Business week in review
Sunday 10 March 2013
More and more, it feels like Ivan Glasenberg is now the big beast of world mining, particularly after his peers at huge rivals BHP Billiton, Anglo American and Rio Tinto have already left or are about to do so.
The boss of the aluminium-to-zinc (A-Z, geddit?) trader Glencore has all but completely masterminded the takeover – sorry, merger – of the coal and copper miner Xstrata, and now it seems that the billionaire has an almost water-into-wine ability to make money out of even falling profit. Glasenberg might argue that he's one of the lowest-paid bosses in the FTSE 100, but his large shareholding means that the South African still received a $172m (£115m) dividend on Tuesday.
Glencore increased the dividend despite profit falling by 75 per cent last year. But Glasenberg didn't take a bonus – so that's all right, then.
Henry Engelhardt also saw his coffers boosted by a big shareholding, this time in Admiral, the insurer he founded 20 years ago. To mark the Confused.com owner's platinum jubilee, a bumper dividend of 45.5p a share was announced on Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, Standard Life chief David Nish pleased its shareholders by announcing a 6.5 per cent hike in its share dividend to 14.7p.
...at a loss
Ah, retailers. It's never their fault, is it? Once again, the weather – you know, that thing that's been predictably rotten for years – has been blamed for poor sales at a major retailer that employs swathes of people to predict consumer trends and what impacts their purchasing habits.
Debenhams' chief executive, Michael Sharp, saw £175m wiped off its market valuation on Monday as the department store chain issued a shock profit warning as a result of January's wintry weather.
However, Sharp did argue: "The minute the snow stopped our performance recovered."
How on earth would Debenhams cope if the UK was subject to regular hurricanes or was located on a volatile geological fault line?
Enduring a very bleak Tuesday was Standard Chartered boss Peter Sands. It emerged that he saw his bonus cut from $3.5m in 2011 to an admittedly tidy sum of $3.15m last year, a result of the huge fine the bank faced for breaching US sanctions on Iran.
On Wednesday, the holiday group Thomas Cook announced that it would axe 2,500 jobs and close 200 of its branches. This is part of the planned turnaround of the heavily indebted business by chief executive Harriet Green.
- 1 Scottish independence: Ireland since 1919 is a lesson for Scotland in what a Yes vote means
- 2 Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
- 3 Lego breaks out of the toy box and heads for the gallery
- 4 Julian Assange and Edward Snowden join piracy mogul Kim Dotcom’s political campaign in New Zealand
- 5 Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Thailand deaths: Pair's bloodied bodies found naked on Koh Tao beach
Jihadi John': MI5 may have identified Isis militant who killed David Haines but options limited
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: Police will be on high alert on Friday whatever the result
David Haines beheading: David Cameron says Britain will hunt down Isis 'monsters' shown in video murdering aid worker
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: Yes campaign feels the heat as Alex Salmond's NHS claims come under furious attack
£23m Birmingham cycle scheme is attacked by Tory councillor for not catering to the elderly
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
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