(Adds futures prices, company news)
LONDON, March 11 (Reuters) - European shares headed for a higher start on Friday after sharp declines in the previous session, with a recovery in metals and crude oil prices seen supporting commodities-related stocks.
Futures for the Euro STOXX 50, Germany's DAX , Britain's FTSE and France's CAC were 1.5 to 2.1 percent higher.
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index fell 1.8 percent in the previous session, having earlier risen by as much as 2.6 percent after the European Central Bank surprised investors with rate cuts and an expansion of its asset purchase programme. ECB President Mario Draghi later said more rate cuts were unlikely.
The FTSEurofirst 300 index has fallen about 2.4 percent so far this year and stays on track for a weaker weekly close after gaining in the previous three straight weeks.
Anglo-South African financial services company Old Mutual said it would split up its four main units - Old Mutual Emerging Markets, Old Mutual Wealth, Nedbank Group and OM Asset Management to unlock value.
Samarco, a joint venture between Brazil's Vale SA and Australia's BHP Billiton, expects to restart production at its iron ore mine in Minas Gerais by the start of the fourth quarter, its chief executive told Reuters on Thursday, less than a year after a burst tailings dam there killed 19 people.
German truck maker MAN expects operating profit to rise significantly this year, after restructuring costs and a weak Brazilian market curbed earnings in 2015.
The company is recalling some DiGiorno, Lean Cuisine and Stouffer's products in the United States and Canada because they may be contaminated with small pieces of glass.
The telephone company is considering options for its infrastructure assets, including its mobile-phone towers, potentially following in the footsteps of European rivals as telephone companies seek ways to raise cash, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing people familiar with the matter.
The departure of its U.S. boss is a blow to VW's attempts to revive sales after its emissions test cheating scandal, but should not disrupt its efforts to strike a deal with U.S. regulators, analysts and sources told Reuters.
Volkswagen plans to cut about 3,000 office jobs in Germany by the end of 2017 as the carmaker strives to offset the cost of its emissions test-rigging scandal, two sources at the company said on Thursday.
A spokesman said the retailer will invest in its Real out-of-town hypermarkets and that there are parties interested in the Real stores. He declined comment on rumours that Metro was aiming to sell Real.
Liberation newspaper reported that Chairman Vincent Bollore's stake in the media group could soon increase to 17 or 18 percent following the buyback and cancellation of shares by Vivendi. Vivendi declined to comment.
Caixabank said on Thursday it will make three dividend payments in cash and one in scrip against 2016 earnings and the dividend payout ratio in cash will be 50 percent of profit or above.
The drugmaker said a late-stage Phase III study into rheumatoid arthritis drug sarilumab met its main goal.
The French energy services and electrical engineering group forecast that 2016 would be "another year of EBITA growth, excellent cash conversion and strong M&A activity". The group EBITA margin should grow by 10 to 15 basis points, it said.
The French gas and power group said it had acquired the remaining 51 percent stake in Maia Eolis, a French company which specializes in the development, construction and maintenance of wind farm.
Air France-KLM unit Transavia, the first low-cost carrier to set up in Munich, says bookings for flights out of the southern German city are better than expected. (Reporting by Atul Prakash)