Business week in review

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The Independent Online

In profit...

He dresses the same, he looks the same, even his hand gestures are the same – but Tim Cook signalled on Monday that he isn't going to run Apple anything like Steve Jobs did.

The 51-year-old Alabaman native finally differentiated himself from his celebrated predecessor by doing something Jobs couldn't even bring himself to comprehend: pay shareholders a dividend. Jobs preferred to reinvest the cash in iPads, iPods and iWhateverNexts, but Cook gave his shareholders $2.65 a share. Apple's first dividend payment in 17 years will cost the company $10bn.

Was that a mischievous little smile, Justin King? The Sainsbury boss announced on Tuesday that the supermarket had seen like-for-like sales increase by a better-than-expected 2.6 per cent in the 10 weeks to 17 March. Tesco has slipped of late, and King suggested customers were swapping to Sainsbury: "If any of our competitors are doing less well, that helps us grow faster."

The Budget has been rather wonderfully described as "granny bashing" in some quarters, but it did bring some cheer for GlaxoSmithKline boss, Sir Andrew Witty. On Thursday, GSK confirmed that new research & development regulations mean it can afford to invest £500m in a manufacturing facility in Ulverston, Cumbria.

... at a loss

No one seems to get John Carter. The uninspiringly entitled flick about a Civil War veteran who, obviously, is transported to Mars, is set to become one of the most disastrous flops in film history.

Disney said on Tuesday that it expected to make a $200m loss on the film that stars Taylor Kitsch (who he?) and Lynn Collins (who she??). Disney boss Robert Iger was not impressed – but then neither were the handful of moviegoers who saw John Carter (honestly, how can a film that sounds like it's about an accountant cost $250m to make?).

While Sir Andrew, see above, was having a right good week splashing the cash at GSK, AstraZeneca David Brennan was down in the dumps and he couldn't even cheer himself up with a taste of his own medicine.

Britain's second-biggest pharmaceuticals firm announced on Tuesday that an experimental antidepressant, the catchily-named TC-5214, had failed clinical trials and would be dumped. Brennan will make a $50m writedown on what was once, like John Carter, hailed as a potential blockbuster.

Randgold boss Mark Bristow saw shares tank on Thursday, amid reports of a coup in Mali, where the gold miner has a large presence.

Chris Hughes

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