The Business Matrix: Saturday 20 August 2011

Stagecoach hands back £340m cash

Sir Brian Souter and his sister, Ann Gloag, the founders of Stagecoach, will receive £51m and £37m, respectively, as the transport group returns cash to shareholders. In total, the bus and rail operator will return £340m of cash to shareholders. Unions noted that the news came as rail commuters were warned of hefty fare rises.

Public borrowing shrinks in July

The UK’s public finances improved in July, providing some cheer for the Chancellor amid the market turmoil. The Office for National Statistics said the Treasury borrowed just £20m during July, substantially less than expected. However, economists warned it was not enough to leave the Government on track to hit its annual targets.

VW sales soar around the world

Volkswagen said worldwide deliveries of its brands were up 16.3 per cent on a year-on-year basis in July. The car maker, whose other brands include Audi, Skoda and Seat, delivered 665,600 vehicles last month – up from 572,100 a year earlier. Sales over the first seven months of the year were up by nearly 15 per cent at 4.75 million.

BAE clinches US army contract

BAE Systems and General Dynamics have won contracts, worth $450m (£272m) and $439m, respectively, to help develop vehicles for the US army to use in areas where there are roadside bombs. The vehicles, to be designed over the next two years, will provide armour protection for a nine-man infantry squad.

Innovation issues positive update

Innovation Group, which provides business and software to the insurance, car and property industries, said its performance remains on track to meet expectations for the current financial year. Trading for the period from April has continued positively following a number of contract wins, it said.

Jupiter issues maiden dividend

Jupiter Fund Management, which floated on the London market a year ago, said assets under management have increased 25 per cent since the listing to nearly £25bn, supported by net inflows of £700m. Half-yearly profits more than doubled to £37.3m, while it announced a maiden dividend of 2.5p a share.

Bank of America to cut 3,500 jobs

Bank of America is to cut 3,500 jobs by the end of September, joining a growing list of banks worldwide repositioning themselves amid stubbornly slow recoveries. For BofA, the biggest US bank by assets, the job cuts continue a push to slash costs as it grapples with $1 trillion (£604bn) of problem mortgage loans.

Pilling hired to run Yorkshire BS

Yorkshire Building Society, the UK’s second-largest society, has named Chris Pilling, currently head of branch network at HSBC Bank, as its new chief executive from next year. He will replace Iain Cornish, who in February this year announced his intention to step down as chief executive.

Rescue deal for Locums

Healthcare Locums has unveiled a rescue package that will see its biggest shareholder, Toscafund, and a second investor, ACE, invest more than £45m. The firm ousted its founder Kate Bleasdale at the start of the year after the discovery of accounting irregularities. Ms Bleasdale denies any wrongdoing.

Southern Cross details revealed

Admissions to Southern Cross care homes were down nearly 8 per cent year on year just before its decision to close down in July, new figures revealed yesterday. Owners of two-thirds of the homes have indicated they will now run them themselves, though uncertainty still surrounds the fate of a third of the homes.