ALEX VEIGA

LOS ANGELES (AP) ¿ The chief executive of PulteGroup Inc., the nation's largest homebuilder, received 2009 compensation valued at $5.86 million, essentially flat with the pay he received in 2008, according to an Associated Press analysis of data filed with regulators.

Richard Dugas Jr., who also holds the title of president and became chairman in August, again received $1 million in base salary, according to a proxy statement filed April 6 with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The executive also got a performance-based cash bonus of $1.8 million ¿ more than double the prior-year's bonus. The compensation committee concluded that the company exceeded targets for cash flow from operations, but failed to meet goals for pretax income.

The bulk of Dugas' compensation was in the form of stock and options awards, which the company valued at about $3 million when they were granted, down from $3.9 million last year. Some of Dugas' stock options were a reward for his role managing the company's acquisition of rival Centex Corp. last spring for $1.3 billion in stock.

Dugas, 44, also received $52,151 worth of perks, a little less than half of what he was given in 2008. They included $18,314 for financial planning and insurance, $13,800 in dividends paid on restricted shares, $10,237 for financial planning costs, and $9,800 in matching contributions to his 401(k) retirement plan.

In 2008, Dugas received compensation valued at $5.85 million, a 10 percent drop from his 2007 pay package.

The Associated Press formula is designed to isolate the value the company's board placed on the executive's total compensation package during the last fiscal year. It includes salary, bonus, performance-related bonuses, perks, above-market returns on deferred compensation and the estimated value of stock options and awards granted during the year.

The calculations don't include changes in the present value of pension benefits, making the AP total different in most cases than the totals reported by companies to the SEC.

PulteGroup, based in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., has operations in 29 states and its Del Webb brand is the nation's largest builder of communities for adults age 55 and over. Like other builders, PulteGroup saw its fortunes begin to improve in 2009 as government incentives and low mortgage interest rates coaxed more buyers to enter the market.

But high unemployment and tight mortgage lending kept many others on the sidelines. And builders continued to face intense competition from heavily discounted foreclosed homes and other distressed properties.

The dynamic hampered PulteGroup's efforts to turn a profit in 2009, even as it benefited from a hefty tax gain toward the end of the year.

For all of 2009, PulteGroup reported a loss of $1.18 billion, or $3.75 a share, compared with a loss of $1.47 billion, or $5.81 per share, for 2008. Full-year revenue totaled $4.08 billion, compared with $6.26 billion for 2008.

Regardless, PulteGroup shares got a lift, gaining nearly 34 percent over the course of the year.

The company has scheduled its annual meeting of shareholders for May 12 in Romulus, Mich.

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On the Net:

PulteGroup Inc.: http://pultegroupinc.com/

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