Asos chief's shares worth £24m after profits leap 43%

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The Independent Online

Nick Robertson, boss of Asos, will pick up nearly £24m in shares over the next 16 months after the online fashion specialist hit the targets of a three-year management incentive plan.

The bumper payout for the co-founder of Asos and seven other senior employees was revealed as the group posted a 43 per cent leap in underlying profits to £40.9m over the year to 31 March, driven by strong growth in overseas revenues and group margins.

Mr Robertson will be awarded nearly 1.5 million shares, worth a total of £23.6m based on yesterday's share price of 1587p.

He can cash in half these shares from 30 September and the other half on the same date a year later. Under the plan that took effect on 1 April 2009, he and seven other directors invested about £200,000 of their own money into the scheme. Asos, which has 4.4 million active customers in 160 countries, expanded its market capitalisation by more than 500 per cent to £1.4bn and met its target for boosting earnings per share by a compound rate of 42 per cent over the three years to the end of March.

The firm's international retail sales more than doubled over the year to £284m, contributing 59 per cent of total sales having benefited from the launch of country-specific websites in Australia, Spain and Italy. UK retail sales rose 7 per cent to £198m and gross margin went up 180 basis points.

"At the beginning of the MIP we were turning over £200m, saying the opportunity here is that five years from now this should be a billion-pound [sales] company. We're now half-way through, both in terms of time and sales," said Mr Robertson.

Mr Robertson said the target of £1bn revenue by 2015 was "very much in sight" and that he was positive on the outlook for the current year, even though retail sales growth slowed to 34 per cent in the fourth quarter from 46 per cent in the third.