Swire Pacific's most highly-paid employee - believed to be chairman Peter Sutch - took a pay cut during the 1996 year, but continued to earn more than $1 million a month. The British hong's annual report indicates Mr Sutch's annual reimbursement fell from the $13 million to $13.5 million category in 1995 to $12.5 million to $13 million for 1996. The annual emoluments of Swire's second highest-paid employee during 1996 - most likely Rod Eddington, the now-departed Cathay Pacific Airways managing director - also fell. He is believed to have received $11.5 million to $12 million in 1995, but this figure fell to $10.5 million to $11 million last year. It appears the head of Swire Properties, Keith Kerr, bucked the trend during 1996. The accounts seem to indicate the third highest-paid executive at Swire received between $10 million and $10.5 million during 1996 - compared with $9.5 million to $10 million in 1995. Observers of the company said yesterday the fall in the reimbursement level of the two most highly paid figures at Swire could be related to its core earnings performance during 1996. The company's attributable profit rose 18.5 per cent to $7.65 billion during 1996, but the company's result was down for the year before exceptional gains from the sell-down of the company's stakes in Hong Kong Dragon Airlines (Dragonair) and the Marriott Hotel. One analyst said he believed both Swire and Cathay had reimbursement packages for directors and executives that took into account the core earnings performances of the companies. A conglomerates analyst said: 'You wouldn't expect them to be rewarded for selling off the crown jewels, which is why it appears they've gone on the basis of the pre-exceptionals performance.'