TFS rides out second strike

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian

TFS chief executive Frank Wilson has strongly defended management of the Indian sandalwood producer after shareholders delivered a second strike against its remuneration report.

Mr Wilson rejected suggestions he was overpaid and TFS poorly run after 36 per cent of shareholders voted against the report.

The rebuff from more than 25 per cent of shareholders for the second year running triggered a spill motion at yesterday's annual meeting at the Hyatt.

The motion was defeated - 12 per cent in favour, 88 per cent against - but not before Mr Wilson and new TFS chairman Patrick O'Connor were grilled about numerous aspects of the company's operations.

TFS was left with the second strike stigma days after the board withdrew a motion on the introduction of a performance rights plan for Mr Wilson and other senior executives.

Mr Wilson, who was paid $800,000 last year and had $10.5 million in loans on the company's books, said the performance rights motion was withdrawn after a "couple of big shareholders" raised concerns and asked for it to be refined and improved.

Asked about the second strike after the meeting, Mr Wilson said: "I take that in the context of the spill resolution where people resoundingly voted against it.

"People who voted against the remuneration report then voted against the spill motion. It is just telling us that they think we can do a better job of that incentive plan and we are listening."

The second strike detracted from a year of significant milestones for TFS, which began its first harvest of trees grown on the Ord River irrigation scheme.

TFS also declared a small dividend and continued a successful transition from a managed investment scheme fund manager to a plantation owner and producer of Indian sandalwood.

Mr Wilson said TFS was slowly winning over sceptics.

"Our share price over the past year has gone up more than 100 per cent and we think it has a lot further to go," he said.

"We are excited about getting into harvests, selling the product and proving up what is a highly profitable end market."

TFS wants to increase its ownership of plantations and has received strong financial backing from a sovereign wealth fund in the Middle East.

TFS shares fell 1¢ to 82¢.

Get the latest news from in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails