Tuesday 12 December 2017

Greencore chief Coveney defends €1.4m package

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

GREENCORE chief executive Patrick Coveney was yesterday forced to defend his €1.4m pay package amid testy scenes at his company's annual general meeting.

Mr Coveney and the rest of the company's board came under repeated attack from shareholders regarding their allegedly "excessive" remuneration.

Speaking to the Irish Independent after the event, Mr Coveney said shareholders' concern in general was "very understandable in the current environment".

"Greencore has a very robust process of benchmarking all compensation that is paid and personally I'm hugely conscious of what I'm paid and the great personal responsibility I have to make sure to drive the business forward," he said.

The AGM came as Greencore released a very strong interim management statement for its first quarter which showed like for like revenue from continuing business surged 11.2pc to £357.6m (€425.75m).

Including business gained through last year's Uniq acquisition, revenue was up more than 50pc to £375.4m.

The key convenience foods division recorded revenue of £353.8m, an increase of 57.2pc on the prior year.

"The integration of the Uniq business continues to progress in line with our plans," said the company, while the ingredients and property division is "performing in line with expectations" with turnover up 3.2pc.

Mr Coveney was very pleased with the business performance so far but acknowledged the seemingly worsening UK economy.

"We reported very good revenue growth and were appropriately cautious about how the year may unfold not because of any specific thing but because there are a lot of uncertainties baked into the UK consumer market and elsewhere.

"We've seen our types of categories progress very well whether the macro environment there is good bad or indifferent."

Greencore remains on course for admission to the FTSE indices by March 19 and trading volume is already running at "three or four times" what it had been in Dublin.

The share closed up 2.58pc at 69.5 pence.

Irish Independent

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