Board fees were not at the top of salaries – paying more than Apple, Microsoft and Google – NRK Nordland Chairman Freyr said board fees were not at the top of salaries

Board fees were not at the top of salaries – paying more than Apple, Microsoft and Google – NRK Nordland Chairman Freyr said board fees were not at the top of salaries

Lucrative board fees have sparked interest around battery company Freyr.

Lønnsfesten has excited many, and the matter has been discussed both in Parliament and in the NRK debate.

This happens at the same time that the company received just under NOK 200 million in government aid in Norway.

In addition, the state-owned company has The former is fine Given the promise of NOK 4 billion in loan guarantees, if the company can raise private capital.

Chairman Tom Einar Jensen defended payments in this way when he visited Debaten last week:

-We have board compensation that is comparable to companies you would normally compare us to in New York.

But is this true?

No, says Nordea’s investment director, Robert Ness.

The board received millions in bonus

Only a few top managers in the United States earn very high salaries — on paper, Ness says.

Elon Musk works at Tesla for free if we only look at the official salary. But, at the same time, he has the overall package that might make him the highest-paid CEO in the world.

Therefore, Næss looked at what companies themselves reported to the US Financial Supervision Commission (SEC).

Let’s first look at how much remuneration Freyr’s board members receive.

In Freyr’s 2022 annual report, the amount the company’s board members were paid, both in pure salary and in stock options, was listed.

Image: Screenshot of Freer’s annual report

Board positions are often rewarded in various ways, but primarily through fees (salaries paid) and shares.

At Freyr, each board member receives a fee of $100.00. This corresponds to about 1 million Norwegian kroner at today’s exchange rate.

In addition it comes Stock options Moreover.

Here, most of the directors received stock options worth approximately $363,000. It’s just under 4 million Norwegian kroner.

On average, each board member, including then-chairman Torsten Dell Sjotveit, received $636,000 – or 6.8 million kroner.

But how does Freyr compare to other firms on Wall Street?

– You’ve taken the party early

– Frere is above this level. Robert Ness says most of the board members received fees of $100,000 plus stock options worth $363,000.

Europe’s largest company, pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk, has five times the market capitalization of Equinor.

They paid the board an average of $220,000. That’s a third of what Freer paid his board members.

Investment Director Robert Ness at Nordea.

Robert Ness is Investment Director at Nordea.

Photo: Nordea

– What’s also interesting is that the hardboard packages came before the company had done anything. They have successfully raised money from the capital market, but have not yet proven that they can produce batteries in an efficient manner. And the; They also did not reach any major agreements with clients, continues Næss and adds:

– It may seem as if they’ve already started the party.

NRK asked Freyr questions about companies that she believes are comparable when it comes to board compensation. On Thursday, Freer’s communications director, Hilde Ronningsen, responded that the company was working on an answer. Since then, Freer has not responded to NRK’s ​​inquiries.

The decline in prices has affected options

In the discussion, Jensen said the overall board compensation figures were not entirely accurate.

This is due, among other things, to the fact that Freyr’s stock price is down roughly 78 percent so far in 2023.

– It’s important to say that the total board compensation numbers, with today’s stock price, the value of those options is close to zero, and the total amount is 70 percent less than indicated.

A banner bearing Freyr's name was hung on the facade of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street to indicate the company had gone public.

Freyr’s logo was adorning the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street when the company went public in the summer of 2021.

Photo: AP

I asked the Minister of Business and Industry about wages

Freer’s salary level was also a topic in Parliament on Thursday.

Geir Jørgensen (Rødt) wanted to know what wage requirements had been set by Minister of Industry and Trade Jan Christian Vestre (AFP) as a prerequisite for receiving public support.

The question to the Minister: What did you do to secure the public investments that were made? Isn’t there a requirement that companies must fulfill when they receive a lot of support?

Geir Jorgensen

Geir Jørgensen in Rødt wanted to know what Business and Industry Minister Vestre had put in place regarding the requirements for companies receiving public support.

Photo: Stortinget

It was a question that Fester understood being asked.

Public support plans, whether through Innovation Norway, Enova or others, set requirements for where the financial support should go, he said.

On the other hand, Pfister was not a supporter of micromanagement of wage levels in private companies.

It can contribute to completely wrong consequences and completely wrong outcomes. We may also risk that the projects we want for Norway will not be realized in Norway, but in other countries because the uncertainty will be too great.

Industry Minister Jan Christian Vestre (AFP) in central Oslo.

Industry Minister Jan Christian Pfister (AFP) believes that the public sector cannot control salary and bonus levels in private companies in detail, even if they have received public support.

Photo: Escale y Voronis

However, he made an appeal to companies that had received public support, such as Freyr.

– Each individual company must think about its reputation, look within itself and see whether it is beneficial for them to raise questions about what the use of tax money is for.

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Hanisi Anenih

Hanisi Anenih

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