Hilton FD defends controversial payout

Rosemary Thorne, the finance director at Hilton Group, has defended the
£4.2bn special dividend pay out made by the hotel group, following angry
reaction from the UK Shareholders Association.

Thorne said Revenue & Customs would not have allowed such a sizeable
return of cash to be structured as B shares. ‘Don’t you think HMRC won’t want to
get their hands on that?’ she said.

She said private investors should consult their financial advisers for ways
of getting around the tax issue, the Independent reported.

UKSA said the dividend payout was a prime example of the interests of private
shareholders being ignored in favour of institutional investors.

The group pointed to the fact that the payment of a special dividend is taxed
as income at rates of up to 40% while issuing B shares has the advantage of
being treated as an asset and offset against an individual’s annual allowance of
£8,500 under capital gains tax rules.

The Hilton Group is returning the money to investors following the sale of
its international hotel business to Hilton Hotels Corporation, its brand partner
in the US. It will be one of the largest ever shareholder payouts from a British

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