The Business Matrix: Tuesday 10 February 2015


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The Independent Online

Boys’ toys boost Hasbro profits

Hasbro posted better-than-expected profits helped by demand for toys for boys based on Transformers movies (left) and characters from Marvel comics in the holiday shopping season. The US toys giant said sales of boys’ toys, its biggest division, rose 21 per cent in the last quarter of 2014, while total sales rose 1 per cent to $1.3bn (£854m).

Campaign against O’Cathain builds

Worldview Capital Management has stepped up its campaign to remove Brian O’Cathain, the boss of oil and gas explorer Petroceltic, of which it owns nearly 29 per cent, calling recent share awards “an abuse of trust”. The rebel shareholder wants to appoint two directors including its chief executive, Angelo Moskov.

New market maker appointed

Standard Chartered has been appointed the 14th market-making member of the London Bullion Market Association. Market-making members are obliged to offer two-way quotations in gold and silver to the other market makers throughout the London business day, providing market liquidity.

Minerva boss Rosenfeld dies

Andrew Rosenfeld, the co-founder of the property firm Minerva, has died after a  short illness. Before his  death, Mr Rosenfeld, 52, promised to give the Labour Party at least £1m for its election campaign, having given £1m in 2005, for which he was caught up in the cash-for-honours scandal.

Nobelist’s firm raises £691,000

Cell Therapy, a biotech company founded by the Nobel prizewinner Martin Evans, has raised £691,000 via the crowdfunding site Crowdcube. The Cardiff-based firm will use the funds to help launch a stem cell-based regenerative medicine for use after heart trauma.

Opec expects oil demand to rise

Opec has raised sharply a forecast of demand for its oil, saying the halving in prices since June would slow production in the US and elsewhere faster than it had thought. The oil cartel forecast demand for its oil will average 29.21 million barrels per day in 2015, up 430,000 bpd.

L&G buys equity release firm

The insurance giant Legal & General has agreed to buy New Life Home Finance, which specialises in lifetime mortgage products, for £5m. New Life was founded in 2003 and allows home owners to raise cash against the security of their  own properties.

Alibaba invests in Chinese mobile

The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has invested in the country’s fast-growing mobile market by taking a $590m (£387m) stake in the smartphone maker Meizu. Analysts said Meizu’s market share is only 2 per cent but with big the potential for growth.

Randgold profits drop with gold

The London-listed miner Randgold Resources reported a 17 per cent fall in annual profits to £178m compared with a year ago, mainly due to the fall in gold prices. But it said it had boosted gold production by 26 per cent to 1.1 million ounces.

Audi car sales  hit record levels

The German car maker Audi said it had a record start to the year posting sales up 10.3 per cent to 137,700 cars in January. In the UK, revenues rose by 8.1 per cent to 11,653 cars, with sales of the Audi Q5 and its mid-size SUV both popular.