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Paladin chief may have to wait for pay rise

THE 25 per cent pay cut that the Paladin Energy boss, John Borshoff, imposed on himself may be extended beyond its 12-month term if such drastic measures are needed to salvage the company.

THE 25 per cent pay cut that the Paladin Energy boss, John Borshoff, imposed on himself may be extended beyond its 12-month term if such drastic measures are needed to salvage the company.

That pledge from Mr Borshoff, the company founder, comes as Paladin employees prepare to reacquaint themselves with the economy class cabin when flying between the company's operations in Australia, Canada and Africa.

Mr Borshoff surprised the market last month when he announced plans to temporarily cut his $2.52 million remuneration package to $1.89 million as part of a cost-cutting drive within the corporate division of the uranium miner.

"There is about a $7 million cut we are hoping to achieve at the corporate level, of which about half a million is mine. But still, that's a bit," he told BusinessDay.

The cut was imposed for one year, but when asked if he would extend it into future years, Mr Borshoff said "If it justifies it, yes."

While remuneration of almost $2 million is still pretty good in a company that doesn't turn a profit, Mr Borshoff says he will notice the change to his hip pocket. "You are used to so much, and to just say 'I will do it', it takes a fair bit of will. It's like a house, no matter how big your house is, you fill it up," he said.

Criticism of Paladin and Mr Borshoff has been intense and personal over the year, as a series of missed targets added to the pressure that uranium stocks came under following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The fund manager Perpetual listed "management quality" among its reasons why Paladin did not meet the investment criteria for their global resources portfolio. And one Paladin shareholder was asked to refrain from using aggressive references after he wrote a letter to the company suggesting that Mr Borshoff and his executive colleagues should be "lynched".

Despite that sort of pressure, Mr Borshoff said the decision to take the pay cut was his. But nor will the boss be carrying the full load of belt-tightening there.

"Other people are expected to take some [action], maybe travel less or do less and I think it just spreads that weight across the whole group. People will be travelling economy, there will be a whole lot of issues, fewer consultants will be used right across the board."

Paladin has not revealed what shape the company's finances will need to be in for Mr Borshoff's pay to return to its full level, but already there are encouraging signs. Last week the sector enjoyed its best week since the Fukushima disaster, with uranium prices rising and the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, throwing her support behind the push to overturn the ban on sales to India.

Paladin shares have risen from an October low of $1.11 to close at $1.50 on Friday but are still well below the January high of $5.57.


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