The Business Matrix: Friday 2 May 2014


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The Independent Online

BG threatens to pull out of Egypt

BG Group has threatened to shut its Egyptian operations amid ongoing political turmoil and unpaid bills. But healthier results from Australia and Brazil helped the oil and gas explorer, which ousted its chief executive Chris Finlayson on Monday, to beat expectations with a 3 per cent fall in quarterly profits to $1.15bn.

Boss of UBS rogue trader is exiled

The immediate boss of UBS rogue trader Kweku Adoboli, who lost the bank £1.4bn, has been banned from working in the City ever again. John Hughes, the most senior trader on UBS’s exchange-traded funds desk at the time, failed to report some of Adoboli’s activities, largely around a fund of profits, known as the Umbrella.

Mortgage lending slows its pace

Mortgage lending cooled in March in the run-up to tougher restrictions on home loans, Bank of England figures suggested, as approvals fell  to 67,135 – the lowest level  since last September. The  Bank has also refocused its Funding for Lending Scheme away from mortgages towards corporate credit.

Schroders boosts assets to £268bn

A strong pound and tension between Ukraine and Russia failed to prevent Schroders boosting its assets to a record £268bn during the first quarter. The fund manager made profits of £118.9m, compared with £115m a year ago, but warned retail demand may fall over the coming months due to economic uncertainty.

Metro expands to 43,000 customers

Metro Bank, the four-year-old bank, gained 43,000 new customers in the first three months of the year, taking the total to 318,000. Its after-tax losses improved slightly from £10.8m in the final quarter of 2013 to £10.6m. Metro has 26 branches and it plans a further eight this year.

Fields steps up as boss at Ford

Ford has confirmed that its chief operating officer Mark Fields will be replacing chief executive Alan Mulally, who retires in July. Mr Mulally, who joined in 2006 from Boeing,  was credited with returning the US carmaker to profitability and steering it through the financial crisis. 

275 pubs sold off by Greene King

Greene King has sold 275 tenanted and leased pubs to Hawthorn Leisure, which has been set up to acquire, invest in and support pubs across the UK. It has entered into a three-year supply agreement with Greene King for the continued supply of its ales to the pubs.

Simply Be owner hits £100m profits

N Brown, the home shopping firm behind Simply Be and Jacamo, said profits rose 5.3 per cent to £100m after a “robust” year in which revenues grew 6.4 per cent to £835m. It is also looking to expand its Simply Be brand in the US, targeting young, plus-sized women.

Go-Ahead set to meet profit mark

Go-Ahead said the business was on course to meet its operating profit target of £100m by 2015/16 for its bus division. The Southeastern trains operator said its underlying revenues rose 4 per cent for its bus business and 9 per cent for rail.

Savills expands its US business

Savills is to buy US commercial real estate firm Studley for £154m to increase its presence in America. New York-based Studley employs around 575 staff and reported a pre-tax profit of £3.6m and revenues of £138m in 2013.