Childcare company boss’ massive pay packet approved

SHAREHOLDERS in childcare giant G8 Education have ticked off CEO Gary Carroll's $840,000 pay packet and performance rights worth $630,000, despite criticism it does not meet community expectations.

Mr Carroll, who heads up the largest for-profit childcare provider in Australia and the Gold Coast's largest company by market capitalisation, took home a pay packet worth $905,290 last year including a bonus of $145,000.

On January 1 his base salary was boosted by 10.4 per cent to $840,000, prompting Labor's early education spokeswoman Amanda Rishworth to say that the remuneration was out of line with community expectations.

G8 CEO Gary Carroll, CEO. Richard Whitfield/The Australian
G8 CEO Gary Carroll, CEO. Richard Whitfield/The Australian

This morning 98.11 of shareholder votes at the annual meeting held at the Mantra on View hotel in Surfers Paradise were cast in favour of the remuneration report.

The shareholder vote is considered "advisory" and the board has no obligation to take any notice.

It was a similar story for the issue of performance rights to Mr Carroll worth close to $630,000 with 97.44 of votes in favour.

Mr Carroll would not be able to access the shares until 2022, and then only if the company can grow its earnings per share by more than 15 per cent by the end of 2021.

Elsewhere, Mr Carroll sounded an upbeat note on the childcare sector, which has recently struggled with an oversupply of centres being built around the country.

The childcare industry has struggled recently with an oversupply of centres. Photo: iStock
The childcare industry has struggled recently with an oversupply of centres. Photo: iStock

Pretax earnings fell by 12.7 per cent to $136.3 million due to weaker occupancy at G8's childcare centres and supply pressures together with higher wages.

Mr Carroll said this morning that growth in occupancy this year is at the higher end of the forecast of between 1 and 2 per cent.

He is forecasting the major part of profit growth to come in the second half based on strategic initiatives, $3 million in investment in new centres and a ramp up in "greenfield" or newly-built childcare centres.

"From a strategic perspective the group has made good progress in implementing the initiatives and capabilities required to drive sustainable growth well into the future," he said.

"Our strategy contains four key pillars - building a great team, strengthening our foundations in terms of quality, building a differentiated customer offer and driving improved financial performance."

Investors had a relatively muted reaction in intraday trading with shares down less than 1 per cent to $3.21.