Yellow Pages bosses pay rose 70% as it collapsed

Yellow Pages owner Hibu hiked the pay of senior management while the loss-making company was missing loan repayments and heading for collapse

The Yellow Pages owner Hibu hiked the pay of senior management by 70 per cent last year while the loss-making company was missing loan repayments and heading for collapse, The Independent can reveal.

Accounts for Yellow Pages Limited, the most important UK subsidiary of the collapsed parent company Hibu plc, show “key management” got £6.5m in salary, short-term benefits and shares in the year to March 2013 – up from £3.8m a year earlier.

The increase came despite Hibu warning in October 2012 it was suspending repayments on its £2bn debt pile and breaching bank covenants in February and March 2013.

Hibu collapsed in July last year, leaving shareholders with nothing.

The revelation about management pay is significant as Hibu failed to give full details about executive pay and bonuses in the final year before its collapse. It did not publish an annual report for the year to March 2013, despite being on the stock market for four more months.

Those close to Hibu insisted the 70 per cent pay increase was not on a “like-for-like” basis, as the number of senior management changed. Although the parent company collapsed, Yellow Pages and other subsidiaries continue to trade as a result of a debt-for-equity swap with lenders.

Angry shareholders have obtained the job contracts for Mike Pocock, the chief executive, and Tony Bates, the chief financial officer. They show that their employment was changed from the parent to a subsidiary, Hibu (UK), in October 2012 – nine months before the parent’s collapse.

Hibu, which was chaired by Bob Wigley, did not dis- close that this change had been made to the stock market.

Barry Dearing, a lawyer for the dissident Hibu Shareholder Group, described the move as “very odd”: “It is my view that the PLC was not disclosing information it should have been, because it was trying to preserve the position as far as the subsidiaries were concerned.”

Those close to Hibu insisted all British employees, and not just the directors, had their employment changed to Hibu (UK) ahead of the restructuring, but there was no obligation to tell the stock market.

The Financial Conduct Authority, which has received calls to investigate Hibu, said stock market rules mean someone “could be paid by a subsidiary but be a director of the parent”.

Hibu Finance (UK), another subsidiary, is due in court in London today to discuss the restructuring. Hibu declined to comment.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...

Guru Careers: C# Project Team Lead

£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...

Guru Careers: Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant

£16 - 20k: Guru Careers: A Graduate Editor / Editorial Assistant is needed to ...

Day In a Page

Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

The ZX Spectrum is back

The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

The quirks of work perks

From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

Is bridge becoming hip?

The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

The rise of Lego Clubs

How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
5 best running glasses

On your marks: 5 best running glasses

Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

Please save my husband

As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada