The Business Matrix: Friday 19 December 2014


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‘Right moves’  on Royal Mail

Former Labour minister Lord Myners, commissioned to examine government public asset sales, yesterday said “the right decisions” were made on the sale of 60 per cent of the Royal Mail last October. Ministers were criticised by Labour and unions over the issue’s pricing, after the stock soared by as much as 87 per cent.

ECB to open up its meetings

Investors will finally get valuable insights into any divisions at the European Central Bank next year when it starts publishing accounts of its monetary policy meetings. The central bank is expected to start pumping cash into the eurozone by quantitative easing, a move that the German members  have opposed. 

Rudd adds to his City roles

The City grandee Sir Nigel Rudd has added the chairmanship of FTSE 100 aerospace engineer Meggitt to his non-executive director portfolio, which includes BBA Aviation, Heathrow Airport Holdings and Aquarius Platinum. Sir Nigel will take over when Sir Colin Terry retires in April.

Cahill to become chief at Kraft

Kraft’s chairman John Cahill is to take on the role of chief executive as well from next week at the US food giant. The company, which owns Maxwell House coffee and Kool-Aid drinks, split off from the snacks business – owner of Cadbury chocolates and Ritz crackers – two years ago. The latter is now called Mondelez.

Iceland pays back £1.36bn to UK

The Treasury has received a further £1.36bn from Iceland, taking the amount of bailout funds recovered after Landsbanki bank’s collapse during the financial crisis to £3.8bn. Britain met the £4.5bn bill in 2008 for compensating 230,000 UK savers in Landsbanki’s Icesave accounts.

Runners lobby for tax breaks

Commuters who run to work are campaigning to get the same tax breaks on running kit as cyclists receive, according to reports in the Financial Times. The Government did not mention running in a recent report into the merits of cycling and  walk-to-work schemes.

Opec cannot cut production alone

Saudi Arabia’s powerful oil minister Ali al-Naimi said it was impossible for Opec to cut production alone to reverse the oil price slump – which he called temporary – without the support of other big producers. He added that attempts to get them on board had not worked.

Rex Bionics issues profits warning

Rex Bionics, which makes robotic limbs for wheelchair users, issued a profits warning for the year to next March. It said it needed to secure clinical data on the health benefits of its products, noting it would take “some time”.

Serco delays credit tests

Serco has agreed with its bank and US lenders to delay tests on its creditworthiness due at the end of this year until May, giving the troubled outsourcer time to shore up its creaking finances. The firm plans to raise £550m from investors next year.