GPE executives get big bonuses while slump hits profits

GREAT Portland Estates, the West End property group, has handed out a total &pound;1.3m in executive bonus payouts, despite sinking to a &pound;436m pre-tax loss last year.<br /><br />The property group is expected to face clashes when it meets shareholders at its annual meeting next month.<br /><br />Since the downturn bonuses have been in the spotlight as companies are under fire for rewarding failure.<br /><br />The group last month posted a 43.5 per cent fall in full-year adjusted net asset value as the economic turmoil battered commercial property prices in the capital.<br /><br />Despite the property slump, chief executive Toby Courtauld was awarded a &pound;402,000 bonus on top of his &pound;446,000 salary for the year ended 31 March 2009, taking his total pay-package to &pound;859,000.<br /><br />The executive directors awarded significant performance based bonuses include finance director Timon Drakesmith who was also awarded a &pound;287,000 bonus; property director Robert Noel who gained a &pound;321,000 reward, and development director Neil Thompson who received a &pound;300,000 payout.<br /><br />The group&rsquo;s annual report said that while the directors failed to meet the bonus plan targets for net asset value targets &ldquo;overall the company has continued to perform well, both in its relative performance, and in the executive directors&rsquo; achievement of their personal objectives.&rdquo;<br /><br />The group&rsquo;s share price has almost halved in the last twelve months. However, unlike many of its peers it has escaped distressed asset sales.