Norman Foster received a Â£500,000 pay rise from his architectural practice last year despite the firm laying off about 300 staff and posting an Â£18m loss.
Results filed at Companies House show the best-paid director at Foster and Partners Group saw his pay rise to Â£1.7m in the 12 months to the end of April, up from Â£1.2m in the previous year. Although the company declined to comment yesterday, the director is understood to be Lord Foster.
Foster and Partners shrank rapidly in the past 12 months as recession put paid to the international construction boom that fuelled its rapid growth. Having employed 1,300 at the peak, it now has just under 1,000 staff.
The groupâ€™s results show that despite the downturn, its trading profit remained stable â€” but it was pushed into a large loss by interest payments and restructuring charges. Turnover was up 8% at Â£154m, with operating profits of Â£29m, compared with the previous yearâ€™s Â£31m.Exceptional charges to pay for restructuring â€” including staff layoffs â€” cost the company Â£4.7m, and its interest bill was Â£41m. The net loss for the year was Â£18m. The company has total borrowings of Â£340m.
Lord Foster said in his commentary to the results that the year had been â€œone of the most challenging since the inception of the practice.
â€œWe had to face the unfortunate but inevitable difficulties of making cutbacks.â€
The practice was the creative force behind some of the worldâ€™s most famous buildings and other structures, including Hong Kongâ€™s Chek Lap Kok airport and the Millau viaduct in France. Foster sold a minority stake in the group to 3i, the quoted private equity firm, in May 2007.