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CRH locks in three key executives for five years with 'golden handcuffs' deal

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CRH finance chief Maeve Carton and CEO Albert Manifold. Photo: Frank McGrath

CRH finance chief Maeve Carton and CEO Albert Manifold. Photo: Frank McGrath

CRH finance chief Maeve Carton and CEO Albert Manifold. Photo: Frank McGrath

CRH has locked in new chief executive Albert Manifold, finance chief Maeve Carton and US boss Mark Towe into a €6m set of "golden handcuffs", which ties the executive team to the cement maker for another five years.

Last week, Manifold was conditionally awarded 142,900 shares, which may not vest until 2019 subject to the company hitting certain performance targets. Based on a share price of €20, those shares are worth around €2.86m. The conditional award was made under the new CRH 2014 performance share plan.

Manifold is sitting on bonus shares worth up to €5.7m under a conditional award scheme and €6.06m in share options – although he must pay to exercise those options. These shares may kick in, if he is able to grow earnings substantially in coming years.

Last week, Mark Towe, who heads up CRH's US operat-ions, was conditionally awarded 97,100 shares under the 2014 performance share plan. The shares are worth around €1.94m at current prices but will only vest if certain targets are hit. Towe will not receive the shares for at least five years, effectively tying him to the company. Finance chief Maeve Carton was conditionally awarded 59,500 shares under the same scheme.

Manifold faces a major task in revitalising the fortunes of Ireland's biggest and most valuable company, which performed sluggishly during the downturn. Since taking the top job he has initiated a companywide review, which may see a sell-off of large numbers of non-core or weak performing assets.

Analysts believe that the cement and aggregates industry is set for an unprecedented bout of consolidation and mega mergers, with CRH likely to play a pivotal role in reshaping the sector. Rivals Holcim and Lafarge have sealed a $55bn (€40bn) merger to create the world's largest cement company. The combined entity is likely to offload more than €5bn worth of assets, with CRH tipped as a potential buyer of some of the jetissoned businesses.

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