Chief executive and finance director are awarded bonuses as the housebuilder promises greater transparency for shareholders

Three Bellway bosses have taken home a total of £240,099 in bonuses in 2009 despite a shareholder revolt over their awards last year.

John Watson, chief executive, received a bonus of £104,391 on top of his salary of £515,000. The total of £799,646 was down 3% on last year’s figure of £824,917, which included a £275,000 bonus.

The row was sparked when some shareholders became angry that performance targets for 2008 had been changed retrospectively to enable the payment of bonuses.

Bellway paid them despite the move being voted down at its annual general meeting, promising to improve communication with investors.

In this year’s annual report it said: “The committee has been very mindful of these concerns and undertook extensive consultations with institutional shareholders on future bonus arrangements in the spring of this year.”

As a result of the talks, Bellway reduced the maximum bonus figure from 120% to 100% of salary and based payments on fixed targets for operating profit (excluding writedowns), which comprises 40% of the bonus. The rest is cash generation targets (40%) and personal performance (20%), which will be evaluated by the remuneration committee.

The payment of bonuses is a break with what has happened at Persimmon, Barratt and Redrow during the recession, none of which paid its top bosses performance bonuses last year.

However, the company has arguably ridden the recession much better than its peers and is today virtually debt-free.

Finance director Alistair Leitch received a bonus of £67,854 last year on top of his salary of £334,750.