The Business Matrix: Friday 13 February 2015


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The Independent Online

Weight-watchers discount calories

American weight-watchers have stopped counting calories, according to the US cereals giant Kellogg’s, which posted a smaller-than-forecast 0.5 per cent rise in quarterly sales, to $3.5bn (£2.3bn). It is revamping its Special K range to target new “healthy eating” trends, including a hot quinoa cereal and gluten-free versions.

BT placing boosts EE chest by £12bn

BT raised more than £1bn from institutional investors yesterday to help fund its £12.5bn takeover of the mobile operator EE. BT, which emerged as a winner in the latest Premier League rights auction on Monday, completed a placing of 222 million new shares at 455p. Its stock closed 3.5p higher at 463.4p.

Lady Judge picked to chair the IoD

The Institute of Directors has appointed the first chairwoman in its 112-year history. The US lawyer and businesswoman, Lady Judge, will replace Ian Dormer in May. She has dual US and British citizenship and chairs the Pension Protection Fund. She said: “I want to cement the IoD’s reputation as the home of good governance.”

Rio Tinto hands £4bn to investors

Rio Tinto is to hand $6bn (£3.9bn) back to its investors. The miner announced plans for a $2bn shares buyback and increased its final dividend by 12 per cent to $2.15 a share. It came despite a 9 per cent fall in full-year earnings to $9.3bn as falling commodity prices hit home. Rio said it took a $4.1bn hit from lower prices in 2014.

SuperGroup’s Given departs

SuperGroup’s chief operating officer, Susanne Given, has left the company. The former John Lewis executive was hired in 2012 to put the fashion retailer back on track after operational problems led to a profits warning. Her exit came four months after the former Co-op CEO, Euan Sutherland, took the helm.

Morrisons chief checks out early

The Morrisons chief executive, Dalton Philips, is to leave the job a month earlier than planned. The beleaguered supermarket chain said last month that Mr Philips, 46, would leave after  it issued its annual results in mid-March, but he has now agreed with the board that he will depart on Monday.