Stagecoach founders net £88m windfall

 

Sir Brian Souter and his sister Ann Gloag, the founders of Stagecoach, will receive £51m and £37m respectively from a scheme to return cash to shareholders unveiled by the transport company yesterday.

In total, Stagecoach, which runs bus and rail services across the UK as well as a burgeoning US operation, will return £340m of cash to shareholders. Investors will be given a choice of taking the money, worth 47p a share, via a special dividend or as a capital gain.

The payments to Sir Brian, who is Stagecoach's chief executive, and Ms Gloag, sparked some controversy, with trade unions protesting that the scheme had been announced only days after train passengers were told to expect steep fare increases.

Gerry Doherty, the leader of the TSSA rail union, said: "It is a scandal that Sir Brian Souter is awarding himself a payment of £50m in the same week as rail passengers are told they will have to pay an extra 25 per cent in fares over the next three years."

However, Stagecoach said the cash return had nothing to do with the fare increases. Martin Griffiths, Stagecoach's finance director, said: "Our shareholders have made it very clear that they like this – what they don't like is companies that become fat and lazy and sit on piles of cash."

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