Financial News

  • 24 April 2014, 4:29

Sports Direct Slams 73m Boss' Bonus Rejection

High street retailer Sports Direct has slammed shareholders who failed to support a 73m bonus share scheme proposed for founder Mike Ashley.

The comments come as the company reported a rise in fourth-quarter sales to 360m in the nine weeks to March 30.

It said its core sports retail sales were up 11% in the period.

In early April, the company halted the proposed 73m bonus for Mr Ashley, its majority shareholder, after failing to gain sufficient investor support.

"The board was extremely disappointed to withdraw the resolution regarding a proposed share scheme award to Mike Ashley," Sports Direct chief executive Dave Forsey said in a statement.

"The most disappointing aspect was where large shareholders gave their support only to then vote differently.

"This outcome is likely to lead to further uncertainty in the future."

Sports Direct has around 400 stores in the UK and another 200 stores in Europe.

Sales in its smaller fashion arm, trading under the USC and Cruise brands, rose 0.7% in the period.

Shortly after the bonus rejection for Mr Ashley, who does not receive salary or bonus from the company, it saw a share price dip.

The decline came after he reduced his stake by 4% to 57.7%.

It now plans to include Mr Ashley, who also owns Newcastle United Football Club, in a company-wide share scheme eligible for all staff and executives.

The group also moved to expand its foothold in other groups, and bought an 11% stake in retailer House of Fraser amid its tie-up negotiations with China's Sanpower group.

It had earlier snapped up more than 4% of Debenham's shares before selling the tranche shortly afterwards.

Sports Direct said it expected to meet its full-year forecast of 310m, before staff bonuses are deducted.

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