AB Foods bosses take pay cut as coronavirus to dent profit

FILE PHOTO: Belts are displayed on hangers in the new Primark store during its opening day in Berlin, Germany October 18, 2018. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi

LONDON (Reuters) - Primark owner Associated British Foods ABF.L said on Friday its bosses are taking temporary pay cuts and will not receive bonuses for the current year given that profits will be dented by the coronavirus emergency.

It said the base pay of chief executive George Weston, finance chief John Bason and Primark boss Paul Marchant will be reduced temporarily by 50%.

The group’s non-executive directors, including the chairman Michael McLintock, have also decided that their fees should be reduced temporarily by 25%. “The board, including the executive management team, believes that these steps are appropriate given its expectation that full year earnings will now be much lower than envisaged at the start of the financial year,” AB Foods said.

“The board is acutely aware that many Primark employees will see their livelihoods affected by Covid-19.”

All Primark stores are currently closed. However, the group has not seen a material impact from the crisis in its sugar, grocery, ingredients and agriculture businesses.

It said measures to reduce Primark’s operating costs continue to be developed.

The group added that as of Thursday it had 1.7 billion pounds ($2.1 billion) of cash.

Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Paul Sandle