Cable & Wireless returns over £1.8bn to shareholders -- and other news briefs

Cable & Wireless returns £1.8bn
The telecoms giant Cable & Wireless is to return over £1.8bn of its cash pile to shareholders, following pressure...

Cable & Wireless returns £1.8bn
The telecoms giant Cable & Wireless is to return over £1.8bn of its cash pile to shareholders, following pressure from institutional investors. The company plans to spend £320m on a special dividend of 11.5p a share, and has pledged to buy back up to 15% of its stock for £15bn.

The Times says that the company reported a sharp fall in pre-tax profits to £83m for the six months to 30 September, and a 5% fall in revenues from the core Global business. The Financial Times reports that C&W saw few attractive acquisition targets, and has decided to return the money to shareholders. The Guardian says that C&W continued to play down rumours that the company is poised to make an offer for Colt Telecom.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the company tried to allay fears about the future of its Global division with predictions that the unit would stabilise in the second half, following a massive redundancy programme. The Independent reports chief executive Graham Wallace's views on the company's acquisition policy: "We've got millions of ideas. We've just got strict criteria," he said.

Hutchison to create 600 jobs in Glasgow
The mobile phone operator, Hutchison 3G UK, plans to set up a large customer centre and headquarters in Glasgow. The move will create at least 600 jobs. The Guardian reports that the move has been welcomed by Scottish enterprise minister Wendy Alexander.

Best of the rest
The Times reports
  • The Internet service provider, Freeserve, has threatened to sue the government unless it resolves a tax dispute that favours the company's US competitors.

The Financial Times reports
  • Dell Computer is the only major PC maker to see any growth during the third quarter, according to a report by IDC.

  • Hewlett-Packard announced that a strong performance from its printing business and cost-cutting measures have helped the company report slightly improved fourth quarter earnings of $361m. However, this figure still marks a sharp downturn in profits from last year.

  • The Internet portal, Yahoo, has announced that it is to diversify into broadband with a deal to provide premium co-branded DSL Internet access.

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