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WYG heads take 10% salary cut

Senior management at consultant White Young Green (WYG) this week confirmed that they will take a voluntary 10% salary cut as part of the firm’s on-going restructuring.

Since February the firm has laid off some 470 staff and it expects the total to reach 800 when the reorganisation, prompted in part by the need to service its £91.5M bank debt, is completed in July.

Chief executive Paul Hamer and finance director David Wilton have also ruled out any bonus payments this year or next year.

“We feel that (it is appropriate) from both a responsibility and integrity perspective,” explained Hamer. “The business has gone through some pain and David and I believe that visibly we should demonstrate that we are willing to share in that.”

Suffering from debts

WYG’s share price has plummeted from a high of 331p on 27 June 2008 to just 4p in April. It is currently trading at around 25p.

The company is suffering from debts fuelled by an acquisition spree, the firm buying some 38 businesses over the last ten years, combined with falling profits which saw the firm recently warn that it was to close to breaching its banking covenants.

“The company has been through a tumultuous year. Next year is about stabilisation and repairing the business.”

Paul Hamer, White Young Green

“The company has been through a tumultuous year,” said Hamer, pointing out that, while challenging, its banking problems were resolvable. “Next year is about stabilisation and repairing the business,” he added, highlighting the need to quickly start to reduce the firm’s level of debt.

However, he was adamant that redundancies remained “the very, very last resort”, and staff had pulled together with a “trench mentality” to help the business by volunteering for more flexible working arrangements and even taking reduced salaries to save jobs.

WYG’s new strategy will see it focus on the commercial return of projects.”We have to aggressively and organically reduce our debt and that means getting customers to pay us,” he said.

  • A full interview with WYG’s chief executive Paul Hamer and finance director David Wilton will be in NCE next week.

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