PA Group notches up 85% profits increase as chief executive's remuneration climbs to £854,000
PA Group, which owns UK news agency the Press Association, notched up an 85% in pre-tax profits to £10.6 million last year on a turnover up 7% to £106 million.
The financial success of the group, which also owns the pan-European weather information company Meteo, led to Clive Marshall, the group chief executive, receiving a boost in total remuneration of just over 27% to £854,000.
Marshall's pay was mainly boosted by an 83% increase in the amount he received under PA Group's long-term incentive schemes, which rose from £203,000 in 2010 to £372,000 last year.
The Guardian points out: “Marshall works at the privately-held PA Group – two of the biggest shareholders are the newspaper publishers Daily Mail & General Trust and Trinity Mirror – which means that he will not face public scrutiny over the size of his remuneration package.
“However the scale of such awards to directors, even at highly profitable companies, has been put under the spotlight by investors in stock market-listed companies in a shareholder spring of discontent.
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“On Thursday, investors in WPP voted against chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell's remuneration – a 30% rise in basic pay to £1.3m and 60% rise in total pay to £6.8m – even though the marketing services company increased overall profits by more than a third in 2011.
“A spokeswoman for PA Group, which boosted pay to its directors by 7% to £2.2m overall, declined to comment on Marshall's pay increase.”
The strong results will mean PA Group will pay shareholders their first dividend for four years.
Marshall said that 2011 was an "extraordinary year for news" in the UK with "major events ranging from the royal wedding and Rugby World Cup, to the phone-hacking scandal and corruption within Fifa".
He added: "Nowhere was this more apparent than during the summer when widespread rioting took place in cities across the UK. The Press Association played a pivotal role in covering events as they unfolded – providing fast, fair and accurate reports illustrated by iconic photography, often captured in the midst of dangerous conditions."
The group said that its newspaper production and outsourcing service proved to be popular with a contract for 6500 pages a year for Trinity Mirror's Daily Record and Sunday Mail, an increase in pages in an existing deal with the Evening Standard, and a new deal with IPC's Chat, Woman's Weekly and Pick Me Up magazines.
Looking ahead Marshall said that the London Olympics is set to be the "biggest peace-time event" in the history of the Press Association.
Total staff costs decreased slightly to £49.3m. PA Group employed 1,237 – down slightly on the 1,328 in 2010 – with the UK Group accounting for 982 staff. UK Group staff numbers dropped by 10%, from 1,092, year-on-year.