Sunday 4 December 2016

The €5.5m man: CRH's Manifold is Ireland's best-paid CEO

Siobhan Talbot is Ireland's best-paid female CEO, with €3.5m a year from Glanbia, writes Gavin McLoughlin

Published 17/04/2016 | 02:30

Albert Manifold of CRH
Albert Manifold of CRH
Stan McCarthy of Kerry Group
Eamonn Rothwell of Irish Continental Group
Siobhan Talbot of Glanbia
Michael O'Leary of Ryanair
Tom O'Mahony of Origin
Gene Murtagh Jnr of Kingspan

CRH chief executive Albert Manifold was the best-paid boss of a major Irish-listed company in 2015, according to a Sunday Independent survey.

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The cement maker's boss succeeds last year's winner Gary McGann with a pay package of €5.53m.

It was a strategically important year for the ISEQ20's biggest company by market cap. It spent nearly €8bn on acquisitions on the back of the massive Lafarge-Holcim merger, which saw a number of assets freed up out of competition law compliance.

The firm recently said that it had sold its stake in Israeli cement firm Mashav - whose cement was used in the security wall separating Israel from the West Bank - which had led to CRH targeted by pro-Palestinian activists at AGMs. CRH's subsidiary Irish Cement has been embroiled in a row with the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission after a dawn raid. The High Court recently ruled that certain emails seized in the raid could not be used, but the CCPC said it was continuing its investigation into alleged anti-competitive practices by Irish Cement.

In second place was Kerry Group boss Stan McCarthy, who made $4.61m (€4.23m based on the dollar-euro exchange rate at the end of the company's financial year). Kerry saw its trading profit jump 10pc to €700m in 2015, and is the third-biggest company on the ISEQ20 by market cap. It has become increasingly focused on using food technology to improve its products' nutritional values and taste in the rapidly evolving market.

ICG chief executive Eamonn Rothwell rounded out the top three with a package of €3.71m. That was made up of €2.2m of a directors' remuneration package, plus €1.59m of paper profits on the day he exercised 500,000 share options in March 2015.

Rothwell's elevated position is perhaps the biggest surprise result of this year's survey. His company Irish Continental Group (ICG) is the parent of Irish Ferries, and ICG posted impressive results for its 2015 financial year with EBITDA up almost 50pc to €75.5m.

The list is determined from a survey of annual reports. Remuneration packages as broken down by the company were, if companies broke out such things separately, added to shares that became vested under incentive plans (meaning they become an entitlement of the chief executive), and paper profits made on the day share options were exercised.

The figures are calculated before tax, and are based on each company's 2015 financial year - which is not in all cases the calendar year of 2015.

Glanbia group managing director Siobhan Talbot in fourth place was the highest-paid woman on the list. She and FBD boss Fiona Muldoon are the only women that lead ISEQ20 companies.

Talbot's pay was comprised of a basic package of €1.90m, plus €1.61m of share awards that vested during the year. She's also entitled to 700 shares held over from a previous long-term incentive scheme, Glanbia's annual report said, worth around €12,000 as of the company's financial year-end.

In recent years Glanbia, most famous for dairy products, has been increasing its emphasis on "performance nutrition" products like protein shakes.

This year its performance nutrition arm grew its EBITA (earnings before interest, tax and amortisation) by 28.3pc on a constant currency basis. The company's plan is to "respond to the global megatrends of nutrition," Talbot said when the results were announced.

In fifth place is the man now leading the company that provided last year's survey topper. Tony Smurfit replaced Gary McGann as the chief executive of the paper and packaging company during 2015, which is bound to account in part for the company's drop down the table.

Previously the company's chief operations officer, Smurfit is the son of Michael Smurfit and under his leadership the company is poised later this month to secure premium listing in London to increase the company's profile and attract potential new investors.

The company's Irish listing would become its secondary listing under the plan.

US company International Paper was linked with a takeover approach for Smurfit during the year but this has not materialised, as of yet at least. Smurfit Kappa's revenue was effectively flat during 2015, but pre-tax profit rose by more than 50pc.

The high-profile Smurfit is followed on the list by the most high-profile of all Irish chief executives, Michael O'Leary.

Pre-tax profits soared by two thirds in Ryanair's 2015 financial year, with O'Leary's new strategy of being nice to customers appearing to work.

In recent weeks O'Leary has been in the newspapers more often for his horses' success on the racetrack, but more significant is his comment last week to the Irish Independent that there's a 50/50 chance he'll retire when his contract expires in 2019.

O'Leary also got an enormous five million share options during fiscal 2015, but vesting of these is subject to performance targets.

It hasn't all been plain-sailing in the current financial year, however, with the airline's fuel-hedging strategy coming under criticism for locking the company at prices well above the going rate for a barrel of oil.

Origin Enterprises boss Tom O'Mahony comes in seventh place and that's another name that is perhaps surprisingly high.

His basic remuneration package came to €890,000, but under a 2012 long-term performance incentive 181,518 shares in agri-services business Origin can now transfer to O'Mahony, Origin's annual report said, adding that he had not as of the date of the report served notice of transfer of ownership.

Based on the Origin share price at the end of the company's financial year, the shares added an extra €1.38m to O'Mahony's wealth.

It was an important year for the company with previous majority owner Aryzta selling out, part during the 2015 financial year, and part after.

In eighth was media-shy Gene Murtagh of Kingspan, with a package of €2.14m. That was made up of a €1.75m basic package and almost €400,000 from exercising share options.

He's been quietly effective and on the acquistions trail. Last year trading profit rose 72pc to €256m, with acquisitions a big contribution to that.

Aryzta boss Owen Killian, previously a survey topper in this exercise, found himself in ninth place.

His company has had a disastrous run in the last 13 months or so, and underlying revenue declined in its fiscal 2015, which ended on July 31.

Its decision to acquire a large minority stake in French frozen food retailer Picard was badly received, and the recent news that Killian had sold shares following a margin call saw the shares plummet.

Rounding out the top 10 was David McCann of Fyffes with a pay package of €1.25m.

Outstripping the bosses on this list however is Icon (Irish-based but New York-listed) chief executive Ciaran Murray, who received a pay package worth almost $12.65m (€11.61m at Friday's rates) last year.

His 2015 pay consisted of a base salary of $1.24m, a bonus of $2.57m, a pension contribution of $155,000, "other compensation" of $39,000 and share-based compensation of $6.84m. On top of that, he was paid $1.8m of a bonus relating to a long-term incentive plan (LTIP) adopted by the company in 2012.

As a new entity formed during Paddy Power's fiscal 2015, Paddy Power Betfair was not included in this survey. Data for Total Produce was not available.

Kevin Nowlan of Hibernia REIT had his payment directed to a management company of which other Hibernia REIT managers are directors, with no individual breakdown in the accounts.

A similar arrangement is in place at Green REIT, with no 2015 data available from the management company's accounts.

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