Standex closes year in 'strongest financial condition'

It has been a good year for Standex International Corp., and therefore a good year for its executives, who earned a total of about $7 million in compensation in the last fiscal year, according to various filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"We exited the year in the strongest financial condition that the company has ever been in," said Roger Fix, citing the first-ever positive cash position ($4.7 million) net of debt of the Salem-based conglomerate.

Standex said it increased revenue by 5 percent, to $170 million, for the fourth quarter, and by 9 percent, to $635 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, and ended with a quarterly profit of about $14 million, about $4 million more than the same quarter in 2011.Annual net income of $31 million was down about $4 million, but that dip is primarily due to a $16 million loss on discontinued operations, namely the sale of the Air Distribution Products division, which was sold at the end of March for $16.1 million to a private equity firm.

From that sale, Standex took a $20 million hit on impairment charges, resulting in the loss, even after some $43.5 million in sales for fiscal 2012.The company also incurred $1.7 million in expenses, primarily resulting from relocating its Tri Star manufacturing operations from Dallas to Mexico, as well as consolidating other operations in Mississippi and head count reductions at its Europe engraving operations.

As of June 30, 2,000 of the company's 3,900 employees were in the United States. "Approximately 46 percent of our production workforce is situated in low-cost manufacturing regions, such as Mexico and Asia," the company said in its SEC filing.

Corporate expenses also cut into profits, up $2.5 million, or 11.9 percent, "driven primarily by increased management bonus and stock compensation expense related to exceeding performance targets," said the annual filing.

According to the filing, some $6.9 million went to the company's five top executives, roughly $1 million more than 2011.CEO Fix received nearly half of the amount — some $3.3 million (more than $400,000 more than the previous year) with almost half of his compensation in equity. Chief financial officer Thomas DeByle earned nearly $950,000, the company's top legal officer, Deborah Rosen, received compensation slightly under $1.1 million. The compensation package of John Abbott, vice president of the company's food service group, totaled $980,000, and James Mettling, vice president of human resources, earned nearly $590,000. The company's seven board members paid themselves nearly $820,000, mostly in equity, with chairman Edward Trainor leading the way with a package worth just under $170,000, according to the proxy.

Shareholders will be able to weigh in on the salaries – either in person or by proxy – on Oct. 31 at the company's annual meeting in Burlington, Mass., where they can cast an advisory vote on the executive compensation.


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