Carlton freezes pay to offset ad slowdown

LONDON - Shares in ITV company Carlton slid 3% this morning on the news that it has imposed a pay freeze in an attempt to counteract the negative impact the advertising downturn is having on its share price.

Chairman Michael Green and chief executive Gerry Murphy's salaries are included in the freeze, which takes effect from Carlton's next financial year beginning in October. However, staff bonuses and special payments will be honoured if certain criteria are met.

Instead of pay rises, the company will award share options to staff at a yet-to-be-agreed price in an attempt to sustain motivation across the workforce.

The company's shares have taken a battering in the last year as ITV's audience share has declined. This morning, Carlton's shares had slid 10.5p to 326.2p, down from last year's high of over 800p.

Granada, Carlton's partner in ITV, has also seen its shares dive from 270p last year to 154.7p. These two are suffering from a high degree of market scepticism about their joint-venture digital terrestrial service, ITV Digital.

The companies have already spent £800m on the service and are expected to sink another £300m into it before it breaks even.

Claire Billings, recommends

Carlton Communications

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