'Psagot: Queenco is heading downhill'

Psagot Queenco is head

Initial reports this week of a shareholders' meeting at Queenco failed to reflect the stormy events, the Calcalist newspaper reported on Tuesday. Shareholders approved salary terms for Ron Beeri, Chairman of Queenco's Board of Directors, but not without a struggle. The meeting saw some shareholders initially ask to defer the meeting, because, they protested, Queenco had refused to give them copies of opinions from external experts on how much Beeri should earn. It was also claimed that Beeri was to receive share options in Queenco subsidiary QLI of greater value than had originally been disclosed. Yigal Zilcah, who holds the controlling interest in Queenco, insisted that the vote on Beeri's salary terms go ahead, however. The proposal - NIS 25,000 per month (in addition to NIS 120,000 paid to Beeri as acting chairman of QLI), with an annual bonus of 1.2 million shekels and options in QLI - was approved thanks to Zilcah's support, Calcalist said. Opposing the package were the Psagot representative (with about 7% of the company shares), the Pheonix representative (6%) and other shareholders including Yalin Lapidot, Migdal and JP Morgan. The representative of Psagot, the largest institutional entity in the company, said that Queenco was a holding company, and there was no justification to pay its chairman an additional salary over his QLI pay. The Psagot representative also said the salary terms should reflect the deterioration of Queenco's financial status, that its operational profit were collapsing, and that the incessant replacement of managers over the past year had cost the company considerable sums in unnecessary salary expenses, Calcalist said. (Managing director Dror Mizeretz resigned last year; the Chairman of the Board of Directors and the Managing Director of QLI, Uri Ben Ari, was dismissed in March; and in May two directors resigned from the company: Ronny Satan and Freddy Robinson.) QLI, which coordinates Queenco's tourism projects, notably the Loutraki Casino in Greece, also has financial difficulties, the paper reported. It ended the second quarter of 2009 with a 21% fall in net revenues as compared to the same quarter last year.