CITY WHISPERS: Bean counters uncover mates rates at Superdry

CITY WHISPERS: Bean counters uncover mates rates at Superdry

An unusual arrangement has popped up in the latest set of accounts for clothing brand Superdry.

The personal pension fund of its boss, Julian Dunkerton, is seemingly charging half the market rate for rent on properties at its Cheltenham HQ it leases to the struggling fashion retailer that he founded. 

The practice, which has been going on for more than a decade, came to light only after a new auditor, RSM, replaced Deloitte last year.

Mates rates: An unusual arrangement has popped up in the latest set of accounts for clothing brand Superdry

It prompted a £1million provision on the company’s balance sheet – something Superdry could well do without as it grapples with an economic slowdown that is hitting retailers.

The revelation may also help to explain why the company’s stock was briefly suspended from trading at the end of last month when it said that it was still working with RSM on the ‘final technical points’ on the audit of its full-year results.

It’s amazing what a new set of bean counters can dig up.

BIIB yet to publish accounts

The Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, in which the UK taxpayer has a £2.5billion stake, prides itself on upholding the highest standards of multilateral governance. 

So it is strange that the lender has yet to publish its latest set of accounts on its website.

It had better get a move on, as the bank’s 100-plus members are due in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh for their annual meeting this week.

Pushback for Liz Truss PR blitz 

Liz Truss tried to return to the political spotlight last week, laying out a series of policy ideas that (not surprisingly) included cutting tax while insisting her mini-Budget would have saved the Treasury £35.5billion had she not been forced from office.

But the former PM’s PR blitz is attracting pushback from some unexpected quarters.

In a tweet about the current regime, Truss claimed ‘companies like Astra Zeneca have relocated because of high corporation tax’.

But a source at the pharma giant was quick to point out to Whispers that not only was this not true – it is still based in Cambridge – but also that Truss’s team hadn’t bothered to check if the firm’s name includes a space (it doesn’t). Talk about rewriting history!

Darktrace boss in pay cut 

It’s not every day that a boss takes a £10million pay cut. So take a bow Poppy Gustafsson, chief executive of cyber-security firm Darktrace.

Accounts show she took home £1.7million, down on £11.3 million last year.

Finance chief Catherine Graham also saw her pay slump by almost £8million to £769,000. The reason? One-off bonuses linked to Darktrace’s 2021 listing.

Alas, investors did not enjoy such largesse. Darktrace shares dipped below their £2.50 flotation price this year, though they have since rallied to £4.20.

‘Our CEO’s remuneration remains significantly below market value,’ an aide says, unconvincingly.

                                                                                                                            Contributor: Patrick Tooher