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French CEO gets €2.5m bonus despite job cuts

The French CEO who successfully oversaw his company merger with a Swiss firm has been granted a "scandalous" €2.5 million bonus just as his company announced a raft of job cuts.

French CEO gets €2.5m bonus despite job cuts
Lafarge chief executive Bruno Lafont who has been awarded a handsome bonus. Photo: AFP

Lafarge chief executive Bruno Lafont has been awarded a €2.5 million ($2.8 million) bonus for the successful merger with Swiss rival Holcim as the cement company announced job cuts.

The board of directors of the company awarded Lafont the money “for his key role in the merger project with Holcim” and “his exceptional performance,” according to a document posted on its website.

The Board accorded the bonus at a meeting on May 12, two days after Holcim shareholders approved the merger by a vote of 94 percent.

Lafont, who will receive the money in May, will become co-president of the merged LafargeHolcim.

The 40 billion euro merger will create the world's largest cement company with some 136,000 people, annual sales of €32 billion and underlying profits of €6.5 billion.

Union sources said Tuesday that Lafarge was planning to cut 380 jobs as part of the merger, while Holcim said Wednesday that it would eliminate 120 posts in central administration in Switzerland due to the tie-up.

The CFTC, the largest union at Lafarge, described the as bonus “scandalous” and called on Lafont to honour his statements made during the merger talks that no workers would lose out.

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BUSINESS

French court hands Amazon €90,000-per-day fine over contracts

French authorities on Wednesday slapped a €90,000-per-day fine on e-commerce giant Amazon until it removes abusive clauses in its contracts with businesses using its platform to sell their goods.

French court hands Amazon €90,000-per-day fine over contracts

The anti-fraud Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes (DGCCRF) service said the online sales giant’s contracts with third-party sellers who use its Amazon.fr website contain “unbalanced” clauses.

“The company Amazon Services Europe did not comply completely with an injunction it was served and it is now subject to a fine of €90,000 per day of delay” in applying the changes, the DGCCRF said in a statement.

It also urged the platform to conform with European rules on equity and transparency for firms using online platforms.

Amazon said the order would harm consumers.

“The changes imposed by the DGCCRF will stop us from effectively protecting consumers and permit bad actors to set excessive prices or spam our clients with commercial offers,” the e-commerce giant said in a statement.

“We will comply with the DGCCRF’s decision but we absolutely do not understand it and we are challenging it in court,” responded the e-commerce giant in a statement.

Amazon said the clauses that the DGCCRF has ordered removed had, for example “prevented the appearance of exorbitant prices for mask and hydroalcoholic gel during the pandemic”.

In 2019, Amazon was fined €4 million for “manifestly unbalanced” contract clauses with third-party sellers on its site in a case brought by the DGCCRF.

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