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The Business Matrix: Friday 21 October 2011

Saab running out of road

The administrator in charge of Saab’s reorganisation has said there is not enough cash to save the carmaker, despite the promise of $70m (£44.3m) from a US fund, North Street Capital, yesterday. Guy Lofalk added that he had applied to a Swedish court to end the process. Two Chinese investors were keen to buy Saab but failed to reach a deal.

Nokia loses out in smartphone war

The mobile phone giant Nokia slumped to a loss of €71m (£62m) in the third quarter of 2011 as its smartphone sales fell 39 per cent. Sales dropped 13 per cent to €9bn amid tough competition from Apple and manufacturers using Google’s Android system. The company is planning a new range of smartphones using Microsoft software.

Dutch operator wins Anglia deal

An arm of the Netherlands’ state-run rail operator has fought off competition from the Go-Ahead and Stagecoach to win the right to run the Greater Anglia franchise from February 2012 until July 2014. The franchise, which is presently being operated by National Express, runs across Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire.

Omega backs Byrne takeover

The insurance entrepreneur Mark Byrne has pulled ahead in the race to buy Omega after the Lloyd’s of London insurer and its top shareholder backed his offer. Mr Byrne, co-founder of reinsurer Flagstone Re and son of US insurance magnate Jack Byrne, wants to buy 25 per cent of Omega and take over as the company’s executive chairman.

Emerging markets boost Nestlé

Rising raw material costs and the strong Swiss franc failed to stop Nestlé from raising its outlook yesterday after it beat analysts’ forecasts for the first nine months of the year. The world’s largest food group said growth in emerging markets was helping to offset a slowdown in Europe.

Hedge fund attacks G4S deal

Parvus Asset Management, a leading shareholder in G4S, has come out against the security company’s £1.5bn takeover of the Danish cleaning services group ISS, calling it “an untested vision”. The hedge fund said it was worried about the deal which will see G4S absorb a firm with about 1.2 million staff.

Britvic’s fizzy drinks thrive

Robinsons and Tango maker Britvic reported a return to growth in UK sales of its fizzy drinks, despite the poor summer weather. However, UK sales of its still drinks,which include Fruit Shoot and J2, fell, leaving overall UK sales volumes up 1.9 per cent in the three months to 2 October.

Spirit Pub boss Dyson to quit

Ian Dyson, the chief executive of the Spirit Pub Company, is to step down at its annual meeting in December. The exit of Mr Dyson, who will be succeeded by Spirit’s deputy chief executive Mike Tye, was unveiled alongside the managed pub operator posting a 17 per cent leap in annual profits to £48m.

Smiths News sees 14% rise in profits

Smiths News reported a 14 per cent rise in annual profits to £32m and said the Sunday newspaper market remained robust despite the closure of the News of the World. The newspaper distributor estimates up to 80 per cent of readers switched to rival papers such as the Sunday Mirror and Star on Sunday.

Exponent buys Radio Times

The Radio Times and several other magazines owned by the BBC’s commercial arm are to be sold to private equity firm Exponent on 31 October. BBC Worldwide confirmed the deal will go ahead after being cleared by regulators. Exponent will publish other titles, such as Top Gear and Lonely Planet, under contract.

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