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The Business Matrix: Friday 4 April 2014

Kingfisher bids to catch French rival

B&Q’s owner Kingfisher has launched a €275m (£230m) bid to acquire its rival Mr Bricolage in a drive to cement its position in the French DIY market. The FTSE 100 company, which already trades as Castorama and Brico Dépôt in France, is in exclusive negotiations with the company’s investors.

ECB ready to act on low inflation

The European Central Bank opened the door to turning on its money-printing presses to boost the eurozone economy and keep inflation from staying too low. It held interest rates at 0.25 per cent yesterday, but ECB’s president, Mario Draghi, said he was committed to doing what he could to end low inflation.

Non-executives to quit Reckitt board

Two long-serving non-executives at Reckitt Benckiser, Kenneth Hydons and Judith Sprieser, are to step down next year as the maker of Strepsils and Dettol looks for more independent directors on its board. The group also said chief executive Rakesh Kapoor’s pay package fell to £6.7m, from £8.4m last year.

Lloyds branch sale caused clash

The Treasury clashed with regulators over the attempted sale of Lloyds branches to the Co-op, George Osborne revealed yesterday. In a letter to MPs, the Chancellor said the Treasury was informed in 2012 that if the Co-op Group went ahead with the deal, it would need to transform into a financial holding company.

Accenture creates 2,000 new posts

Accenture is creating 2,000 new jobs in the UK to service tech and financial services industries. About half the jobs, which will range from apprentices to senior managers, will be based in London. Olly Benzecry, at Accenture, said the health of the sectors has “required us to get more talent on board”.

Tesco boss under growing pressure

Tesco’s boss, Philip Clarke, was under renewed pressure last night with reports that his finance chief, Laurie McIlwee, was to resign next week. The company declined to comment on the story, which has been speculated on in recent months, but analysts said the clamour could drive Mr McIlwee to quit.

New stores boost Dunelm sales

Dunelm saw like-for-like  sales grow 5 per cent in the third quarter as total sales came in at £195m. The homewares retailer said the improvement reflected the absence of snow disruption this year, as well as continued growth in store numbers.

Ryanair has 4% fall in passengers

The low-cost carrier Ryanair revealed a 4 per cent drop in the number of passengers on its flights in March to 5.2 million, but blamed the later timing of Easter this year. The Irish carrier also announced plans to create 200 new jobs at its Dublin base.

Tate & Lyle profits hit by markets

Ingredients maker Tate & Lyle expects underlying annual profits to be broadly flat when it unveils them next month. Issues in US sucralose and beverage markets are expected to have offset strong growth in Europe and emerging markets.

Regulators look at retail stockbrokers

Shares in US retail stockbrokers E*Trade and TD Ameritrade dived amid fears regulators could stop them selling “order flow” information, detailing what their customers are buying and selling, on to Wall Street trading firms.

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