In recommending the level and mix of remuneration, the RC seeks to build, motivate and retain Directors to provide good stewardship of the Company and for key management to successfully manage the Company for the long term. It ensures that competitive remuneration policies and practices are in place to draw and motivate high-performing executives so as to drive the Group’s businesses to greater growth, efficiency and profitability. In its deliberation, the RC also takes into consideration industry practices and benchmarks against relevant industry players to ensure that its remuneration and employment conditions are competitive.
The Company’s compensation framework comprises fixed remuneration, annual variable bonuses and long-term incentives. Annual variable bonuses are linked to achievement of financial and non-financial key performance indicators. The Company also uses indicators such as core values, key performance indicators, performance rating, and potential of the employees (including key management) to link a significant and appropriate proportion of remuneration to corporate and individual performance. Long-term incentive plans are in place and are conditional upon pre-determined performance targets being met. The long-term incentive plans serve to motivate and reward employees and align their interests with those of shareholders and other stakeholders, as well as to maximise long-term shareholder value.
Long-Term Incentive Plans
The RC administers the Company’s share-based remuneration incentive plans. The F&N Restricted Share Plan (“RSP”) and the F&N Performance Share Plan (“PSP”) were adopted at an extraordinary general meeting of the Company held on 22 January 2009. Both the RSP and the PSP had a duration of 10 years commencing from the date of adoption on 22 January 2009 and both expired on 21 January 2019. The expiry of the RSP and the PSP on 21 January 2019 does not affect awards granted prior to expiry of these share plans and which are pending final release.
At the Annual General Meeting of the Company held on 29 January 2019, the Company adopted a new F&N Restricted Share Plan 2019 (“RSP 2019”) to replace the RSP and the PSP.
The RSP, PSP and the RSP 2019 (collectively, the “Share Plans”) seek to foster a greater ownership culture within the Group by aligning more directly the interests of key senior management and senior executives with the interest of shareholders, and for such employees to participate and share in the Group’s long-term growth and success.
The primary objectives of the Share Plans are to increase the Company’s flexibility and effectiveness in its continuing efforts to attract, motivate and retain talented senior executives and to reward these executives for the performance of the Company.
Under the Share Plans, the Company grants share-based awards (“Base Awards”) which are conditional upon pre-determined performance targets being met. These targets are set by the RC in its absolute discretion for the performance conditions to be met over the performance period. The first grant of Base Awards under the RSP 2019 was made on 28 August 2020. The performance periods for the RSP and the PSP are two and three years respectively. For the RSP 2019, the performance period is one year.
The pre-set targets under the RSP and RSP 2019 were the achievement of Net Revenue, Profit Before Interest and Tax, Attributable Profit Before Fair Value Adjustment and Exceptional Items and/or Return On Capital Employed. For the PSP, the pre-set targets were based on Return On Invested Capital, Total Shareholders’ Return Relative to Straits Times Index and Absolute Total Shareholders’ Return as a multiple of Cost of Equity.
The Base Awards under the Share Plans represent the right to receive fully paid ordinary shares, their equivalent cash value or a combination thereof free of charge, provided certain prescribed performance and service conditions are met. The final number of shares to be released will depend on the achievement of the pre-determined targets at the end of the relevant performance periods. If the pre-determined targets are exceeded, more shares than the Base Awards can be delivered, subject to a maximum percentage of the Base Awards.
The aggregate number of new ordinary shares allotted and issued and/or to be allotted and issued, when aggregated with existing ordinary shares (including shares held in treasury) delivered and/or to be delivered, (i) pursuant to the RSP and the PSP, shall not exceed 10% of the total number of issued ordinary shares of the Company (excluding treasury shares) and (ii) pursuant to the RSP 2019 shall not exceed 8% of the total number of issued ordinary shares of the Company (excluding treasury shares and subsidiary holdings) from time to time. Although the 8% limit under the RSP 2019 is lower than the 10% limit under the RSP and the PSP, the Company is of the view that an 8% limit will be sufficient to achieve the primary objectives of the RSP 2019.
The RC currently does not intend, in any given year, to grant awards under the RSP 2019 which would comprise more than 0.8% of the total number of issued ordinary shares from time to time (the “Yearly Limit”). However, if the Yearly Limit is not fully utilised in any given year, the balance of the unutilised Yearly Limit may be used by the Company to make grants of awards in subsequent years.