The board of printing group PMP has lowered the performance bar for its new CEO Brian Evans. For departing David Kirk, the main performance hurdle was to boost earnings per share to 27c in the period June 2007 to June 30 2009. If he did, four million options would have been exerciseable.

But the statement revealing Brian Evans’ new role says that his long term performance hurdles include staged vesting of options at differing earnings per share levels – 1.21 million options could be exercised if EPS is greater than 21c and less than 22c, 2.42 million if EPS is greater than 22c and less than 23c and the total of 3.64 million options if EPS is greater than 23c.

That’s a significant watering down, as is the target date. It’s no longer the end of June 2007 to end of June 2009 – it’s now between June 30, 2008 and June 30, 2010.

PMP had EPS of 14c in the year to June 2005, so Evans has three to five years to boost them by 9c a share, which seems a given compared to the task that faced Kirk. When he took over at PMP two and a half years ago, the company’s EPS had been depressed to 4.9c a share by a poor year, and he succeeded in boosting it to a peak of 15c in 2004.

The company had a problem with printing capacity and magazine distribution which trimmed earnings in 2005.

Peter Fray

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