Berkeley Group's bosses just sold £50m of shares

Emma Haslett
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Tony Pidgley (left) founded Berkeley Group in the 1970s (Source: Getty)

Two senior executives at London-focused housebuilder Berkeley Group have netted almost £50m between them by selling more than 1m shares in the company.

Berkeley Group said today Tony Pidgley, the company's founder and chairman, had sold 750,000 shares at £38.50 apiece, making a total of £28.88m. Rob Perrins, its chief executive, sold 500,000 shares at the same value, making £19.25m. Between them, they netted £48.13m.

Between them, the pair still has over £200m of shares in the company.

The move comes just weeks after Pidgley and Perrins' bonuses caused uproar at the housebuilder's AGM, when 16 per cent of shareholders voted against the company's executive remuneration policy.

Bosses have been handed a £92m long-term share bonus, with Pidgley receiving £29.2m and Perrins handed £28m. At the AGM the company was seeking to reward bosses with 19.6m shares, then worth £725m, for exceeding a 10-year target.

Berkeley Group shares have risen strongly since the EU referendum: having sunk as low as 2,345p in November last year, they were at 3,835p this morning, 63 per cent higher. However, shares were trading 2.7 per cent lower in late morning trading today.

Berkeley Group did not comment.

London suffers

There have been increasing signs Berkeley Group's core market is beginning to suffer. In a trading update in September it warned on the capital's housing market, saying: "The London market adverseley affected by both uncertainty around the terms and implications of Brexit and the changes in recent years to [stamp duty] and mortgage interest rate deductability".

Unlike many of its rivals, Berkeley Group's high-end offerings do not lend themselves to the government's Help to Buy scheme, which has been credited with propping up the new-building housing market. Research by Jefferies has suggested no sales at Berkeley Group have been made under the scheme, compared with 45 per cent at Taylor Wimpey and 35 per cent at Barratt.

Pidgley famously called the top of London's housing market in the run-up to the last financial crisis.

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