LONDON: Despite the inexorable trend (upward) of its debt and (downward) of its share price since NTL:Telewest reincarnated on February 8 as Virgin Media, the board of the struggling US cable company has awarded chairman James F Mooney (pictured) bonus shares worth around $2.6 million (€1.88m; £1.3m).

This largesse comes at a time when the troubled cable operator has been forced by current global credit conditions to put its planned auction on ice.

The handout increments the 125,000 performance shares awarded to Mooney last July when NTL acquired Virgin Mobile to become Virgin Media.

The latest tranche of shares were also awarded for Mooney's success in meeting undisclosed performance objectives

In a filing last Friday with the US Securities & Exchange Commission, Virgin Media indicated that 91% of the "performance conditions relating to a comprehensive list of objectives for 2006 for Mr Mooney established by the executive committee of the board" had been met.

The performance criteria met by Mooney may have been connected with VM's share price - which, driven by takeover speculation, rose from around $21 in July 2006 to $29 earlier this year.

On Monday, Virgin's NASDAQ opening price stood at $22.90.

The company is headquartered in New York, but its activities focus primarily on the UK.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff