IL&P boss pay package jumps to €1.025m

IRISH Life & Permanent chief executive David Went has joined the ranks of the €1 million a year executives with a total pay package of €1.025m.

The annual report of Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P) shows its executive directors received a 7.7% pay rise in 2004. This is modest when compared to the 21% pay package rise AIB’s executive directors received in 2004 and far less than the 27% rise CRH bosses received. Ordinary workers enjoyed a 3% increase in wages in 2004 under Sustaining Progress.

Mr Went’s pay package of €1.025m comprised his basic salary of €680,000 (2003: €630,000), annual bonus €299,000 (€278,000), benefit-in-kind ie company car €25,000 (€18,000) other remuneration (employee profit share) €17,000 (€13,000).

Mr Went’s €299,000 bonus, 43% of his salary, could have hit 60% or €408,000 if stiff performance criteria were met. Group finance director Peter Fitzpatrick’s gross pay package hit €695,000 (€638,000) his annual bonus of €240,000 (€215,000) was just short of the maximum 60%, at 58%. Peter Fitzpatrick also earned €36,369 (2003: nil) in respect of his non-executive directorship of Jurys Doyle Hotel Group plc.

Company chairperson Gillian Bowler, who took up duty in June, 2004 was paid €155,000, while former chairman Roy Douglas, who stepped down in June, was paid €95,000 (2003: €215,000).

The average salary of IL&P’s 4,769 employees was €46,567 for the full year 2004. The company also cut 127 jobs in Ireland last year.

Mr Went tells share holders in the annual report: “The outlook for the Irish economy continues to be extremely positive in terms of job creation, increasing wealth and general economic activity. The group’s leading position in the Irish retail financial services marketplace, combined with the breadth of its distribution channels and range of products, leave it very strongly positioned to optimise the opportunities presented by this favourable economic backdrop.

“The group remains very confident of another strong performance in 2005 and the year has started well.”

In a note to clients yesterday, Goodbody stockbrokers banking analyst Eamon Hughes notes said that in the past, AIB has often been mentioned as a possible bidder for IL&P.

But he said a willingness by AIB, outlined in its annual report, to distribute third party products “as a strategic priority” struck him as possibly ruling out a bid for IL&P, when AIB could just instigate a third party agreement to distribute a number of other party’s products instead.

And IL&P is to hold a series of meetings with fixed-income investors in Asia, the banks arranging the meetings said yesterday. After the meetings, IL&P will consider launching a benchmark US dollar-denominated bond, HSBC and Nomura said.

IL&P is rated A1 by Moody’s Investors Service and A+ by Standard & Poor’s.

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