Heseltine's Haymarket doubles directors' pay

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The Independent Online

Michael Heseltine's Haymarket Publishing has doubled the pay of its directors after returning to the black last year.

Haymarket, which is run by Lord Heseltine's son Rupert, the executive chairman, reported a £5.1m pre-tax profit in 2010. This compares with a £3.9m loss the year before. Sales rose by 3.9 per cent to £234.7m.

The group's highest-paid director was awarded a total of £2.25m in 2010, compared with £1.3m in 2009. And the combined pay of Haymarket's directors rose from £2.1m to £4.2m over the period. Haymarket benefited from a strong performance in its US business, where pre-tax profits jumped by 41.5 per cent to £2.48m.

Meanwhile, in the UK, losses narrowed from £5.9m in 2009 to £77,000 last year.

Haymarket, which owns gadget title Stuff, Autocar and PR Week, reported a 16 per cent rise in revenues to £34m at its "other countries" operations. This block includes Australia, Germany, Hong Kong and India, and the sales increase lifted its pre-tax profits more than 10-fold, from £232,000 to £2.4m.

Privately-run Haymarket has struggled to pay its debts in the past two years as the recession ate away at advertising revenues. The group's net debt grew last year, from £115.5m on 1 January to £123.6m on 31 December.