Hancock doubles pay to key staff

Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting more than doubled its spending on key personnel but reduced its staff numbers by close to 44 per cent, according to the company's long-awaited financial statements for the year to June 30, 2012.

Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting more than doubled its spending on key personnel but reduced its staff numbers by close to 44 per cent, according to the company's long-awaited financial statements for the year to June 30, 2012.

Full documents for the company's 2012 performance became public on Tuesday, four days after selected details were released to some media outlets.

Hancock reported a bottom-line profit of $3.26 billion during 2012, but that figure was inflated by $1.16 billion on the back of a deferred tax asset related to the new mining tax, as well unrealised gains from the sale of coal assets in Queensland.

Excluding those accounting measures, underlying profits were just over $1 billion, and about $139 million lower than 2011.

Revenue from existing operations was down about $59 million, while dividends to Mrs Rinehart and her family trusts fell from $12.49 million in 2011 to $10.3 million in 2012.

But Mrs Rinehart will be comforted by the fact the company's gross assets have more than doubled from $3.7 billion in 2011 to $7.6 billion in 2012.

One of the more curious features of the 2012 report was that "key management personnel compensation" more than doubled from $10.34 million in 2011 to $22.22 million in 2012.

Hancock representatives declined to comment when asked by BusinessDay as to whether that increase reflected a greater number of "key management personnel" employed, or rather that existing staff were paid more.

A sharp increase in management appears unlikely, given the company decreased its total number of senior employees from 126 in 2011 to just 70 in 2012.

Hancock's prime source of income is its stake in the Hope Downs iron ore joint venture with Rio Tinto in Western Australia.

It owns 70 per cent of Roy Hill Holdings, through which it plans to build a separate $10 billion iron ore export project.

Hancock also has substantial exposure to the media sector, ranking as the biggest shareholder in Fairfax Media, owner of this newspaper.

Hancock has now released two sets of financial results in the space of six months, after publishing its 2011 results on Christmas Eve.

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