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The Business Matrix: Monday 19 May 2014

Dividend payouts to investors rocket

Shareholder payouts topped $228.4bn (£135.8bn) in the first quarter of the year, $54.6bn or 31 per cent more than the same period a year ago, according to Henderson Global Investors. Almost half the increase was down to Vodafone, which  made the world’s largest-ever dividend payment of $26bn when it sold its stake in Verizon Wireless in February.

Recruitment drive for 1,600 BT jobs

BT will today announce plans for a major recruitment drive across the UK, with 1,600 new engineering jobs being created at Openreach, its local-access network business. Sajid Javid, the Government’s culture  secretary, said: “The creation of new jobs, like the ones being announced by BT today, is one of the benefits of the roll-out of superfast broadband.”

What the Sunday papers said

Fears over Pfizer’s trademark plan

A tax expert fears the US firm may have secret plans to move AstraZeneca’s drug trademarks – which include cancer and diabetese drugs – out of Britain to cut its tax bill after buying the UK firm. Moving to a jurisdiction such as Luxembourg would see the firm copying the tax structure used by Amazon and Starbucks. 

Independent on Sunday

Americans line up £10.5bn Boots grab

Walgreens drugstore chain is believed to be examining a potential takeover of Britain’s biggest chemist, in the latest deal to be driven by tax flight from the US. The move would see Walgreens take full control of Alliance Boots and move its tax domicile to either Britain or Switzerland to save billions of pounds in tax every year.

Sunday Times

M&S in bid to soothe investors

Marks & Spencer chief Mark Bolland will reveal plans to boost shareholder returns and focus on improving profit margins when he announces a third year of declining profits this week. The clothing and food chain is expected to report a 8 per cent fall in pre-tax profits to £615m on Tuesday.

Sunday Telegraph

Co-op Group set  to axe dividend

The Co-op Group will scrap its dividend to members and distribute profits to community projects instead as part of a root-and-branch reform of the mutual. It will also kick out its amateur leaders as its elected board of lay members will be replaced by a professional executive team, the AGM was told.

Mail on Sunday

Profit rise to spark Royal Mail anger

Expect more anger over Royal Mail being sold off on the cheap on Thursday, as the company posts its first set of full-year results since floating last year. The postie is expected to deliver a rise in profits for 2013 thanks to improved margins and growing parcel volumes from online shopping.

Multiple numbers on Tuesday

Tuesday brings 2013 numbers from defence giant Babcock, oil and gas operator Afren, Homeserve, Vodafone and M&S. Expect another fall in profits from M&S, while Vodafone will update on the integration of acquisitions Kabel Deutschland and Ono. Publisher Bloomsbury has first-half figures.

Bailey makes Burberry debut

Christopher Bailey will deliver his first set of finals at the helm of Burberry come Wednesday, while SSE, FirstGroup, Stobart, London property specialist Great Portland, UK Mail and Cable & Wireless all reveal how they fared last year. Also mid-week we’ll hear from J2O and Tango maker Britvic.

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