The Business Matrix: Saturday 26 May 2012


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10% protest vote over HSBC pay

More than 10 per cent of shareholder votes went against HSBC's pay report at its annual meeting yesterday, after the banking giant's chief executive, Stuart Gulliver, took home £7.5m in pay and bonuses last year. The bank posted a 15 per cent rise in profits to £13.8bn in 2011 but saw its shares slide 23 per cent.

Royal Mail beats delivery targets

Royal Mail has delivered its best quarterly targets for almost two years, according to new figures. In the three months to March, 93.4 per cent of first-class mail was delivered the next working day, against a 93 per cent target, while 98.9 per cent of second-class post was delivered within three working days.

Former Jessops heads joins HMV

David Adams, the former chairman of the embattled camera retailer Jessops, has again demonstrated his penchant for a challenge by joining the board of the troubled entertainment group HMV. He will join HMV, which made an annual loss of £16m, in June and chair its audit committee.

Russian pipeline now in doubt

The prospect of breaking Russia's stranglehold on gas supplies to the West receded as the proposed Nabucco pipeline was thrown into doubt. The pipeline, set to carry 30bn cubic metres a year, appeared to be off the cards as BP, the anchor supplier, said it was no longer planning to use it to ship gas from Azerbaijan.

Machine gun sale delay affects profit

A profit of £1.1m for the half-year to April 12 months ago turned into a loss of the same amount for gun maker Manroy. But the firm said it was because a customer had delayed the order of a heavy machine gun, and that next year would be boosted when the deal was signed.

Cescau checks in at InterContinental

InterContinental Hotels has unveiled a heavy-hitting chairman to replace the retiring David Webster. The former Unilever chief executive Patrick Cescau will arrive at the world's biggest hotels group at the start of next year, when Mr Webster stands down after nine years in the role.

Bailey may leave Mirror job early

The exit of Sly Bailey as the chief executive of Trinity Mirror looks as though it could happen sooner than expected, after the troubled owner of the Mirror newspaper titles abruptly replaced its chairman. Sir Ian Gibson, who was due to stand down as chairman on 2 August, will now leave on Monday.

Dixons Retail gets a capital boost

Dixons Retail, the owner of the Currys and PC World chains, has agreed a new £300m working capital facility with its syndicate of banks. The electricals group said the financial covenants of its new facility – which extends the existing one for two years until June 2015 – had been "slightly relaxed".

Acquisitions put Helical in profit

The property developer Helical Bar said the acquisition of £100m of investment assets, including in Corby, Hammersmith and Basildon, increased its weighting of income-producing properties and helped it to pre-tax profits of £7.4m for the year to 31 March, compared with losses of £6.3m.

Morson taken off the stock market

The technical staff agency Morson is taking itself private after a dismal six years on the junior AIM stock market. Management has agreed a 50p a share bid with its independent directors which values the business at £23m. The company floated on AIM in March 2006 at 160p a share.