Deacon Chiu Te-ken, the chairman of Far East Consortium International, has agreed to a cut in his director's fees this year in response to the company's poor performance last year. Facing angry shareholders at the company's annual meeting yesterday, Mr Chiu, 71, said he was cutting his fees from $30,000 a year to $25,000. However, fees for the other directors on the 11-member board - six of which belong to the Chiu family - will remain unchanged at $25,000 each. Despite the fact that small shareholders expressed dissatisfaction at the company's performance, Mr Chiu's decision to shave his fees was not made in response to any request from them. Far East, in which Mr Chiu holds a personal stake of more than 20 per cent, suffered a 35.8 per cent drop in attributable profit to $134 million in the year to March. One small shareholder pointed out that this level of earnings represented a return on equity of only 4.6 per cent, worse than that from bank deposits. 'It's very difficult to explain this. We will work harder next year,' Mr Chiu said. 'Some companies in Hong Kong make big profits, some make less, and some even lose money. I can't help it. 'Are you asking me to resign and you take over the chair' he told one questioner? That same shareholder also called on the board to scrap the option available to shareholders to receive the final dividend of five cents a share in the form of new shares, saying that such a move would increase the total number of shares on issue and reduce net asset value per share. Fong Hup, a partner of auditors Kwan Wong Tan & Fong, said the scrip dividend scheme allowed Far East to retain more cash resources within the company for further development. If shareholders chose to scrap the scheme, the company might need to make special arrangements to generate enough cash to pay the dividend, he said. Mr Chiu said Far East had bought back and cancelled about 1.3 million of its shares from the market in the last fiscal year, which meant its total shares on issue had actually fallen. Shareholders voted yesterday to preserve the scheme.