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Business News

Directors at Asos share windfall of £50m


Five directors at Asos, the online fashion retailer, have shared a windfall of nearly £50m after they cashed in shares under long-term incentive plans.

The sell-off sent shares in Asos tumbling for the second day running, despite it unveiling a surge in annual profits yesterday.

Nick Robertson, the retailer’s chief executive and co-founder, has received £16m after he sold nearly 750,000 shares at 2,150p. Under the plan that took effect from April 2009, Robertson and six other directors invested about £200,000 each of their money in the scheme. Lord Alli, who will be replaced as chairman by Brian McBride next month, has sold slightly more shares to bag a cool £16.8m.

Following this year’s shareholder spring, the huge payout will reignite the debate over executive pay, although Asos’s shares and profits have enjoyed an almost uninterrupted upward trajectory since it listed in 2001.

While shares in Asos tumbled by 111p to 2,215p yesterday after a 6.7 per cent fall on Thursday, they are still up by more than  75 per cent this year. A spokesman said: “This is a reward for super outperformance and value creation.”

The finance director Nicholas Beighton has sold shares worth £7.9m, international director Jonathan Kamaluddin has pocketed £6.6m and e-commerce chief James Hart has bagged £1m. Asos grew profits by 40 per cent to £44.5m over the year to 31 August.