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05 January 1999

Labour peer heads list of top dividend earners
Fat cat company directors are pocketing huge sums of money in dividend payments, reveals a survey in the January issue of Labour Research magazine.

Top dividend earner in the latest financial year was Labour peer Lord Sainsbury of Turville, former chair of the supermarket group, J Sainsbury. He raked in a staggering ?36 million in dividends in the year to February 1998. In July 1998 he was appointed a minister at the department of trade and industry and was required to resign his directorships and put his shareholdings in trust.

Lord Sainsbury received nearly seven times the second ranked top dividend earner, David Instance, chair of the Kent-based printing firm bearing his name who received ?5.2 million in dividends. Ranked third was Brian Souter, chair of rail and bus group Stagecoach, who got ?3.9 million in dividends. Peter Simon, chair of fashion group Monsoon Holdings, came in fourth place with dividends of ?3.8 million. Completing the top five dividend earners was Sir David Alliance, chair of mail order group N Brown and of textile multinational Coats Viyella. His share stakes in the two companies gave him total dividend earnings of ?3.8 million.

The Labour Research survey found that:
* 136 directors in 91 companies received over ?500,000 in dividends;
* just over half of these - 69 of the 136 - raked in ?1 million or more;
* in 27 companies two or more directors received 500,000 or more, including one company (agricultural products and financial services group ED&F Man) where seven directors received this sum; and
* over the last two financial years, the dividend expressed in pence per share has risen on average by 11.3% in the 66 Stock Exchange quoted companies included in the survey.

Notes to editors

The full list of 136 directors receiving ?500,000 or more in dividends is published in the January 1999 issue of Labour Research. The price of a single copy is ?2.80 (?3.10 including postage).
The Labour Research Department is an independent trade union and labour movement organisation founded 88 years ago. More than 2,000 trade union organisations, including 55 national unions, representing 99% of total TUC membership are affiliated.
For more details contact Neal Moister on 0171 902 9818.

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