Norway criticises management bonuses at fish farmer Cermaq
OSLO Oct 15 (Reuters) - Bonuses for the management of Norwegian fish farmer Cermaq after a recent asset sale were excessive and should have first been cleared with the state, its top shareholder, the trade ministry, said on Tuesday.
"I'm not satisfied with the fact that the government was not informed of the bonuses either before of after they were set up in May 2013," trade minister Trond Giske told Cermaq Chairman Bård Mikkelsen in a letter.
"As I see it, the additional agreements (on bonuses) are clearly in excess of what we as the largest shareholder have supported," Giske said.
Cermaq fought off a hostile takeover attempt from Marine Harvest this year after the state increased its stake to nearly 60 percent, and management agreed to sell the firm's fish feed arm EWOS for a 6.5 billion crowns ($1.09 billion), including debt.
After the deal, which is expected to close later this month, management will be entitled to a bonus equalling six months of salary.
Although the state owns the majority of Cermaq, it does not have a board member as part of a decades-long practice of keeping the government's representatives out of direct involvement in the state's numerous firms.
Cermaq officials could not immediately be reached for comment.
($1 = 5.9745 Norwegian krones) (Reporting by Terje Solsvik; Writing by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Mark Potter)