Power chief doubles his money

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The Independent Online

Political Correspondent

Another director of a privatised utility provoked Labour outrage yesterday by cashing in a pounds 567,000 profit on share options.

Granville Camsey, a director of National Power, exercised the option to buy more than 200,000 shares in the company and immediately sold them at more than double the price.

The deal brought a renewed call from Gordon Brown, the shadow Chancellor, for the Government to remove the tax advantages of share option schemes. "Far from the scandal of share options diminishing, the abuses are getting worse . . . It is now time for the Prime Minister to act," he said.

The Labour Party claims four directors of the electricity generating company have now made profits of more than pounds 2m between them from share options since privatisation. The directors of PowerGen and the National Grid are said to have made further profits of pounds 9m.

The Prime Minister has condemned excessive rewards but is waiting for the report of a Confederation of British Industry inquiry into the issue chaired by Sir Richard Greenbury, chief executive of Marks & Spencer.

Mr Camsey, 59, managing director of group technology, was granted options on 136,815 shares in April 1991 and on a second batch of 79,069 in December that year. He was yesterday permitted to buy the first batch at pounds 2.01 per share and the second at pounds 2.15 before selling them at the market price of pounds 4.69. For an outlay of about pounds 445,000 he was able to make a profit of pounds 567,499.

Labour researchers said company reports showed Mr Camsey still had options on a further batch of 98,828 shares.

National Power insisted the granting of share options to directors was normal business practice in the private sector.