A TOP fund manager has slammed the board of directors at Eastern Cape-based poultry producer Sovereign Food Investments for not exercising their fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interests of shareholders.

In a letter seen by Business Day, Aeon Asset Management chief investment officer Asief Mohamed argued that by significantly lowering a performance threshold, the company’s executive management was able to earn bonuses and additional share option allocations for the 2015 financial year at a cost to shareholders.

This matter was debated last month at a stormy Sovereign annual general meeting in Uitenhage where several asset managers and investors — including Mr Mohamed and Opportune Investments CEO Chris Logan — expressed outrage at the bonus payments to executives. Mr Mohamed, who represents a 4% holding in Sovereign, contended that the company’s bonus and share option costs of R51m were disproportionately large, amounting to 32% of profits before tax.

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