3i directors and staff set to win 50m pounds from float

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The Independent Online
FLOTATION of 3i, the investment group, could value options and existing shareholdings of staff and directors at nearly pounds 50m, according to the group's annual report, published yesterday.

The flotation, worth more than pounds 1bn, has been postponed to next year because of slow economic recovery and increasing resistance in the City to new issues.

If it goes ahead at around pounds 5 a share, 120 directors and senior management will make a profit totalling pounds 19.3m by exercising their options, according to research by the joint brokers, County NatWest, Cazenove and Barclays de Zoete Wedd.

Existing and former employees own 5.8 million shares, worth pounds 29m. Combined with the options, these would give staff and directors 5.7 per cent of the group.

The brokers said the 3i executive options are more modest than those in many existing venture capital funds, provide 'excellent motivation,' and their exercise is spread out over time. Altogether, 400 staff and directors have options or profit shares.

Two directors of the group, which specialises in financing entrepreneurs, are already paper millionaires on the basis of the expected flotation price. Jon Foulds, the deputy chairman, has almost 456,000 shares and David Marlow has 218,000.

There are also five board members with options over the next few years to buy between 245,000 and 372,000 shares, but the exercise prices are not revealed.

The accounts show that Derek Sachs, the former managing director who left earlier this year, received pounds 293,000 as a payoff. But the highest-paid director has taken a pay cut of pounds 100,000 to pounds 314,000, including a bonus.

Ewen Macpherson, the chief executive, revealing a revenue surplus before tax down from pounds 56m to pounds 40m, but a pounds 44m rise in asset value to pounds 1.268bn, said he saw only patchy signs of economic recovery.

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