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The Business Matrix: Monday 24 February 2014


Ladbrokes’ pay linked to ethics

Ladbrokes will commit to linking the pay of its top executives to the success of its efforts to prevent problem gambling, Sky News reported last night. The bookmaker, which reports its annual results tomorrow, and its rivals are facing swingeing restrictions on use of lucrative fixed-odds betting terminals, which contribute substantial shares of their profits.

Weinberg takes on Dynochem plan

A company run by some of the financial services industry’s best-known names has agreed to take on £15m-worth of pension liabilities at Dynochem. Pension Corporation, chaired by the South African-born financier Sir Mark Weinberg, will assume responsibility for the retirement savings of 100 pensioners at the wood flooring specialist.

What the Sunday papers said

Hester set for  RSA rights issue

Stephen Hester is poised to launch an £800m rescue rights issue at RSA Insurance. The former boss of RBS was parachuted into the insurer after a series of profit warnings and an accounting scandal at its Irish subsidiary. He is also expected to reveal plans to sell RSA’s businesses in eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

The Sunday Times

Artist claims M&S copied her work

A designer is claiming that Marks & Spencer is selling wall prints that are almost identical to her own work. Louise Verity, who runs Bookishly, an independent arts business, was shocked to see images on M&S’s Instagram page of large printed messages over old dictionary pages – resembling designs she has sold since 2009.

The Independent on Sunday

Dollar slide hits Vodafone deal

British shareholders in Vodafone are expected to miss out on more than £110m after the falling dollar drastically reduced the value of the cash they will receive from the sale of Vodafone’s 45 per cent stake in Verizon Wireless in the US. The dollar hit six-week lows against sterling last week.

The Sunday Telegraph

Morrisons to sell assets for payout

The management team at the Morrisons supermarket group is preparing to return up to £1bn to shareholders. Sources said the company is in the final stages of identifying property assets in its £9bn portfolio to sell on the open market and then lease back, in order to pay a one-off dividend.

The Mail on Sunday

Week ahead

Primark makes ABF look good

Associated British Foods, owner of Primark and British Sugar, is due to give a trading update today that is likely to show that the clothing retailer’s success is offsetting ABF’s problems with flagging prices for sugar and foreign  exchange concerns, say Numis analysts.

London prices to boost landlord

Tomorrow Capital & Counties Properties, landlord of Covent Garden and Earls Court, releases full-year results. It has consent for a big Earls Court scheme, but this might not have much impact on its figures and analysts at Numis expect its Covent Garden property values to be the main driver.

Much expected of builder Barratt

On Thursday the housebuilder Barratt Developments will report its first-half results. Despite a strong share price rise for the housebuilding sector recently, more is expected. Shore Capital forecasts that Barratt’s earnings per share will grow by 73 per cent between 2014 and 2016.

Bookies to reveal their figures

Tomorrow Ladbrokes releases results, after four profit warnings in 20 months. At the end of the week investors will return to the bookies, this time with William Hill. It is further ahead than rivals in the online stakes and Goldman Sachs said its valuation was starting to look attractive after recent falls.