Technology

Webjet boss banks $21.2m after offloading more than half his stake in the company

Huntley Mitchell

Huntley Mitchell

Webjet’s John Guscic has cashed in more than half of his shares in the company, but has committed to continuing as managing director and a long-term investor.

An announcement on the Australian Securities Exchange on Monday revealed that Guscic has sold 5,521,468 shares in Webjet for a cool $21.2 million.

Guscic will use the proceeds from the sale of shares to partially settle previously disclosed funding arrangements with investment bank UBS that were “historically entered into for the purpose of acquiring Webjet shares when they were trading at a significant premium to the current share price”.

“Given the significant impact COVID-19 has had on the global travel industry and value of the company’s shares since acquisition, upon expiry of these funding arrangements, Mr Guscic does not consider the cost of extending them to be appropriate,” the announcement read.

“None of these funding arrangements include any share price-based triggers.”

The number of shares sold by Guscic represents approximately 1.6 per cent of Webjet’s total issued share capital, and he remains a significant shareholder in the company with approximately five million shares.

Guscic confirmed his commitment to Webjet as MD and his intent to remain a long-term shareholder.

“Along with the rest of the management team, I remain resolute in my determination to steer the business through what has been a devastating period for the global travel industry,” he said.

“I remain a long-term, committed shareholder in the business and am encouraged by the significant opportunities for returning to profitable growth when COVID-19 subsides.”

Guscic isn’t the only Webjet exec to have offloaded shares in recent days, with chairman Roger Sharp selling a touch over 21 per cent (64,000) of his own for $249,600.

The share sales come not long after Webjet reneged on its decision to cancel incentives for FY20 in a bid to retain its “sought-after” top brass.

After a profitable first half of FY20, Webjet swung to a $143.6 million full-year loss, mainly due to COVID-19’s havoc-wreaking ways.

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