Barclays and BP in the spotlight as results are revealed

THE reporting season gathers pace this week when some of the UK’s biggest companies unveil their annual figures, including oil giant BP, banking group Barclays and the country’s largest pharmaceutical firm, GlaxoSmithKline.

Hopes have been raised that BP’s fourth quarter results tomorrow will include its first dividend increase since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

City analysts currently forecast a fourth-quarter dividend of eight US cents per share, up from seven cents in the previous quarter. This will be watched closely as it accounts for £1 in every £6 invested by pension schemes.

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The row over bankers’ pay will reignite once again on Friday when Barclays kicks off the industry’s annual results season amid reports boss Bob Diamond could pocket up to £10 million.

The chief executive could receive a bonus of around £3m, plus a deferred share award of £6.7m on top of his £1.3m salary.

Sunday papers reported that Barclays is expected to unveil pre-tax profits of £6 billion for 2011, against £6.1bn the previous year, despite its powerhouse investment arm Barclays Capital being hit by volatile market conditions. The firm is also expected to announce that it surpassed government-set lending targets.

Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline is set to book a healthy £8bn profit tomorrow despite a sluggish performance in its final quarter. Analysts expect a 1.3 per cent rise in sales in final quarter, down on the 4 per cent growth in the previous three months when strong sales of vaccines, such as a cervical cancer drug, helped it beat expectations.

Engine maker Rolls-Royce is in line to report profits in excess of £1bn for the first time when it announces its annual results on Thursday. The group is forecast to report pre-tax profits of £1.1bn for the year to 31 December, compared with £955m the previous year.

Struggling holidays firm Thomas Cook is expected to reveal more sales pain on Wednesday amid signs that industry rival TUI Travel has picked up some of its business.