Clydesdale Bank owner Virgin Money has seen nearly a fifth of shareholders fail to back its pay plans for top executives.

It comes after it handed chief executive David Duffy an 89% pay rise last year despite widening losses.

The high street lender - formerly known as CYBG - saw 183.1 million, or 18%, of shareholder votes either made against its pay report or withheld at the annual general meeting.

While withheld votes do not count, it still saw more than 17% of votes cast against the remuneration report, with 83% in favour.

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The overall remuneration policy was backed by 99.5% of investors.

It comes after Virgin Money's 2019 annual report revealed Mr Duffy's salary and bonus package rose to £3.4 million last year, up from £1.8 million in 2018.

This came despite the Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank owner - which rebranded following the £1.7 billion takeover of Virgin Money last year - posting pre-tax losses of £232 million for 2018 from £164 million the previous year.

Mr Duffy could also land a potential £5.1 million in pay and bonuses if all targets are met in 2020.

The pay move has raised eyebrows, given that a third of shareholders opposed the group's remuneration report last year, prompting the firm to consult with shareholders.

Virgin Money said it would not be formally consulting with shareholders on pay plans this year as more than 80% of investors approved the 2019 remuneration report.

A spokesman for Virgin Money insisted the group was "pleased" with the outcome of the AGM votes.

He added: "We will continue to engage regularly with our major holders, as part of our normal interactions, to discuss all relevant aspects of the bank, its operations and policies.

"Virgin Money has strong relationships with its shareholders and we expect this to continue."

The AGM vote comes after figures on Tuesday also revealed ongoing pressure on Virgin Money's mortgage lending, with a 0.8% drop to £59.6 billion in its first quarter as it held off from slashing rates to attract borrowers.

It saw a better performance in its savings arm, with customer deposits up 1.6% to £64.8 billion over the three months to December 31, while business lending rose 2.5% to £8.1 billion.

Wickes' sales have increased ahead of the DIY and building supplies firm's split from parent business Travis Perkins.

It hailed a "strong" performance in the fourth quarter and full-year 2019.

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The company's like-for-like sales increased by 4.5% in the final quarter, while total sales for the period jumped 3.4%.

It said like-for-like full-year sales increased by 8.7% as the company pushes ahead with plans to demerge with Travis Perkins.

In July, Travis Perkins announced plans to separate the Wickes business as part of its long-term strategy to simplify its operations.

David Wood, chief executive of Wickes, said its recent sales growth is "setting Wickes up well" for the intended demerger, which is "on track" to take place in the second quarter of 2020.

Mr Wood said: "We are looking forward to our future as a standalone business, building towards our vision of a Wickes project in every home, allowing us to create long-term value for all our stakeholders.

"We have great confidence in our strategy, which is centred around our strong brand, a distinctive and hard to replicate customer proposition, a uniquely balanced business and a low cost and efficient operating model.

"We are pleased with the growth Wickes is delivering and confident in our ability to continue to grow."

Shares in Travis Perkins increased by 1.7% to 1,598p in early trading on Wednesday.

Wizz Air notched up a record profit in the third quarter and predicted a higher-than-expected net profit for the year.

The low-cost airline said it expects net profit to reach between €350 million and €355 million (£296 million to £300 million), up from previous guidance of €335 million to €350 million (£283 million to £296 million).

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The London-listed Hungarian company said net profit hit €21.4 million (£18.1 million) in the three months to the end of the decade, compared with a loss of €21 million (£17.8 million) the year before.

Chief executive Jozsef Varadi promised further progress as the firm prepares to launch new lines ahead of the busy summer.
He added that the company had benefited from benign competition and stable fuel prices.

"Whilst growing passenger volumes by an industry-leading 23% in the third quarter, we have achieved both higher load factors and improved yields. In short, it has been another quarter of significant achievement," he said.

Revenue at the company increased 24.6% to €637.3 million (£538 million). The number of passengers taking its flights rose 23.2% to 10 million.

"Despite it being a turbulent period for the aviation industry, which has intensified over the last year with the administration of Flybmi and Thomas Cook, Wizz Air has remained on an upward trajectory, with positive passenger and revenue growth," said Julie Palmer, partner at consultancy Begbies Traynor.

Shares in the business rose by as much as 130p, or 3.2%, to 4,240p on Wednesday morning.