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Retail

Africa’s Biggest Food Retailer Doubles CEO’s Pay After Bonus

Shoprite Holdings Ltd doubled chief executive officer Whitey Basson’s pay last fiscal year to 100.1 million rand ($7.4 million), thanks to a bonus from Africa’s largest food retailer for beating a profit-growth target.

Basson’s remuneration included 49.7 million rand in basic pay for the 12 months through June, in line with the previous year, and a 50-million-rand one-time performance-related bonus, the Cape Town-based company explained in its annual report. Trading-profit growth of 15% beat an internal target of 11%, the retailer said.

Dave Lewis, the CEO of Tesco Plc, the UK’s biggest supermarket chain, got £4.63 million ($5.96 million) in fiscal 2016. Iain Moir, the CEO of South African food and clothes retailer Woolworths Holdings Ltd, was paid 53.7 million rand in the year ended 26 June, including a base salary of 16.4 million rand and a performance-related bonus of 15 million rand.

The decision comes less than a year after the South African government-owned Public Investment Corp. voted against the company’s remuneration policy because the 50.1-million-rand pay awarded to Basson was mostly a fixed payment, rather than a performance-based salary. The Pretoria-based PIC owns almost 10% of Shoprite, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The money manager couldn’t immediately comment on the 2016 pay.

Other reasons given by Shoprite for the bonus include that Basson hasn’t received a basic pay increase since 2013 and no one-time payments for five fiscal years, according to the report. The retailer also cited the CEO’s length of service at the company. The 70-year-old has worked at Shoprite for 45 years and been at the helm since 1979.

“Recently in South Africa, it has become a trend for retailers to recruit their CEOs from multinational retailers outside [the country],” Shoprite said. “The war for talent in this space is not confined to the African continent.”

Shoprite shares gained 1.5% to 194.18 rand as of 3.01 p.m. in Johannesburg on Monday, valuing the retailer at 112 billion rand. The stock fell 4.1% during the year through June, compared with a 1.9% gain on the FTSE/JSE Africa Food & Drug Retailers Index.

News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM. To subscribe to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine, click here.

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