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.
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Air Algerie AH5017 crash: Jet fell 30,000 feet in three minutes ‘due to violent storm’
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
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Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
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