Believing YCO would be a safe haven in turbulent times,
Over the past four years investors have pumped millions of pounds into superyacht broker, Y.Co. Yet now, the Daily Telegraph published in the UK has reported that: Shares in YCO have plunged by 94% – sinking from 49p to just 3p.
It goes on to suggest that next week, in what is expected to be a stormy annual general meeting, investors are to attack soaring boardroom pay at YCO and £415,000 of company money handed to Neil Miller, a former director, in the form of a loan.
Senior executives have been awarded large pay rises in the past year. Charlie Birkitt, YCO’s chief executive, was paid £294,365 in 2011 — a 28% rise on the previous year. Another director, Gary Wright, last year received £290,617 — up nearly 30%.
Shareholders are also calling for YCO’s board to provide full details of the loan to Mr Miller which is understood to have been used to fund a £6,000 skiing holiday and a £20,000 payment towards the wedding of one of his daughters.
Investors are now preparing to vent their anger at YCO’s annual shareholder meeting in London next Tuesday, at which the company plans to take the company private again — a move, called delisting, that shareholders say will effectively render their holdings worthless.
According to its 2011 accounts YCO made an operating profit of just £14,650 — down from £785,998 the year before.
Despite the unimpressive results, YCO said that the pay of its executives is in line with directors at similar public companies and is less than many of its rivals.
The newspaper reports that one disgruntled shareholder has said “What has happened at this company is an absolute disgrace.” Adding, “The value of the shares has collapsed, the company is barely making any money and yet the executives are still paying themselves huge salaries. YCO has never paid a dividend since the flotation, and if the directors succeed in taking the company private there will effectively be no market in the shares.”
The newspaper says the company blames the volatile world economy, the ongoing eurozone crisis and rocky stock markets for the collapse of its share price, and says the pay of its executives is in-line with other executives at similar public companies.
It added that the large fall in profits over the past year are partly due to a restructuring that will leave the company well-placed for future growth.
In recent correspondence with shareholders, YCO is reported to have said that the stock market flotation has “not recognised the underlying value of the business”.
“The delisting will allow the management team to increase their focus on the business itself by reducing the time and costs currently spent adhering to the administrative and regulatory requirements brought about the [stock market] admission,” the letter said.