BP To Decide On Dividend Cut On Monday

Immediately following the suddenly very contentious US-England soccer game on Saturday, part two of the great transatlantic diplomatic fiasco will occur on Monday when BP decides whether to cut its dividend. BP is now caught in a massive political crucible: if it does go ahead and cut, all of Britain will scream for Obama's blood. If it doesn't, Obama, and especially Botox queen Pelosi, will demand that BP be dismantled. Classic lose-lose, and as always, another huge political blunder for Obama whose only action so far has been to appear on TV day after day and, courtesy of teleprompter acting classes, to appear stern and serious. And that's about it, even as the real spilled oil content in the gulf has now been double from prior estimates. 

Here is BBC's take as to what will happen on Monday:

BBC business editor Robert Peston expects that it will formally agree some kind of reduction in the dividend payment has already been taken.

The meeting comes in response to pressure from the US government, which wants BP to use the money to pay for the Gulf of Mexico clean-up instead.

"In practice Monday's discussion at newly instituted weekly meetings of the board will be about when to suspend the payments, how long to suspend the payments, and what to do with the billions of dollars that would be saved and not paid to shareholders," Robert Peston said.

Pensions expert and former government adviser Ros Altmann told the BBC that if the company did cut its dividend it would be "a blow" but should not be taken "out of proportion".

"For people already drawing a pension it doesn't really have much impact. For people saving for a pension, what we're talking about here is one quarter's dividend perhaps not being paid, certainly initially," she said.

"It will only have an impact on people who are coming up to retirement immediately and will then have to convert their pension fund into a pension straight away, then the value of that pension fund will be less."

Joanne Segars, chief executive of the NAPF, agreed that the impact on pensions would be "relatively diluted" as pension funds invest in many different companies' stocks and shares.

"The ability of pension funds to pay out pensions to today's pensioners and tomorrow's pensioners shouldn't be affected by this crisis," she said.

But she added: "If we saw a continuation of withholding of dividends or the company coming under further pressure and further speculation about its future then that's a real issue."

New British PM has so far tried to not get too involved in the political fallout, althought even he seems to be gradually siding on behalf of a BP shareholders:

A Downing Street spokesman said Mr Cameron had told the BP chairman that he was "frustrated and concerned" about the environmental damage caused by the spill.

He added: "He said that it is in everyone's interests that BP continues to be a financially strong and stable company."

David Cameron will discuss the issue with US President Barack Obama during their regular phone call on Saturday.

Perhaps in the latest theatric sign of anti-UK solidarity the president can have his next national address from the US-UK soccer stadium. Then again with England victory odds at 1.58 compared to the US' lowly 7.5, this may not be the best idea.