by commodities trader Glencore, arguing the plan is unnecessarily greedy.

In an interview, David Cumming, head of equities at SLI which owns around 1.5 per cent of Xstrata, said he supported the Glencore deal but would block plans to offer Xstrata executives “golden handcuffs” worth many millions of pounds.

“I do think that incentive package should be voted down. I think it is unnecessary and, to be honest, I think it is a combination of a rather rapacious management team and a weak board,” Mr Cumming said on the BBC’s Today programme yesterday.

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“But you can vote against it and the deal still will go through and I think it will go through.”

Mr Cumming’s objection to the remuneration package puts SLI at odds with its fellow Edinburgh resident and rival Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP), also one of the 10 largest investors in Xstrata.

SWIP, which owns 1.1 per cent of Xstrata, said on Friday it backed both the deal’s rationale and the new remuneration package.

“In this particular case, it is our view that it will be important to retain the skills required to manage the combined assets and deliver the promised cost savings,” Anne Fraser, head of corporate governance at SWIP, said.

News of SWIP’s voting intentions will boost spirits among the management of both Glencore and Xstrata as they enter the home straight of a controversial merger process.