Bosses at Primark owner ABF take pay cut amid virus impact

Bosses at Primark owner Associated British Foods (ABF) said they will take a temporary pay cut as the coronavirus pandemic dents the group’s finances.

It said executive directors at the business will also not receive bonuses for the current financial year.

Chief executive George Weston, finance director John Bason and Primark chief executive Paul Marchant will all see their base salaries temporarily cut in half.

The firm added non-executive directors, such as its chairman Michael McLintock, will see their fees reduced by 25% for the time being.

ABF said it is “acutely aware that many Primark employees will see their livelihoods affected by Covid-19”, after the retailer shut all of its UK stores.

Oxford Street
A near-deserted Oxford Street, usually one of Britain’s busiest shopping areas, during the lockdown (PA)

It said: “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.”

Measures to reduce operating costs at Primark continue to be developed and implemented, the firm said.

Primark estimates that for every month of closure, it stands to lose about £650 million in net sales.

The fashion arm has also cancelled and suspended millions of pounds worth of supplier orders.

The group said it has “not seen a material impact” from the virus across its sugar, grocery, ingredients and agriculture arms.

ABF affirmed it currently has a “strong balance sheet” with around £1.7 billion of cash.

Shares in the company fell 2% to 1,691p in early trading on Friday.

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