£4.7m profits in 2009 allowed for £260,000 more in directors’ pay pot

Brightside chief executive and finance director Paul Chase-Gardener says the 48% increase in the broking firm’s directors’ pay during 2009 reflects the firm’s transition from start-up to fully fledged public company.

According to Brightside’s annual report for the year ending 31 December 2009, the firm paid its eight directors a total of £800,824, up from £539,510 in 2008, between nine directors. The increase included bonuses for Chase-Gardener, commercial director John Gannon, insurance director Arron Banks and non-executive director Chris Fay, as well as pay increases for Banks and Fay. No director bonuses were paid in 2008.

The increased directors’ remuneration comes after a good year for Brightside: the firm made a profit of £4.7m in 2009, up 81.8% on 2008’s profit of £2.6m. While much of the difference was down to two exceptional charges dragging down 2008’s profit – a £1.4m charge relating to a change in accounting treatment of the reverse takeover of Brightside Group on 30 June 2008 and a £268,000 loss on the sale of investment – the profit before tax and exceptional items grew 7.7% to £6.7m from £6.2m.

“Brightside is doing reasonably well. It is also becoming a bigger and more mature company in a number of ways and is growing up from its origins as a highly entrepreneurial private company,” said Chase-Gardener. “One of the features you would expect is to start to approach directors’ emoluments as professional management rather than entrepreneurs.”

He added that, even with the increases, the directors’ pay bill is “not a big number, given the size of the company”. Brightside’s 2009 revenue was £44.7m, up from £33.2m in 2008. Total equity at 31 December 2009 was $85.2m (£59m).

Brightside was founded in February 2005 by Chase-Gardener, Gannon and Banks. In May, the firm completed its strategy of consolidating its owners’ distribution assets into Brightside, acquiring eCar and eBike from Southern Rock Insurance Company, which Chase-Gardener, Banks and Gannon control. The firm acquired eVan from Southern Rock in November 2008.

Chase-Gardener said the eCar and eBike acquisitions will close this week, and the two units will start operating within Brightside from 1 July. The capital from the sale of eCar and eBike will not be distributed to Southern Rock’s common shareholders, but will go into the insurance company.