Foster's has frozen basic wages for senior management for the next 12 months, with CEO Ian Johnston taking home a AUS$1m (US$858,000) bonus in the group's most recent fiscal year, according to the company's annual report.

Most senior management salaries will remain unchanged for the fiscal year to the end of June 2010, Foster's said in its annual report, published yesterday (14 September).

Group CEO Ian Johnston took home a basic salary of around AUS$1.26m, together with a bonus of just over AUS$1m, which will be paid in shares in the group, according to the report.

Senior Foster's Group executives also received bonus pay, in contrast to the prior year, which "reflects (in part) the Group's increase in normalised earnings per share of 4.6%", the company said.

The firm is currently reviewing its long-term incentive plan, it added.

In Foster's full-year results conference last month, Johnston said that "wine returns are not where we want them to be. The wine category is bearing the full brunt of a lack of consumer confidence brought on by global economic conditions."

Foster's reported group net profits before charges up 4% to A$741.5m (US$612.6m) for the 12 months to the end of June, largely boosted by its domestic beer business.

Speculation persists that the firm may look to sell its wine arm, which it has "structurally separated" from brewing operations in Australia.

A source close to company told just-drinks two weeks ago that bonuses for sales teams at Foster's Wine Estates, the group's North American wine unit, had been scrapped for the most recent fiscal year, even though some regional teams had met agreed targets.

Bonuses were pulled "because of the Americas underperformance", according to an email reportedly sent to employees by management and seen by just-drinks.

Foster's declined to comment on the matter.