The Business Matrix: Friday 1 June 2012


HMV sells Apollo theatre to Stage C

HMV has agreed to sell the Hammersmith Apollo to Stage C, a joint venture between O2 owner Anschutz and Germany's CTS, for £32m. The London venue, which has hosted bands from the Beatles to Queen, was bought by HMV in 2010. Proceeds from the sale will be used to pay down debt and allow HMV to extend £220m bank loans to September 2014.

TNK-BP owner 'open to offers'

TNK-BP, the Russian joint venture with oil giant BP that is embroiled in a shareholder dispute, may get a third investor, co-owner and former chief executive Mikhail Fridman has said. Mr Fridman, who quit as chief executive on Monday, told Kommersant newspaper: "Everything is possible and realistic. We are open to proposals."

Rain blamed for drop in B&Q sales

Sales at the DIY chain B&Q have slumped as the wet weather left few people with good reason to buy outdoor furniture or garden goods. In the past three months, UK and Ireland sales fell 10.4 per cent. Sales in France were down by 1.8 per cent, but the euro's weakness saw B&Q's owner Kingfisher take a £5m hit to convert the profits into pounds.

Fuller raises dividend payouts

Fuller, Smith & Turner has calculated that its investors have seen dividend payments rise 14,000 per cent over the past 60 years during the Queen's reign. The London's pub group, hoping to cash in on the Jubilee celebrations, raised the payout another 8 per cent yesterday to 7.6p yesterday as it posted annual profits of £30m.

Profit rise is sweet at Tate & Lyle

Strong growth of its zero-calorie sweetener Splenda and other speciality food ingredients helped boost Tate & Lyle's full-year profits by 23 per cent. The sweeteners and starches group reopened a second plant in March to meet demand for Splenda while high sugar prices also helped its other divisions.

Scope for more asset purchases

The Bank of England could add to its programme of asset purchases and will do whatever it can to keep the economy recovering if overseas events worsen, the Bank's deputy governor Charlie Bean said yesterday. "We have the scope to do more asset purchases," he told the Eastern Daily Press.

Lloyds appoints new directors

Lloyds Banking Group has appointed Lord Blackwell and Carolyn Fairbairn as non-executive directors. Lord Blackwell, who will also be the chairman of the Scottish Widows group from 1 September, is a former director at Standard Life, while Ms Fairbairn was on the FSA board.

Small rise in May property prices

The housing market is stuck in a rut, despite a surprise 0.3 per cent rise in prices during May, according to Nationwide. The bounce takes the average house price to £166,022, 0.7 per cent lower than a year ago. The building society said a weak labour market was sapping demand.

US growth revised down

The US economy grew at an annual rate of 1.9 per cent in the first three months of the year. The US lowered its estimate from an initial estimate of 2.2 per cent, largely because consumers and governments spent less than first estimated.

Capula sold to Dutch Imtech

Capula, a provider of IT systems for power stations, nuclear facilities and water networks, has been sold by the buyout house Dunedin to Dutch listed company Imtech. Capula's clients include Thames Water, EDF Energy and National Grid.