AO World staff could share out up to £240m bonus pot under new plans

Around 3,000 staff at online electricals retailer AO World could share a £240 million bonus pot as part of a bumper reward scheme unveiled by the group.

AO World said its new scheme – called the value creation plan – would pay out bonuses to staff for share price rises above £5.23 a share – equivalent to a £2.5 billion stock market value and marking a rise of around 30% on current stock prices.

Executive bosses could land up to a mammoth £20 million each in bonuses under the proposed plans if shares hit £9.41.

But founder and chief executive John Roberts has pledged to donate any rewards he receives to a youth charity to help disadvantaged young people in the UK.

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AO World founder and chief executive John Roberts will donate any bonuses under the scheme to a youth charity (Jon Super/PA)

The scheme will be measured over a five-to-seven-year period, with employees sharing out £140 million if shares hit £9.41 by 2025 and £240 million if they get to the dizzying height of £12.55.

This would mean a near eight-fold increase over the next five years.

Mr Roberts said: “The decision to create an opportunity for every AO employee to receive a meaningful reward for the value they create is one that I’m proud to tell my mum about.”

“It is a vote of confidence in our people and the future we’re building,” he added.

But the potential payouts for top bosses could raise eyebrows among big investors, with lucrative share-based incentive schemes coming under heavy fire in recent years.

AO World’s annual report also separately showed Mr Roberts’s total pay soared by 44% in the year to March 31 as he took home £732,924 in pay and bonuses.

His annual salary increased by £50,000 to £450,000, while he was also awarded just over £215,000 in bonuses under its long-term incentive scheme.

It came after the company saw revenue jump by 16% to £1.05 billion in the year to March 31, while it swung to a pre-tax profit of £1.5 million for the period.

Mr Roberts reclaimed the top job in February last year after a two-year hiatus.

AO World was valued at £1.5 billion when it floated on the stock market in 2014, with shares worth £2.85 on its initial public offering.

But a string of profit warnings have since seen its shares suffer steep falls, with the stock closing on Monday at £1.65.

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