Charitable and political donations
The Partnership donated £3,943,000 (2009: £2,893,000) for charitable purposes during the year, comprising £3,343,000 (2009: £2,404,000) for welfare causes and £600,000 (2009: £489,000) for music and arts, learning and the environment. In addition, we provided substantial financial and practical support to causes in the communities where we trade. The Partnership made no political donations.
Pension Fund cash contribution
On 25 March 2010 the company paid a lump sum cash contribution to the Pension Fund of £150m to help address part of the deficit.
In March 2009, John Lewis plc issued a £275m Sterling bond at a coupon of 8.375%, repayable in 2019.
Dividends on Preference Shares for 2010 were £222,000 (2009: £222,000). Dividends on SIP shares (issued in connection with the BonusSave scheme) for 2010 were £1,130,900 (2009: £1,534,000).
Purchase of shares
At the annual general meeting held on 16 July 2009, the company was authorised to make market purchases of up to £3,696,995 nominal of the 5% Cumulative Preference Stock and up to £500,000 nominal of the 7.5% Cumulative Preference Stock representing the remaining stock in issue. No purchases were made during the year and shareholders will be invited to renew the authority at the annual general meeting, as detailed on page 80. The Board considers that these stocks are an inefficient form of fixed interest finance and that it would be advantageous to the company to acquire them over time, as suitable opportunities arise.
The Directors, after reviewing the group’s operating budgets, investment plans and financing arrangements, consider that the company and the group have adequate resources to continue in operation for the foreseeable future. A full description of the group’s business activities, financial position, cash flows, liquidity position, committed facilities and borrowing position, together with the factors likely to affect its future development and performance, is set out in the Business Review and in the notes to the accounts. The company and group have, at the date of this report, sufficient financing available for its estimated requirements for the foreseeable future and, accordingly, the Directors are satisfied that it is appropriate to adopt the going concern basis in preparing the financial statements.
Auditors and disclosure of information to auditors
A resolution to reappoint PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as auditors and to authorise the directors to fix their remuneration will be proposed at the annual general meeting.
The directors of the group have taken all the steps that they ought to have taken as directors in order to make themselves aware of any information needed by the group’s auditors in connection with preparing their report and to establish that the auditors are aware of that information. So far as the directors are aware there is no such information of which the group’s auditors are unaware.
For and by Order of the Board
19 April 2010