Asda lifts profits but cuts its everyday tax bill


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The Independent Online

Asda boosted its profits by an impressive 23 per cent last year although the supermarket managed to see its tax bill fall thanks to a complicated web of subsidiary companies and royalty payments to its US parent, Wal-Mart.

The UK’s second-biggest supermarket saw pre-tax profits jump 23 per cent to £913.8m for the 12 months to the end of December, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Sales rose 2.1 per cent to £23.3bn, while its tax bill fell 4.1 per cent from £157.5m to £150.9m.

The tax bill was legally reduced by a £62.9m share options payment and £132.3m handed over to Asda’s US owners for technical assistance, services and royalties.

The accounts also reveal that the highest-paid director – thought to be chief executive Andy Clarke – got £1.77m last year, which was down 2 per cent on 2012.

By comparison, former Tesco boss Phil Clarke took home £1.63m in 2013 and former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King was paid £3.95m, including long-term shares and bonuses.

The company said it planned to spend £1.25bn over the next five years to improve the quality of its food and keep its prices down as part of a price war being waged between the big supermarkets and the discounters Aldi and Lidl.