Tue, 21st Aug 2018
Estate agency group countrywide has scrapped its bosses’ £20 million pay plan, following an investor revolt. The estate agent group, which operates around 50 different brand names, and employs more than 10,000 staff, asked investors for £140 million in emergency funds to shore it up as it faces increasing debts.
Shareholders will be voting on the cash call later this month, as a part of a scheme that Countrywide has named the Absolute Growth Plan. The company had also hoped to introduce a new incentive scheme at the same time. The incentive scheme would have seen Peter Long take shares in Countrywide worth in excess of £20 million.
Countrywide’s proposal to replace the current long-term incentives plan with the AGP was not well received by investors, who called the new scheme unnecessarily convoluted and excessive. They said that no compelling explanation had been given as to why the proposals were important for implementing a turnaround program for the company.
Countrywide was expected to be able to push through the scheme, since Oaktree, their largest shareholder, was reportedly willing to back the plans. However, the company has decided that it would be better to avoid clashing with investors, by dropping the plans for now. A representative for the company said that the consultation meetings on renumeration were constructive and that there has been an agreement to focus on rebuilding shareholder value. Chairman Peter Long has already clashed with investors once recently, and is looking to avoid a repeat of that scenario.