Wetherspoons Chairman Sold Stock as Company Claimed Cash: Mail

Tim Martin, the founder and chairman of J D Wetherspoons Plc, sold 50 million pounds ($68.5 million) of shares in January while the pub chain claimed support from the government, the Mail on Sunday reported, without saying how it obtained the information.

Martin sold the stock in the same month that the company claimed more than 25 million pounds in furlough cash entitlements, according to the report. Lawmakers including Bob Neill from the Conservative Party and Labour’s Margaret Hodge have called on him to return the funds, according to the newspaper.

Wetherspoons claimed more than 97 million pounds in the six months through January, during which time its sales plummeted by more than 50%, the newspaper said.

“We are a huge net contributor to the Treasury. Even in the last financial year, when pubs were closed by the Government for a long period, Wetherspoons paid 436.7 million pounds in taxes, in spite of making a loss of 89.6 million pounds,” a Wetherspoons spokesman told the Mail on Sunday, adding it would be “incorrect to say” the value of Martin’s shares in the business had been supported by taxpayer funds.

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