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The Business Matrix: Friday 27 June 2014

Gulfsands may need rights cash

Gulfsands Petroleum has warned that it may need a rights issue to replace revenues lost as a result of the Syria conflict. In an update at its annual meeting, the oil producer, which is now building up operations in Colombia and North Africa, said it had made no significant revenues since it ceased work in Syria at the end of 2011.

BT faces fines for slow repairs

BT faces the threat of fines if it does not comply with rules and repair its phone and internet lines rapidly, the industry watchdog Ofcom said yesterday. The new rules demand that BT fixes at least 70 per cent of faults within two working days. It will also have to offer most new customers an appointment within 12 working days.

Osborne backs down on levy

The Government has ruled out changing its bank levy after resistance from the industry. In his March Budget, George Osborne proposed putting banks into different bands, with each band charged a set amount. However, the Government said yesterday that feedback suggested the change would create uncertainty.

Discount success helps Lidl grow

The budget retailer Lidl will today announce plans to create 2,500 new jobs across the UK as part of a £220m expansion programme. The German company, which has been winning market share from mainstream rivals such as Tesco, said it also planned to increase its UK store numbers from 600 to 620 this year.

Philip Morris buys e-cig maker

Philip Morris has bought one of Britain’s fastest-growing electronic cigarette-makers, Nicocigs, as the US tobacco giant warned that profits from its traditional business would be lower than expected. The Birmingham based start-up has a 27 per cent share of the UK  e-cigarette market.

RSA headhunts Lewis from rival

RSA Insurance has poached Steve Lewis from rival Zurich to run its landmark UK and Western European business.  Mr Lewis will join the company on 1 January and replaces Adrian Brown, who is leaving  to join the insurance broker  AJ Gallagher in August after  25 years at RSA.

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