April 25, 2014 / 7:16 AM / 4 years ago

AstraZeneca shareholders protest over pay at AGM

LONDON, April 25 (Reuters) - AstraZeneca shareholders have protested against executive pay at Britain’s second biggest drugmaker, with 38.54 percent of votes cast at its annual meeting opposing the company’s remuneration report.

The voting results from the meeting were released late on Thursday.

“We are disappointed with the vote and it is our priority to carefully analyse it and talk to our shareholders to fully understand any concerns,” a company spokeswoman said.

Prior to the meeting, AstraZeneca had received only limited feedback from shareholders on the topic of remuneration, she added.

Chief Executive Pascal Soriot received a total pay package of 3.34 million pounds ($5.6 million) in 2013, down from 3.69 million in 2012.

Some investors are concerned at the steep fall in sales and profits at the drugmaker, which is facing the loss of patent protection on many of its most important medicines.

Soriot replaced previous CEO David Brennan following investor dissatisfaction with his performance and the incoming Frenchman has been credited by many analysts with improving the pipeline of new drugs.

Although turning around the group’s financial performance will take several years, optimism about its line-up of experimental drugs - notably in cancer - has driven a rally in the share price in the past year. The stock hit a record high on Thursday after it reported first-quarter results, amid speculation of a possible bid from Pfizer.

$1 = 0.5953 British Pounds Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by David Holmes

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