Tuesday, May 15, 2007

"A bumper performance"

Macquarie chief's pay soars 58% to £ 14 million

Seven top executives each earn more than £4m as profits boom at Australian bank known as the millionaires factory

May 15, 2007

Robert Lindsay and Paul Larter
The Sunday Times (Australia)
Copyright 2007

The Australian bank Macquarie, dubbed the “Millionaires Factory” for its high salaries, has lived up to its reputation today revealing that the chief executive Allan Moss received a 58 per cent rise in pay to A$33.49 (£14 million).

Seven top employees earned more than A$10 million (£4.2 million). The head of investment banking Nicholas Moore, who is tipped to be the next CEO, saw his total renumeration increase 60 per cent to A$32.89 million.

The pay rises come just after Macquarie's international reputation suffered a blow after it failed to buy the Australian airline Qantas and lost out to its rival Babcock & Brown in the bidding for the Australian energy company Alinta.

But Macquarie is still the world's largest manager of infrastructure with A$197 billion in assets globally.

It unveiled forecast beating annual profits showing that its strategy of buying toll roads, airports, power and water utilities including paying £8 billion for Thames Water last year, bundling them into listed and unlisted funds and charging fees for managing them was paying off.

The bank reported record profit growth up 60 per cent to A$1.46 billion for the year ended March 31 on asset sales and robust equity markets and signalled its intention to ramp up its deal-making activities in Europe by announcing plans to apply for a banking licence in Britain.

Mr Moss said that the bank would submit an application to the Financial Services Authority in July to establish a banking business, incorporated in the UK, to support its rapid growth in Britain.

"This will also provide a European passport for banking businesses," Mr Moss said.

The bank suspended its shares pending a share sale to fund its global growth which is expected to raise A$750 million.

Macquarie gave no specific earnings growth forecast, but said it had enjoyed a strong start to the new financial year.

Mr Moss said: “We are planning for continued strong growth with international income expected to continue to make an increasingly important contribution.”

Analysts at Citigroup described the year as a "bumper performance".

Mr Moss played down the significance of the failed Qantas bid, saying it was one among the 240 deals worth A$160 billion that Macquarie Bank did last year. He said most expenses related to the Qantas deal were accounted for in the last financial year.

© 2007 Times Newspapers Ltd: www.business.timesonline.co.uk

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