Monday, December 22, 2014

Time for Orleans Homebuilders to face the shareholders

The Bensalem builder of new homes has its annual meeting on Thursday in the midst of an ongoing downturn in the housing market.

Time for Orleans Homebuilders to face the shareholders

With housing nationally still on the slide, any gathering of shareholders of companies involved in the sector is likely to be a glum affair.

On Thursday, Orleans Homebuilders Inc. will hold its annual meeting at the offices of WolfBlock LLP, 1650 Arch St., on the 22nd floor. The meeting starts at 11 a.m.

Orleans, which takes its name from the family that founded it rather than the Big Easy, has seen its shares fall 58 percent over the last 52 weeks. The 16-member Bloomberg U.S. Home Builders Index is down 45 percent over that same time period.

Executive compensation in the homebuilding industry has attracted some renewed focus, especially now that builders are among the companies calling for federal help. In the case of Orleans, its compensation committee on Sept. 26 decided no bonus payments would be paid from its incentive compensation plan.

However, it did choose to pay some discretionary bonuses, including $114,343 to Thomas R. Vesey, executive vice president of the Southern region.

And the comp committee cut one executive’s salary by $200,000 to $325,000 - still a lot of money to most of us. According to the most recent proxy statement, the reason the company cut C. Dean Amann II’s salary was to “reflect changes in the homebuilding industry” and to “realign” Amann’s package with those of Orleans’ regional executive vice presidents.

CEO Jeffrey P. Orleans received a base salary of $1.1 million for the fiscal year ended June 30. He was eligible to receive a bonus equal to 3 percent of the homebuilder’s net pretax profits, but given that it had none, his bonus was 3 percent of zero.

But Jeffrey Orleans, 62, did get a discretionary bonus of $300,000 for what the compensation committee called “his considerable sales efforts” in a difficult environment, “retooling” of the builder’s new-home lineup, and help in reducing the company’s overall debt.

Earnings

Thursday: Toll Bros.

Friday: C&D Technologies.

Power Speaker

John W. Rowe, chairman and CEO of Exelon Corp., will be talking about energy dependence and climate change at a World Affairs Council of Philadelphia event at the Union League of Philadelphia, 140 S. Broad St., Thursday, 6:15 p.m.

Rowe has been making the rounds of various forums and has been talking up his utility’s plan to “reduce, offset or displace” 15 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

The benefit of hearing the leader of the company that owns Philadelphia’s Peco speak in person comes with a cost. It’s $20 for World Affairs Council members and $25 for everyone else.

If you want to go, you must make a reservation by calling the council at 215-561-4700 or through its Web site at www.wacphila.org.

Plane Talk

The bankruptcy of a New Mexico aircraft maker will cost most of its suppliers money, including two Philadelphia companies.

Eclipse Aviation Corp., a maker of small jet aircraft, filed for Chapter 11 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington last week, citing assets of up to $500 million and liabilities exceeding $1 billion.

On the list of the largest unsecured creditors submitted to the court are TW Metals, an Exton-based distributor of steel products, which is owed $5.9 million, and Innovative Solutions & Support Inc., also of Exton, owed $4.3 million. Innovative Solutions is a publicly held provider of aircraft electronics.

Plans calls for Eclipse to sell its assets at a public auction in January.

Mike Armstrong Inquirer Columnist
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Mike Armstrong Inquirer Columnist
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