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Unilife shareholder alleges excessive compensation

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A shareholder in York County-based Unilife Corp. has filed a derivative complaint in Delaware Chancery Court accusing the company of excessive and wasteful compensation to its non-executive directors since 2010.

The shareholder is Cambridge Retirement System, represented by law firm Labaton Sucharow.

"Over the past two fiscal years, the Company has brought in less than $10 million in revenue, and has reported operating losses of more than $100 million. Over this same period, the directors of Unilife have paid themselves more than $2 million, or more than 20% of the Company's total revenues, for attending only a few board meetings a year," Labaton said in a news release. "The compensation granted to Unilife's Board is also particularly egregious when compared with the significantly lower average board compensation at Unilife's peer companies."

A recent SEC filing by Unilife said the company does not expect the lawsuit will have any material impact on its business.

"We believe that these allegations are baseless and without merit given that we have received favorable say-on-pay votes at the last three annual shareholders meetings and the shareholders previously have voted in favor of the equity grants to the directors, which is required under ASX listing rules, as recently as November 2013," the filing said.

Unilife trades its shares on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol UNIS. Its shares were at about $2.50 last February, dropping below $2 in May and then fluctuating as several class-action lawsuits were filed against the company, which says they are baseless. Unilife announced a series of contracts late in the year and one of the class-action lawsuits has been dismissed; share prices have generally been at $4 and higher since December.

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer

Heather Stauffer covers Lancaster County, nonprofits, education and health care. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at heathers@cpbj.com. Follow her on Twitter, @StaufferCPBJ.

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