Ex-Coillte chief paid €195,000 after three months work

Former boss began legal action over performance-related pay last year

Coillte’s annual report shows that its profits approached €26 million last year.

Coillte’s annual report shows that its profits approached €26 million last year.

Fri, Jun 27, 2014, 01:08

David Gunning, the former Coillte chief executive who is suing the State forestry company in a row over performance-related pay, received €195,000 from the group after three months’ work in 2013.

Coillte’s annual report shows that its profits approached €26 million last year, aided by increased sales and prices for a number of its products, while revenues rose 5 per cent to €275.7 million.

The report also shows the group paid its former chief executive David Gunning €195,000 last year. He left in March 2013, having served seven years, which is normal practice for State company chiefs.

His 2013 pay was made up of €142,000 in basic salary, €37,000 in pension contributions and €16,000 in benefits. The accounts state that the salary paid included €88,000 earned in 2013, along with €20,000 in holiday pay and €34,000 in deferred wages dating back to the 2008 to 2012 period.

Mr Gunning began legal action against the State company late last year claiming he is also due performance-related pay. Coillte is defending it on the basis that it was accepted that this would not be paid.

He earned €372,000 in 2012, his last full year at the group’s helm. In 2011, his salary was the subject of a public row with the Government, which had asked all State company chief executives to take a pay cut.

Coillte said profits after tax in 2013 grew 69 per cent to €25.8 million from €15.3 million the previous year.

The company’s 2012 profits were hit by a once-off charge of €6 million that resulted from a voluntary redundancy programme and a reduction in the value of some of its forests. The equivalent charge in 2013 was €900,000.


Increased sales

Operating profit before once-off charges came to €41.3 million in 2013, an increase of 17 per cent on the €35 million it earned the previous year. The company said this reflected increased sales and prices for its wood panel products. Profit before tax was €28.7 million and the group said that it paid a €2 million dividend to the exchequer in January.

Commenting on the results, acting chief executive Gerry Britchfield said the company delivered a strong performance. “I am pleased to report that we delivered an operating profit of €41.3 million,” he said.

Mr Britchfield added that following a significant improvement in its British markets in the second half of last year, it expects a further boost to all business areas in 2014.