Granada options net Allen pounds 3m

THE CHIEF executive of Granada yesterday pocketed more than pounds 3m after cashing in share options in the hotels to television conglomerate.

Charles Allen exercised options over 412,500 shares at prices between 190p and 497p, and promptly sold them all at 1,063p. Mr Allen still holds 30,700 shares in the company. It is understood the proceeds will fund a house just purchased by Mr Allen, which is believed to have cost around pounds 2m.

Granada shares have soared in the past six months, helped by a steady stream of disposals which culminated in Tuesday's sale of its stake in the Savoy luxury hotel group. The shares closed at 1,065p yesterday, up 35p. Last July, they were worth just 738p.

Granada will receive pounds 310m in cash by selling its 68 per cent stake in the Savoy hotel group to Blackstone, the US investment company. The disposal programme, initiated after Granada's successful takeover of the Forte hotels group in February 1996, has brought in a great deal more than expected.

News of the share sale comes just a few weeks after Granada survived a shareholder revolt at its annual general meeting. The company was heavily criticised for making large payments to its executive directors in compensation for reducing the size of their pay-offs in the event of a takeover from three years to two.