Lookers responds to shareholders

  29 December 2020

Lookers emailed its top 10 shareholders ahead of a general meeting on Monday to say a recommendation to vote against the adoption of its 2019 annual report and accounts “would be disappointing” given the work involved to obtain an unqualified set of accounts.

The retailer also defended a salary rise to £450k for previous CEO Andy Bruce and said it was appropriate to pay new CEO Mark Raban “the full rate for the job”, which Auto Retail Agenda understands is the same sum. A recommendation to vote against his salary would be “harsh in the context of the decisions made in 2020”.

Lookers told shareholders no manufacturer bonuses had been incorrectly claimed. “One operating division created fictitious journal entries to recognise non-existent manufacturer bonuses [which] enabled the division to achieve its targets for the year.” These were “entirely internal… and were never communicated to, reported to, nor claimed from the relevant manufacturer.

“These transactions arose because of local management override and lack of central oversight and review, enabling unsubstantiated journals to be processed without challenge.”

The company also promised to use less overly technical language in future reports.

UPDATE: Results of the general meeting have been published by the London Stock Exchange. They show 28.9% of shareholders voted against the directors’ renumeration report.

In response, Lookers said the remuneration committee “notes the concerns raised by shareholders in relation to the remuneration report, and will reflect on this and communicate with shareholders in relation to the specific actions that it intends to take”.

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