Saturday 3 December 2016

Killian's €877,000 bonus is withheld by Aryzta

Published 04/10/2016 | 02:30

Owen Killian, chief executive of the Irish-Swiss food group
Owen Killian, chief executive of the Irish-Swiss food group

The embattled chief executive of Irish-Swiss food group Aryzta, Owen Killian, has had his €877,000 bonus withheld by the group until the company's earnings start growing.

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The move heaps pressure on Mr Killian, who's been fighting to bolster investor confidence amid concerns about Aryzta's sales growth, acquisition strategy and a tougher North American market.

The company owns brands including Cuisine de France. Its corporate customers include chains such as McDonald's and Subway.

Accounts published by Aryzta yesterday confirm that Mr Killian's performance-related bonus has been "withheld pending resumption of growth in underlying, fully diluted earnings per share".

Other senior executives received their bonuses, however. They amounted to 2.1m Swiss francs (€1.9m).

Aryzta's fully diluted earnings per share barely budged between 2014 and 2015, and declined 5pc in the last financial year to 350.2 cent.

Mr Killian said that the figure in the current financial year, which ends next year, will be in line with consensus of 358 cent.

But the group is relying on lower interest rates on its debt to help secure that number.

The company did not specify whether or not such growth is sufficient for Mr Killian to receive the bonus that was withheld.

Mr Killian was paid a basic salary of 1.27m Swiss francs (€1.16m) in the last financial year.

Killian sold €16m worth of shares in Aryza earlier this year, causing the company's share price to slump. He said he regretted the move, but that it was triggered by the weakness in the share price impacting the collateral value of the share.

At the end of July, Mr Killian had 216,530 shares in Aryzta, compared to 633,816 at the end of July 2015. His current holding is valued at 9.7m Swiss francs (€8.8m).

Aryzta's earnings before interest, tax, and amortisation (EBITA) declined 5.7pc to €484.8m in the 12 months to the end of July.

The company has hired former Smurfit Kappa boss Gary McGann as its chairman. He takes up the role formally in December and will begin a review of Aryzta's interest in French frozen food company Picard. Aryzta owns 49pc of the firm.

Irish Independent

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