AG Barr board cashes in as soft drink sales outperform market

BOARDROOM pay at AG Barr has soared by a fifth after the iconic drinks company saw profits substantially outperform the soft drinks market.

The four executive and four non-executive directors received a total 1.74 million in salary, bonuses and benefits in the year to 30 January, 2010, up 20.3 per cent on 2009.

The news came after the company revealed last month that underlying pre-tax profits had surged 20.8 per cent to 27.9 million, as consumers kept their taste for "Scotland's other national drink".

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That was largely driven by a 20 per cent jump in sales of Irn-Bru south of the Border, while in Scotland they were up a more modest 5 per cent.

The biggest pay rise among executive directors went to finance director Alex Short. He received a total of 355,000, up 42.6 per cent on the year.

Andrew Memmott, who joined the project engineering team in 1990, and was appointed operations director in 2008, was handed a 33.5 per cent boost, at 271,000.

Chief executive Roger White took home a 10.2 per cent pay rise at 552,000, while commercial director Jonathan Kemp received 5.4 per cent more at 314,000.

Among the non-execs, Ronald Hanna was the clear winner. He took home 79,000, up 125.7 per cent on the year. He was appointed chairman of AG Barr in 2009, a position he also holds at Bowleven, the oil and gas minnow, and Troy Income & Growth Trust.

James Espey, a non-exec who is also a director of Whyte & Mackay and The Last Drop Distillers, received 35,000 – the same as the previous year – while Jonathan Warburton, who joined AG Barr in 2009, received an initial pay packet of 31,000.

Robin Barr, who retired as chairman in 2009 and was then appointed non-executive director, was the only of the eight directors to take a pay cut – down 1.9 per cent at 101,000.

The company, which also makes St Clements, Tizer and Rubicon fruit juice, said last month that it had "substantially outperformed" the UK soft drinks market, with turnover up 18.7 per cent to 201.4m.

Like-for-like sales grew 10.6 per cent.