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The Hut Group CEO donates £100m to charitable foundation

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<span>Photograph: THG Holdings Plc/Reuters</span>
Photograph: THG Holdings Plc/Reuters

The chief executive of The Hut Group (THG), who became a billionaire after the company’s successful flotation, has donated £100m of his £1.5bn personal stake to a charitable foundation.

Matthew Moulding is sitting on a huge paper fortune after he collected an £800m windfall when the company’s share price soared in the months after its stock exchange listing.

THG owns a range of online beauty and nutrition brands including Lookfantastic and Myprotein, and provides e-commerce technology to firms such as Unilever.

Moulding, who still owns almost 25% of the £6.4bn company, said of his newfound personal wealth that he “couldn’t even comprehend the numbers” and was trying to make a difference.

“I don’t even think about it, my life is not really any different from what it was a year or two years ago,” he said.

The transfer of £100m of shares to the Moulding Foundation also defused some of the criticism investor groups have levelled at the Manchester-based company about how it is run and how Moulding wields power.

It emerged last year that some of THG’s properties had been transferred to Moulding’s personal ownership and would reap him millions of pounds a year in rent.

The £100m worth of THG shares was the equivalent of “100 years of future profits” from his property interests, the company said.

Along with other online businesses, THG has been a lockdown winner. Its sales rose more than 40% in 2020 to £1.6bn. The company, however, made a pretax loss of £535m after it booked a non-cash charge of more than £300m to reflect the accounting value of share awards to Moulding and its wider staff before the IPO.

The transfer of shares to the Moulding Foundation was possible after restrictions on share trading by Moulding and staff fell away. The shares, which listed at 500p, closed down 6% at 663p on Thursday.

Moulding, who did not use the window to cash in any of his holding, said: “I don’t take a salary, that goes to charity and I had 100% bonus which I waived.

“I don’t have the most expensive lifestyle either, so at some stage I will need to do something for my own personal balance sheet, but it’s certainly not in the near term.”