LONDON, April 28 (Reuters) - British newspapers reported the following business stories on Sunday: The Sunday Telegraph:
LLOYDS PLOTS PATH BACK TO DIVIDEND Lloyds Banking Group CEO Antonio Horta-Osorio gave his strongest suggestion yet that the bank could return to paying a dividend. “As we finish our legacy issues, the profitability of the bank is going to increase a lot in the future, and, given we don’t have a usage for those funds, it is obvious that Lloyds will be a high dividend-paying stock in the future, as it has been in the past,” he said in an interview. Sources have previously indicated that the bank could begin paying a dividend for the 2014 financial year, meaning a first payment would be detailed in the bank’s preliminary results in March 2015. SFO PROBES ENRC‘S OFFSHORE PAYMENTS Hundreds of transactions involving accounts in jurisdictions including the British Virgin Islands, Latvia and Hong Kong are at the centre of the SFO’s criminal inquiry into embattled miner Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation. WHITBREAD PLANS COSTA, PREMIER EXPANSION Whitbread CEO Andy Harrison is believed to be working on ambitious new expansion targets for its Costa Coffee and Premier Inn chains. BANKS CLEARED TO START 2 BLN STG SWAPS PAYOUTS The Financial Conduct Authority has given Britain’s biggest banks permission to start paying the estimated 2 billion pounds-plus compensation owed to smaller firms that were mis-sold derivatives products. The Sunday Times:
SAINSBURY BEGINS HUNT FOR NEW CEO J Sainsbury has fired the starting gun on the process of finding a successor to CEO Justin King. Britain’s third biggest supermarket by market share is understood to have asked headhunter Egon Zehnder to begin sounding out candidates. Sources close to the company said King, 51, did not intend to leave in the near future but succession planning was standard practice. U.S. RAID PUTS INVENSYS ON BID ALERT Invensys is braced for a fresh takeover bid after a lightning raid on its shares by Value Act Capital, a prominent American activist hedge fund, which has built a stake of just over 8 percent. WPP‘S SORRELL TRIMS PAY TO APPEASE INVESTORS Martin Sorrell, boss of WPP, has offered to take a 100,000-pounds-a-year pay cut - just weeks after getting 11 million pounds ($17.04 million) from the advertising group’s controversial bonus scheme. The Independent on Sunday:
NATIONAL GRID RISKS STRIKE OVER PENSION National Grid , the operator of Britain’s biggest electricity and gas transmission networks, risks industrial action as it tries to tackle its debilitating pension deficit. A shortfall of 1 billion pounds may be addressed by a plan to treble contributions from thousands of employees.