Top executives at Aggregate Industries have been offered a "golden handcuffs" deal worth millions of pounds to stay on after its takeover by Swissowned Holcim, the world's second biggest cement maker.
The £1.8 billion tie-up with Aggregate - which still awaits EU clearance - will give Holcim an entry into the UK market and boost its presence in the US.
However, Holcim is keen to persuade the four men who have steered Aggregate to profits in excess of £140 million to stay at the helm - and it is willing to pay a handsome sum to get its way.
Holcim has now offered the four a "rentention bonus" of a year's pay to stay on for two years plus a cash bonus for 2005 of not less than 60 per cent of salary, with a further 20 per cent guaranteed for
The offer means chief executive Peter Tom and three of his top team, Bill Bolsover, John Bowater and James Retallack will share bonuses totalling £3.55 million if they stay in post for two years.
The four are currently paid nearly £2 million between them, with Mr Retallack on the lowest salary of £340,000.
Mr Tom is already set to collect £29 million from the sale of his 20.7 million shares in Aggregate, while Mr Retallack will get nearly £50,000 from the sale of his shares, excluding options.
Aggregate runs 142 quarries in the UK and the US, with more than five billion tonnes of reserves, 164 readymix concrete plants, 90 asphalt plants and 32 pre-cast concrete factories.
Meanwhile Mowlem announced plans to carve up its construction arm in a bid to return to profit.
The group, which issued its second profits warning in two months three weeks ago, said it would split the construction services operation into three divisions - Mowlem Building, Mowlem Infrastructure and Mowlem Engineering.
Mowlem said earlier this month that problems in construction services were likely to contribute to pretax losses of about £7.5 million in the year to December 31. Analysts had expected profits of between £27 million and £30 million. The firm also said group finance director Gerald Brown was quitting.
A spokesman said Mowlem could not rule out job losses among construction services staff, but added: "I don't think that is expected to be a major factor at the moment."