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Britain's GVC faces investor backlash over pay

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(Reuters) – Gambling company GVC Holdings Plc faced significant shareholder opposition over its directors pay report for a second straight year at its annual meeting on Wednesday, while addressing concerns on legacy pay for top bosses.

Ladbrokes owner GVC said 41.96% of shareholders voted against the resolution to approve the remuneration report for 2018, lower than 44% of stakeholders opposing a year ago.

“We engaged extensively with shareholders ahead of the annual general meeting,” the sports betting company said in a statement, adding that the legacy arrangements section of the pay would no longer be a part of its remuneration framework.

GVC shares extended their gains for a second day and were up 3.5% at 631.4 pence.

GVC had acknowledged in its annual report that the single figure remuneration for Chief Executive Officer Kenneth Alexander and Chairman Lee Feldman was high in 2018.

The company had added that the high pay was largely driven by the vesting final awards or “legacy awards” under the 2015 long-term incentive plan, made during acquisition in 2016.

“2018 is the last year in which those awards will vest and the single figure will be substantially lower in 2019,” GVC had said in its latest annual report.

GVC shares tanked in March after CEO Alexander and Chairman Feldman together sold 3 million shares of the company at a discounted price of 666 pence, a move seen by investors as a lack of confidence in the bookmaker.

(Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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