Argos, the catalogue retailer with a pounds 231m cash pile, is rewarding shareholders with a special dividend of 42p per share, equivalent to pounds 127m. This is in addition to the 13p ordinary dividend which has been increased by almost 30 per cent on the previous year. Argos chief executive Mike Smith announced the plans along with impressive results for last year, which saw profits increase by 24 per cent to pounds 124m. The company is looking at opening branches of Argos in the Netherlands. It is considering acquisitions though refused to comment on whether it might buy H Samuel, the jewellery chain being sold by Signet.
Investment Column, page 18