Blood money?

blood.jpegLate yesterday, two years after it filed the original K, Immucor (BLUD) filed an amendment for its 10-K for the year ended May 31, 2004 that corrected a seemingly small detail: how much money CEO Dr. Gioacchino De Chirico would receive if his job was eliminated following a change in control. As yesterday’s filing noted, the contract included in the earlier filing (not to mention subsequent proxy filings) all said two years. But the correct contract actually calls for five years, a significant difference in anyone’s book. There’s also the part about Dr. De Chirico being able to terminate the contract (and collect the five years) if Immucor’s offices are moved more than 30 miles from Norcross, Ga.

Immucor’s stock has had quite a run over the past year, essentially doubling in price since last December. In September, Dr. De Chirico, who had been president and COO of the company, was tapped to succeed founder and longtime CEO Edward Gallup. As that release noted, Dr. De Chirico had been Immucor’s CEO briefly in mid-2004, but gave up the job when the company’s board began questioning various payments made to Italian officials when he was head of Immucor’s Italian subsidiary (see this article for more details). It’s not clear from current filings whether an SEC investigation of this issue or several lawsuits filed in Italy against the company and Dr. De Chirico have been resolved, though the company said in September that it hoped to settle the SEC issue shortly.

As for the contract correction, it could be just an innocent mistake that’s taken more than two years to correct. Or it could be a sign that buying Immucor may be a lot more expensive than initially thought.