Hostelworld investors revolt against share awards
Hostelworld has suffered a shareholder revolt over plans to pay executives and top managers share-based bonuses during the Covid-19 crisis.
At the online travel agent's annual meeting 29% of shareholder votes opposed changes to its long-term incentive plan and remuneration policy.
The amendments allowed Hostelworld to make payments in shares to about 50 employees who would not receive cash bonuses in 2021 and 2022 because of the pandemic. The company said there was a risk that some of these employees, including Chief Executive Gary Morrison, would be lured by online companies less affected by the crisis.
Each employee will receive a restricted share award worth twice their target annual cash bonus to reflect no bonus for two years. Hostelworld said it contacted shareholders with about 70% of its shares together with the major proxy advisers explaining the reasons for the plan.
"The majority of those consulted engaged productively with the company, understood the specific circumstances faced by Hostelworld and expressed their support for the proposals," Hostelworld said. "The company intends to consult with the relevant shareholders to better understand their views and the reasons behind this result, and will provide an update within six months as required by the [corporate governance] code."
Hostelworld said 19% of shareholder votes were cast against its pay report at the meeting. Earlier on Monday Hostelworld said bookings were weak but recovering in the first quarter.