C&W execs defend 32m bonus plans

MANAGEMENT at Cable &amp; Wireless (C&amp;W) yesterday defended its remuneration plans, which will see top management take a share of a &pound;32m bonus pot later this month.<br /><br />&ldquo;Ours is a bonus for performance, not under-performance,&rdquo; C&amp;W group finance director Tim Pennington told CityA.M., referring to Shell&rsquo;s bonus scheme, which its shareholders have opposed due to the company&rsquo;s failure to meet performance targets.<br /><br />&ldquo;In terms of total shareholder return, C&amp;W is the fifth best performer on the FTSE 100. Our shareholders deserve to be paid, and so do we,&rdquo; he added.<br /><br />C&amp;W&rsquo;s remuneration package is subject to shareholder approval at its annual general meeting in July. But in a climate where shareholders are questioning executive pay packages, nothing should be taken for granted.<br /><br />The telcoms giant said yesterday that its full-year profits had fallen by 13 per cent to &pound;233m, knocked down by &pound;189m of exceptional losses relating to the costs of a revamp and the acquisition of Glasgow-based operator Thus.<br /><br />But a strong performance at Thus and the strengthening of the dollar against the pound saw revenue rise 16 per cent to &pound;3.65bn. Earnings leapt by 36 per cent to &pound;822m.<br /><br />Worldwide, the division formerly known as Europe, Asia and US, showed earnings growth of 49 per cent on last year and CWI, which covers markets in the Caribbean, Panama and others, rose by 11 per cent. Worldwide&rsquo;s executive chairman John Pluthero is expected to receive a bonus of over &pound;8m this year.<br /><br />C&amp;W upped its full-year dividend by 13 per cent to 8.5p and was upbeat about its growth prospects, forecasting group core earnings of around &pound;1bn for the coming year.<br /><br />But its shares were down 10 per cent at 142p, after news that company directors were selling shares pressure on the stock. Two directors sold some newly vested shares to cover related taxes, one sold all of the vested shares, for personal tax reasons.