Wednesday 29 July 2020 9:05 am

Wizz Air shareholders revolt against CEO bonus

Wizz Air shareholders have voted down its directors’ executive pay for the year, a week after shareholders raised concerns about a possible bonus payment to its chief executive.

CEO Jozsef Varadi was set to receive a £485,000 bonus despite Wizz Air missing its profit target for the year to 31 March.

More than half of the airline’s shareholders – 51.63 per cent – voted against the directors’ remuneration report at its AGM, the firm said today.

Read more: Wizz Air cancels Italian flights as airline warns demand could drop 10 per cent on coronavirus fears

In a statement Wizz Air said: “The board, through the newly comprised Remuneration Committee, intends to re-engage with shareholders in the coming months to continue to consult on remuneration and wider governance matters.”

In a trading update also released today the airline said its earnings plunged 95 per cent in the first quarter of the year.

It posted underlying earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) of €8.9m (£8.06m) in the three months to June, down from €187.2m in the same period last year.

As one of the first airlines to resume flights, Wizz Air said it was flying at 70 per cent of its capacity in June. However the number of passengers carried this year plunged 93.2 per cent from more than 10m to 707,184.

Read more: Wizz Air agrees to launch spin-off airline out of Abu Dhabi

Chief executive Jozsef Varadi said: “We remain focused on gradually ramping up operations whilst protecting the health of customers and employees. Where needed we will be open to stimulate traffic, while protecting our strong cash position and minimising cost.”

“As the lowest cost producer operating the youngest and most efficient fleet of aircraft, we are best positioned to double down on the opportunities that present themselves and further contribute to the vital mobilisation and recovery of the economy in our markets. I believe Wizz Air will emerge as a structural winner post-Covid-19.”

Barclays said: “Wizz Air is clearly delivering more than most, and capacity plans have indeed increased since the last update.”

“That said, increasing infection rates in some regions and government policies on travel restrictions mean that the demand outlook remains uncertain and Wizz Air remains vulnerable.”

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