Investors look to ground corporate jet deal with Petrofac CEO and founder

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The Independent Online

Shareholders in Petrofac have been urged to vote down its accounts after it emerged that the energy services company is paying $1.4m (£900,000) to hire a corporate jet from an offshore trust linked to the chief executive, Ayman Asfari.

Details of the transaction are hidden away in a brief note on page 143 of the company's 171-page annual report.

It declares the money was spent on chartering "an aeroplane used for the transport of senior management and directors of the group on company business, which is owned by an offshore trust of which the group chief executive of the company is a beneficiary".

Mr Asfari was paid $2.5m in 2011 and received a share award valued at $1.8m which vests in 2014.

The company's founder, he owns 18 per cent of the shares and received dividends of $36.4m last year. Mr Asfari further benefits from a personal assistant by Petrofac "who spends part of her time in the administration of his philanthropic work".

Because of the size of his shareholding he and the company's president, Maroun Semaan, who holds around 8 per cent of the shares, opted not to particpiate in a further, one-off "value creation scheme" bonus offered in addition to their other incentives.

A Petrofac spokesperson said: "The directors of Petrofac use a chartered aircraft for business travel to ensure they can work effectively across the business, for journeys that would be impracticable using standard commercial flights."

But Pirc, which advises some of Britain's biggest pension funds on how to vote at company meetings, said arrangements concerning the plane "are not at all clear from what is written in the accounts". "We recommend shareholders oppose the report and accounts," it said.