The Business Matrix: Friday 18 February 2011

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The Independent Online

Lambert to join Bank’s new FPC

Sir Richard Lambert, who was director general of the CBI until last month, has been named as one of four external members on the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee. The new watchdog is charged with warding off another financial crisis. MORE

Allen Stanford files $7bn lawsuit

Allen Stanford, the jailed Texan financier accused of running a massive Ponzi scheme while based in Antigua, has filed a $7.2bn (£4.5bn) lawsuit accusing federal prosecutors and regulators of depriving him of his constitutional rights.

Kheraj quits Lazards after just six weeks

Naguib Kheraj, a former JPMorgan Cazenoze executive who recently joined Lazard in a top international role, has left after only six weeks in the job. Mr Kheraj, who has also been finance director at Barclays, is expected to take up part-time or non-executive jobs in the banking sector. MORE

Dunelm CEO hands over the reins

Will Adderley, chief executive of Dunelm, has relinquished day-to-day running of the firm his parents started from a market stall in 1979. Nick Wharton, a former Halfords executive, is taking over from Mr Adderley, who will be deputy chairman, Half-year profits at Dunelm rose 8 per cent to £49m.

Tui teams up with Intrepid Travel

Tui Travel has entered into a strategic venture with the Australian operator Intrepid Travel to create a global leader in adventure holidays. Tui said the deal will improve its position in the fast growing adventure travel sector and will save about £10m a year in costs. Tui will own 60 per cent of the venture and Intrepid the rest.

Best Western’s room for success

Best Western, which operates 270 hotels in the UK, said sales through its reservations centre in York increased by 45 per cent in January as more people looked to take breaks in the UK rather than abroad. The centre received a record number of calls on 10 January – more than double the number a year ago.

Inflation heads upwards in the US

US core consumer prices rose at the quickest pace in 15 months in January, suggesting a long period of slowing inflation had run its course. The annual rate of core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, stood at 1 per cent in January, up from 0.8 per cent the previous month. Adding in food and energy, the headline inflation rate was 1.6 per cent. The central bank has an informal target of 2 per cent.

Ladbrokes jumps 20% as betting falls

Ladbrokes has reported a 20 per cent jump in annual profits to £202m as the UK’s biggest bookmaker overcame a 7 per cent fall in bets staked in shops. The group, which has 2,100 outlets in the UK, benefited from online demand for in-play wagers and the continued roll-out of new gaming machines at its shops. The high street business was hit by the loss of a significant number of horse racing fixtures due to the weather.

Alcon stake sale boost for Nestlé

Nestlé, the world’s biggest food business, tripled its net profits to 34.2bn Swiss francs (£22bn) last year, thanks to the sale of its stake in the eyecare firm Alcon. The Kit-Kat and Häagen-Dazs maker saw sales rise 6.2 per cent to Sfr110bn, helped by a strong performance in Latin America and Asia. However, Nestlé also warned that it would continue to face “volatile” raw material prices.

Bats Global near takeover of Chi-X

Chi-X, the pan-European trading platform owned by a consortium of banks including Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, is believed to be near a $360m (£223m) takeover by its US rival Bats Global Markets. The deal, which could come within a week, is the latest in a wave of mergers that has seen Deutsche Börse set to buy NYSE Euronext, and the London Stock Exchange team up withToronto.

International sales boost Kingfisher

B&Q’s owner Kingfisher has forecast a 20 per cent rise in annual profits after strong international growth offset tough UK trading. Total sales at UK stores firmed 0.1 per cent to £835m in the latest quarter as December’s weather delayed the installation of kitchens but prompted a surge in fuel sales and demand for portable heaters.

Petrol prices at record levels

The price of petrol and diesel at the pumps has hit new records, with a reduction in the European market cost of fuel not being passed on to UK consumers, the AA has said. Average petrol prices are now 128.81p a litre – up 0.54p from mid-January, while diesel is 134.01p a litre – up 1.26p. But the market cost has fallen 2p, the AA added.

Sports Direct staff set to score £11m

Sports Direct has said it is on track to hit its profits target, triggering an £11m bonus for staff, after sales growth accelerated. The sportswear chain, which owns more than 350 stores in the UK, said it will reach its underlying profits goal of £205m in the year to April after sales jumped 12 per cent to £416m in the latest quarter.

TNK-BP pushes for link with Rosneft

The management of BP’s Russian joint venture, TNK-BP, is to recommend that the company push for a role in the UK energy giant’s tie-up with Russian rival Rosneft at a board meeting today. The AAR consortium that co-owns TNK-BP with BP has also challenged the Rosneft deal, saying it violates the JV’s shareholder deal.