The billionaire British founder and executive chairman of The Hut Group (THG.L) has pledged to donate £100m ($137.8m) to charity as his business posted a surge in sales.
Matthew Moulding will donate £100m of shares in The Hut Group to the The Moulding Foundation, the company said on Thursday. The billionaire will also donate his salary to charity.
Moulding and his family established The Moulding Foundation in 2020 to "help disadvantaged people and communities across the UK". The charity distributes proceeds to various other grassroots charities.
The move will establish Moulding as one of the biggest individual philanthropists in Britain. Moulding and his wife own 25% of the Group, which is valued at £6.6bn. The donation means the pair are giving up around 1% of the company.
Moulding and his wife will hold around 305 million shares in THG after the transfer, which essentially means they are giving about 1% of the company to charity. Forbes estimates Moulding's net wealth at around $3bn, putting him just outside the 1,000 richest people in the world. He has been dubbed Britain's answer to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos in the press.
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The Hut Group, which owns e-commerce brands as MyProtein and Espa, said Moulding told the board ahead of its IPO in September 2020 that he would not seek to profit from his employment.
Between September to December last year, the company donated £300,000 to various charities instead of paying Moulding and co-founder John Gallemore their base salaries. The business also donated £10m to charitable causes linked to COVID-19 last year.
The charitable pledges came as Manchester-based The Hut Group reported a bumper set of results. Sales rose by 42% to £1.6bn in 2020 and the company attracted 10.7m new customers as online advertising during the pandemic paid dividends.
"Whilst the pandemic is a one-off crisis, the underlying drivers supporting the continued shift and retention of online consumer retail spend have not changed for the past 15 years," it noted.
Despite surging sales, The Hut Group made an operating loss of £482m. It was driven by one-off, non-cash items, principally equity awarded to staff.
Shares were down almost 2% on Thursday morning.
THG saw its shares jump as much as 30% in its first day of trading back in September, raising £1.9bn in the UK's biggest ever tech IPO.
"Management's purpose for the IPO was to step change THG's access to funding in order to capitalise on COVID-19 accelerated market changes," Moulding said on Thursday.
"As we progressed through 2020, those changes became more apparent in terms of the volume and scale of opportunities available to the Group, as evidenced by the £400m committed to acquisitions since IPO, most notably the acquisition of Dermstore in the US."
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