In 2009, Heinz-Jürgen Bertram was appointed CEO of Symrise AG (ETR:SY1). This report will, first, examine the CEO compensation levels in comparison to CEO compensation at other big companies. Then we'll look at a snap shot of the business growth. Third, we'll reflect on the total return to shareholders over three years, as a second measure of business performance. The aim of all this is to consider the appropriateness of CEO pay levels.
How Does Heinz-Jürgen Bertram's Compensation Compare With Similar Sized Companies?
Our data indicates that Symrise AG is worth €13b, and total annual CEO compensation was reported as €2.5m for the year to December 2019. That's a fairly small increase of 0.005% on year before. We think total compensation is more important but we note that the CEO salary is lower, at €800k. We further remind readers that the CEO may face performance requirements to receive the non-salary part of the total compensation. When we examined a group of companies with market caps over €7.4b, we found that their median CEO total compensation was €4.6m. Once you start looking at very large companies, you need to take a broader range, because there simply aren't that many of them.
Now let's take a look at the pay mix on an industry and company level to gain a better understanding of where Symrise stands. Talking in terms of the sector, salary represented approximately 28% of total compensation out of all the companies we analysed, while other remuneration made up 72% of the pie. Symrise does not set aside a larger portion of remuneration in the form of salary, maintaining the same rate as the wider market.
At first glance this seems like a real positive for shareholders, since Heinz-Jürgen Bertram is paid less than the average total compensation paid by other large companies. Though positive, it's important we delve into the performance of the actual business. The graphic below shows how CEO compensation at Symrise has changed from year to year.
Is Symrise AG Growing?
On average over the last three years, Symrise AG has seen earnings per share (EPS) move in a favourable direction by 3.5% each year (using a line of best fit). In the last year, its revenue is up 8.0%.
I'm not particularly impressed by the revenue growth, but it is good to see modest EPS growth. So there are some positives here, but not enough to earn high praise. It could be important to check this free visual depiction of what analysts expect for the future.
Has Symrise AG Been A Good Investment?
Most shareholders would probably be pleased with Symrise AG for providing a total return of 45% over three years. This strong performance might mean some shareholders don't mind if the CEO were to be paid more than is normal for a company of its size.
It looks like Symrise AG pays its CEO less than the average at large companies.
Heinz-Jürgen Bertram is paid less than what is normal at large companies, and the total shareholder return has been pleasing over the last three years. We would like to see EPS growth, but in our view it seems the CEO is modestly remunerated. On another note, we've spotted 2 warning signs for Symrise that investors should look into moving forward.
Arguably, business quality is much more important than CEO compensation levels. So check out this free list of interesting companies, that have HIGH return on equity and low debt.
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