The Hut Group founder donates £100m of shares to charity after IPO

Holly Williams
·2 min read

The founder of The Hut Group has pledged to donate £100 million of the online retailer’s shares to charity and hand all his salary to good causes following the firm’s stock market debut last year.

Executive chairman and chief executive Matthew Moulding will give the mammoth stake to the Moulding Foundation, set up by the entrepreneur and his family last year.

The move – which comes just seven months after The Hut Group owner THG’s initial public offering (IPO) – sees him become one of the UK’s biggest philanthropists.

THG said it had already donated £300,000 to charities between last September’s IPO and the end of 2020, instead of paying Mr Moulding and co-director John Gallemore their base salaries.

THG – which also owns brands including MyProtein, Lookfantastic and ESPA – confirmed the donation as it said revenues soared 41.5% to £1.6 billion in 2020 and underlying profit jumped 35% to £151 million.

But statutory pre-tax losses widened to £534,639 from £45,158 in 2019 after it paid out for share option schemes as well as the costs of the IPO.

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The technology platform for health and beauty brands said solid trading had continued into 2021, with sales up 58.2% in the first quarter.

It confirmed it expects revenue growth of between 30% and 35% for 2021.

THG’s charitable donation comes after controversy over Mr Moulding’s position as landlord to the public company’s premises.

The firm said the handout is equivalent to 100% of the profit that his Moulding Capital property company could make over the next 100 years.

Mr Moulding – a major Conservative Party donor who created the online retailing company in 2004 – received a massive shares fortune on the firm’s flotation, receiving at least £830 million in stock after its shares hit targets in the IPO.

He and his wife own 319 million shares – a 25% stake worth £2.2 billion before the donation.

They will have around 305 million shares or 24% of the firm after the transfer.

The Moulding Foundation has recently pledged £5 million to support the construction of a new campus at The Seashell Trust, a residential school for seriously disabled children based in the North West.

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