The Business Matrix: Friday 24 October 2014


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The Independent Online

C&C lodges rival offer for Spirit

Magners owner C&C yesterday tried to gatecrash Greene King’s agreed merger with Spirit by tabling a bid for the pubs group. Spirit – which this week agreed to recommend a £723m deal worth 109.5p a share with the owner of the Hungry Horse chain – said last night it had rejected the approach from cider-maker C&C.

Broadbent sees ‘gradual’ rate rises

Ben Broadbent, the deputy Governor of the Bank of England, said in a speech yesterday that interest rates were likely to remain low “for some time yet”. He added that as global impediments to growth dissipated, rates would rise in a “limited and gradual” way, but that this would depend on issues such as the eurozone.

Purchasing index points to growth

The eurozone economy perked up modestly in October, according to the latest survey snapshot. The composite purchasing managers’ index rose to 52.2 in the month, higher than September’s 10-month low of 52 and above the 50 mark  that signals growth. The single-currency bloc accounts for about half of Britain’s exports.

Britvic’s summer failed to excite

The Robinsons and Fruit Shoot drinks maker Britvic said revenues in the final quarter of its financial year were down 4 per cent as a result of weakness in European markets which it blamed on poor weather in July and August. UK revenues were 2.1 per cent lower against a 3.9 per cent fall in the take-home soft drinks market.

Pernod hurt by China campaign

The French maker of Martell Cognac and Mumm Champagne battled poor demand in China – triggered by an anti-extravagance drive – to produce a small rise in sales. The Absolut vodka and Beefeater gin owner Pernod Ricard said quarterly sales were up 1 per cent to £1.6bn.

Suisse bounces back to profit

Credit Suisse, which employs more than 7,000 people in the UK, bounced back into the black in its latest quarter after taking a huge £1.6bn hit from fines in its first half. Profits of £852m comfortably beat analysts’ forecasts and were driven by both wealth management and investment banking.

Rio’s Walsh gets vote of confidence

Rio Tinto has extended the contract of its chief executive Sam Walsh, which was set to end in December 2015. His fixed term contract had helped fuel speculation about changes in the boardroom at Rio, which last month rejected a £10bn approach from Glencore.

UK sales fall holds back Publicis

Publicis, the advertising giant behind Saatchi & Saatchi, ZenithOptimedia and BBH, has reported far slower growth than at its big rival groups. UK revenues fell 2.6 per cent in the last quarter against 1.9 per cent for the half-year. Worldwide revenues rose 1 per cent.

Unilever pins hope on cost cuts

Unilever, the maker of Dove soap and Surf detergent, has promised investors that new, cheaper products and more cost cuts will help it increase profits, even as third quarter sales growth fell to its weakest level in five years.

Tougher rules for banking failures

Executives at failed banks will be immediately fired and losses instantly imposed on creditors according to a new resolution blueprint outlined by the Bank of England. The new regime would come into effect in January, the Bank confirmed yesterday.