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The Business Matrix: Friday 23 August 2013


SABMiller pulls out stops in Africa

SABMiller has opened its second brewery in Uganda and announced plans for a new brewery in Zambia as it builds its presence in the African beer market. The $90m (£57m) brewery in Uganda doubles the company’s production capacity in the country to 3.6 million hectolitres. The brewery in the Zambian capital Lusaka will cost $24m.

Baker Tilly picks up RSM Tenon

The UK’s only listed accountancy firm, RSM Tenon, went under yesterday after Lloyds Bank refused to let it change the conditions on its £80m of debt. Adminstrators from Deloitte, called in by the board, then immediately sold the business to rival firm Baker Tilly which had considered a takeover bid earlier this month.

Lakeland opens in Saudi Arabia

Kitchenware retailer Lakeland opened the doors to its first store in Saudi Arabia yesterday. Tony Preedy, Lakeland’s marketing director, said: “While this is our first store in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we are looking forward to opening more in the near future and also to expanding our presence in the Middle East.”

Osmond leaves Phoenix fund

Hugh Osmond has parted ways with closed-life fund Phoenix Group ahead of its potential £3bn merger with a division of Swiss Re. The City entrepreneur, famed for floating Pizza Express, who took control of Pearl and Resolution to form Phoenix, will no longer serve as a non-executive director, but will retain a 6 per cent stake.

IMI confident after £150m profit

Engineering group IMI said it is confident of making progress after growing first-half pre-tax profits by 4 per cent to £150.1m. The Birmingham-based group said trading conditions were improving as it revealed the acquisition of a Canadian fluid-control company, Analytical Flow Products, for up to £41m.

London Capital profits slump 61%

Spread-betting firm London Capital Group saw profits drop 61 per cent to £300,000 in the first half after it was forced to set aside a further £1.1m for the Financial Ombudsman to cover claims linked to its ill-fated tie-up with Integrity Financial Solutions. That takes the total bill to almost £5m.

Carillion shares tumble 7.5p

Shares in construction group Carillion fell 7.5p, or more than 2.5 per cent, to 289.8p yesterday after it said trading conditions remained “challenging”. Revenues dropped 8 per cent to £1.9bn in the first six months after the group scaled back its UK construction business.

Costain’s record £2.9bn order book

A raft of new contracts ranging from Crossrail to Thames Water’s upgrading of its mains system saw civil engineer Costain start the second half of the year with a record order book. The value of orders rose by 20 per cent to £2.9bn, with more than £900m won in the first half.

Capital rise in bricks & mortar

London’s share of the nation’s £5 trillion property wealth has stretched to £1.35 trillion, or 27 per cent, in the past decade, new research has shown. The capital’s share of the total has grown from 22 per cent, or £792bn of £3.6 trillion in total, in 2003.

SuperCasino.com to sponsor ‘CBB’

Interactive gaming firm NetPlay TV said its SuperCasino.com brand has agreed a deal to become the headline sponsor of this year’s Celebrity Big Brother, due to air from today until 13 September. It follows its sponsorship of Big Brother 2013.