Director to receive pounds 1m package from Hambros sale

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The Independent Online
A senior Hambros director is set to receive a package potentially worth close on pounds 1m following the sale of the ailing group's investment banking business to Societe Generale of France for pounds 300m.

Simon Leathes, who will combine the roles of chief executive and finance director of Hambros on completion of the deal, will receive a success fee worth pounds 252,000 for pulling off the sale of the banking business on top of an annual salary and bonus entitlement of pounds 375,000.

In addition, Mr Leathes will be entitled to a pay-off of pounds 275,000 in the event that the rump of the group is taken over, liquidated or sold off piecemeal. Shareholders will be asked to vote on the sale of Hambros Banking Group to Societe Generale and Mr Leathes' salary and bonus package at an extraordinary meeting at the group's London offices on 14 January.

The offer document detailing the terms of the sale, which was sent to shareholders yesterday, also shows that Mr Leathes holds 97,000 share options exercisable at prices ranging from 182p to 230p. Hambros shares ended the day at 252p.

Sir Chips Keswick will remain chairman of Hambros but will become a senior adviser to Societe Generale on banking and capital markets. He owns 462,000 ordinary shares and has options over a further 285,000 shares, although the vast bulk of these are at exercise prices above the current share price.

The document also confirms that there will be "significant redundancies" among the 1,400 strong staff of Hambros, concentrated mainly in the central services area.

Hambros, one of Britain's few remaining independent investment banks, has a history stretching back 159 years but has struggled in recent years, its fortunes reaching their nadir with the bank's involvement in Andrew Regan's ill-fated bid for the Co-op. In the year ended 31 March this year it made an operating profits after exceptional items of pounds 1.4m on income of pounds 166m, representing a return on net assets of just 0.5 per cent. However, the pounds 300m sale of Hambros Banking Group was achieved at a premium to the division's net asset value of pounds 283m.