Amec chief's pay exceeds £1m mark

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The Independent Online

Sir Peter Mason, the chief executive of Amec, the project management group that is helping to rebuild Iraq, has joined the ranks of businessmen being paid more than £1m a year, after a pay rise of 42 per cent in 2003.

Sir Peter Mason, the chief executive of Amec, the project management group that is helping to rebuild Iraq, has joined the ranks of businessmen being paid more than £1m a year, after a pay rise of 42 per cent in 2003.

Sir Peter took home £628,000 in basic pay, plus a £356,000 bonus in recognition of the surge in the share price of the building giant. With other benefits, his remuneration was £1.02m. In contrast to the loss of confidence by the stock market in public-sector contractors such as Amey and Jarvis, Amec's shares have risen more than 100 per cent in the past 18 months.

Last month Amec won contracts worth £890m to rebuild energy and water facilities in Iraq. However, it said earlier this month that the US-backed Coalition Provisional Authority had stopped work on many of the reconstruction projects due to fears that some areas had become too difficult to work in.

Amec's new head of UK and American operations, Carlos Riva, was paid £426,000 for four months' work. His package includes a £84,000 "guaran-teed bonus".

Amec, along with companies such as Balfour Beatty, Carillion, and John Laing, have benefited from the Government's fondness for private finance initiatives.

In contrast, Jarvis and Amey have had their fingers burnt by bidding too aggressively for PFI contracts. Even Amey, which was hit by a string of problems in 2002, is now a strong player in the market since it was bought by the Spanish firm Grupo Ferrovial.

The size of the total market for PFI is huge. By 2003, just six years after the PFI market was kick-started, 570 PFI deals had been signed with a total value of £36bn.

The Department of Health has signed the most - 126 - which are worth £3bn.

Mike Welton, Sir Peter's successor at Amec's rival, Balfour Beatty, the UK's biggest construction company, was paid £582,000 last year.

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