A view from across the pond and how some feel about the handling of the oil disaster by BP. Is the British love affair with Barack coming to an end?
The American interference on dividend policy has very serious consequences — and not just for BP. The dividends that it pays are a significant component in the income of pension funds in both Britain and the United States. BP says that £1 in every £7 that pension funds receive from dividends from FTSE 100 companies comes from BP. Pension funds would find a severe gap in their income if no dividend were paid. No less than 18 million people in the United Kingdom either own BP shares or are beneficiaries from pension funds that hold BP shares.
Current White House rhetoric is not just a dangerous worry for British pensioners. No less than 40 per cent of BP shares are held in the United States. A suspension of dividends would deprive US savers of $4 billion per annum.
In addition there are 22,800 people employed by BP who live in the United States. There are, therefore, many American voters who will not thank President Obama if he jeopardises their income or their pensions by careless talk on BP.