Lobby groups threaten revolt over pay at Imperial Tobacco

Michael Bow
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CALLS are growing for shareholders to vote down a generous new pay structure at FTSE 100 giant Imperial Tobacco when investors gather at the firm’s annual meeting at the end of the month.

Proxy voting agencies Pirc and Manifest, along with insurers’ trade body the Association of British Insurance, are understood to be threatening a no vote on changes to the firm’s share matching scheme and long term incentive plan.

Pirc said the targets that management needed to hit to get the pay reward were not “challenging” enough.

Manifest said Imperial Tobacco, which makes Lambert & Butler cigarettes, had not been open enough about the new pay structure.

“Simply leaving matters to the last minute of the run-up to the [shareholder meeting] does not create the right environment for dialogue and getting to agreement,” it said in an email to newswire Dow Jones.

It also emerged yesterday that the influential ABI had raised questions about the pay package.