Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

TOPSHOP BOSS PAYS HIMSELF A BILLION; I Accept It's Big Number, Says Green

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

TOPSHOP BOSS PAYS HIMSELF A BILLION; I Accept It's Big Number, Says Green

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS BLACKHURST;JONATHAN PRYNN

TOPSHOP tycoon Philip Green has awarded himself [pounds sterling]1.2 billion in Britain's biggest pay day.

The dividend amounts to [pounds sterling]23 million a week for the Green family over the past 12 months and comes from Arcadia, his hugely successful retail empire.

Mr Green said: "I accept it's a big number." He pointed out that Arcadia had enjoyed record profits from three of its chains - Topshop, Wallis and Evans.

The money will be put aside to help finance a possible takeover bid. Mr Green failed in a [pounds sterling]9.1billion attempt to buy Marks& Spencer last year.

In all, Arcadia is paying its shareholders [pounds sterling]1.3billion, with the Green family owning 92 per cent of the shares. Mr Green and his wife Tina were said by this year's Sunday Times Rich List to be worth [pounds sterling]4.8billion.

The star Arcadia performer was Topshop with a record [pounds sterling]102 million profit.

Today's figures come in the teeth of a savage downturn among other retailers.

Mr Green said the strong performance of Arcadia "has given us the confidence to both pay the dividend and more importantly to continue the high level of investment in the business". Nearly 50 new shops will be opened this year, creating 1,400 jobs. Henk Potts of Barclays Stockbrokers said today's figures showed what good business Mr Green had done in buying Arcadia for "only" [pounds sterling]850 million three years ago.

"He has taken a distressed business, changed the brand and stores and proved again that he has the Midas touch in identifying what consumers want," said Mr Potts.

Attention would now focus on whether Mr Green is considering another attempt for M&S. Mr Potts added: "When you get to this level of wealth, business becomes a game or a challenge and I'm sure he still wants to prove that he was right with his offer for M&S last year.

"He walked away from M&S in the end, so maybe this is him saying to shareholders that perhaps they should have taken the offer." Arcadia also owns Topman, Burton, Miss Selfridge and Dorothy Perkins. …

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