Ocado bosses will receive an extra £9million windfall after its share price almost trebled in just a year.
The online supermarket has put aside the money to pay out awards and bonuses to top directors next year as it slid to a £9million loss in the 26 weeks to June 3, from a £7.7million profit a year earlier.
Although Ocado will share the sum with employees and other management, the majority of it is expected to be pocketed by chief executive Tim Steiner, 48, finance director Duncan Tatton-Brown, 53, chief operations officer Mark Richardson, 53, and general counsel Neill Abrams, 53.
Online supermarket Ocado has put aside £9m to pay out awards and bonuses to top directors next year
Ocado said the extra £9million reserved for share awards due to vest next year was partly to blame for the losses. It had expected to pay out £5million for the year.
Ocado has been piling investment into its robot-operated warehouses that pick and pack groceries to be delivered to customers.
Over the past year it has won overseas contracts to provide its technology to supermarkets in France, Sweden, Canada and the US.
Its partnership with US supermarket Kroger has been a game changer, helping Ocado win over City sceptics.
Its share price has soared more than 270 per cent over the past year to 1103p yesterday, wounding hedge funds which had been betting that it would fall.
The deals have also won Ocado a place in the FTSE 100. Shares tumbled as much as 7 per cent in early trading after earnings missed analyst expectations but recovered to end the day 9 per cent, or 91.5p higher.
Revenues surged 12.1 per cent to £800million during the six month period.
George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said demand for Ocado’s technology left it open to a bid by Amazon which is trying to increase its dominance in the grocery market.
Bryan Roberts, insights director at TCC Global, questioned whether Ocado would be able to balance all its contracts with foreign supermarkets.
‘The only real concern is over the ability of the company to keep so many plates spinning in such a diverse range of markets,’ he said.
But Tatton-Brown said Ocado would continue working on securing deals. ‘We’re open for business. We’re talking to people and if things go well there may be more news,’ he said.