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Monday 14 October 2019

Saga shareholders give board bloody nose over pay

At the company’s annual general meeting, 28% of investors voted against the executive pay report.

Saga’s shareholders gave the firm a bloody nose at its AGM (Saga / PA)
Saga’s shareholders gave the firm a bloody nose at its AGM (Saga / PA)

By Simon Neville, Press Association City Editor

Shareholders in over-50s-focused travel and insurance business Saga, have given the company a bloody nose with 28% voting against the firm’s pay plans for executives.

All resolutions – including the re-election of the board – passed at Saga’s annual general meeting in Folkestone on Wednesday.

However, only 72% voted in favour of the remuneration report, with investors voicing their disappointment in a year that saw shares in Saga fall to all-time lows and the company forced to issue a profit warning in April.

The result came as Saga added its name to the list of travel companies to complain that the political uncertainty around Brexit has sent bookings plummeting.

Bosses said cash taken from bookings has fallen 4% for the full year to June 15 compared with the same period a year ago.

They added that profits from the division will also be affected due to high levels of discounting in the sector.

Investors were unimpressed, with shares dropping 13.1% to 32.7p in early trading on Wednesday.

Rival travel operators Thomas Cook and TUI have both issued profit warnings this year, blaming, in part, British holidaymakers who had put off travel plans over fears of a no-deal Brexit, especially when the deadline for leaving was at the end of March.

The company added: “Forward bookings for the 2020/21 year for the two new ships are broadly on track, with a significant step up in marketing activities planned for the next three months to coincide with the launch of the Spirit of Discovery.”

But the sale of its Saga Pearl II ship means operating losses for the division will be around £3 million.

In Saga’s insurance division, business fared better, with bosses revealing nearly half of all new business has been customers taking out home and car insurance on three-year fixed price policies.

Gross margins for policies, after marketing costs, are around £71 to £74 per policy, the company added.

Shares closed down 12.1% at 33.1p on Wednesday.

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