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£880,000 bonus for Dhamija's wife

Shyam Bhatia in London | November 04, 2003 16:17 IST

Travel industry tycoon Dinesh Dhamija has seen another dramatic jump in his personal family fortune following the award of an £880,000 bonus to his wife Tania, a co founder of online travel agency Ebookers.

Dhamija, the son of a former Indian ambassador and Chief of Protocol at the Ministry of External Affairs, was recently ranked 80th in the new rich list of Non-Resident Indians in the United Kingdom.

The rich list based on cash assets revealed Dhamija's 2002 annual salary as £332,771. He also sold £9.45 million worth of shares  in November 2002.

Mrs Dhamija, who helped found Ebookers 22 years ago, was granted her bonus in lieu of a 1.5 per cent stake in the company she was offered by the remuneration committee in May 2002.

Defending his wife's bonus, Dhamija said in a statement: "People who create exceptional value should be given exceptional bonuses. She's a successful businesswoman in her own right and has really created value for the group."

"The fact that she's my wife and that she's a woman shouldn't be held against her."

It has also emerged that Mrs Dhamija, who  was paid £158,803 last year, played a key role in setting up Ebookers Indian call centre outsourcing business that saved the company £1.8 million in the last quarter alone.

Negotiations are under way to offer the call centre facilities to at least three other companies that are of similar size to Ebookers.

Last month a Belgian company paid $10 million for  a 6.25 per cent stake in the outsourcing business, valuing it at $160 million.

Details of Mrs Dhamija's payments have emerged as Ebookers assured investors it was back on track after a troubled summer that took into account the Iraq war and the impact of the SARS virus. Third quarter adjusted profits before tax have been revealed as £1.3 million against an £800,000 last time.


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