Business Irish

Monday 18 November 2019

Greencore boss cashes in €450,000 of bonus shares

Peter Flanagan

GREENCORE boss Patrick Coveney has cashed in shares worth more than €450,000 after being awarded them as part of a long-term bonus scheme.

According to a filing with the London Stock Exchange, Greencore awarded its chief executive a total of 676,306 shares in the company for hitting targets tied to a long-term incentive plan (LTIP).

Mr Coveney then sold 400,000 of the stock to "cover tax and other associated costs".

The sale means he now holds a little more than 1.8 million shares in Greencore with a nominal value of more than €2m.

Mr Coveney was not the only Greencore director to cash in shares. Diane Walker, who heads the company's Food to Go business, was awarded 241,996 shares, selling 125,838 of them.

The LTIP plan, which has now come into effect, will see a number of executives gain shares worth more than €2m between them if the company hits a variety of business targets.

Under the scheme, which will expire in 2015, Mr Coveney stands to earn a further 603,739 shares, while Ms Walker would be awarded 336,957 shares.

Chief financial officer Alan Williams is in line for 352,794 shares while company secretary Conor O'Leary can expect to be given 75,639.

The changes come a week after Greencore beat market expectations with very strong annual results.

For the 12 months to the end of September, profits climbed nearly 80pc to €44.1m on the back of turnover, which jumped to €1.44bn.

Growth was boosted by the company's decision to buy the UK sandwiches and desserts maker Uniq, which contributed about 45pc of the company's turnover during the year.

Shares in the company were up 1pc in London yesterday at 93 pence. The stock has surged 87pc in the past year, and has been boosted by the decision to drop its listing in Dublin in favour of gaining a full quote on the London market.

LTIPs and other forms of long-term bonus schemes have become increasingly popular as companies seek a way to motivate management beyond mere short-term goals. They often provide huge windfalls for executives, but only if a business hits targets over a period of several years, rather than every quarter or annually.

Owen Killian, the Irish head of Swiss baker Aryzta, took home more than €7m two years ago, largely as a result of the firm's LTIP. Aryzta's current LTIP carries tighter conditions on how the company grows.

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