The Business Matrix: Saturday 31 August 2013


Weather gives TRG a warm glow

Frankie & Benny’s and Garfunkel’s owner The Restaurant Group had “a corker” of a first  half, according to its chief executive Andrew Page. “The weather recently has been great for our pubs and not so good for the out-of-town restaurants,” he said. TRG’s profits rose 15 per cent to £30m on revenues up 11 per cent at £280m as the group saw an increase in customer numbers.

BAT and Chinese in joint venture

Chairman Mao’s favourite brand of cigarette State Express 555 is at the centre of a tie-up between British American Tobacco and the Hong Kong-based China National Tobacco Corporation. The venture will handle State Express sales worldwide and sales of Chinese brand Shuang Xi outside the domestic market. State Express is one of the most popular foreign brands in China.

Oil price tumbles as Syria fears ease

Oil prices fell as the US Secretary of State John Kerry laid out a case for limited military action against Syria yesterday. Brent crude, which earlier this week traded above $117 a barrel amid growing fears over an attack on the country, dropped more than $1 as Mr Kerry spoke, before settling at  $114.38 as supply concerns eased. Analysts said traders were also booking profits ahead of Monday’s Labor Day holiday in the US.

Japan celebrates end of deflation

Experts declared an end to  Japan’s damaging deflation as the world’s third biggest economy saw rising prices for the second month in a row and its manufacturers picked up production. The latest figures showed prices rising at an annual rate of 0.7 per cent in July – accelerating from 0.2 per cent in June – as the Bank of Japan attempts to hit a 2 per cent inflation target with a huge monetary policy stimulus.

CPP brings in Escott to rebuild

The card insurance firm CPP, which is attempting to rebuild following its role in a mis-selling scandal, has appointed Brent Escott as chief executive. He joined CPP as interim deputy CEO in June and has 20 years experience in the industry. The company has also appointed Craig Parsons as chief financial officer. He held a senior role at CPP for 12 years.

Jobs static but optimism rises

Unemployment in the eurozone remained at a record high last month, according to official figures out, but optimism in the region is on the rise. The European Union announced unemployment in July stood at 12.1 per cent, unchanged from June. However, a poll of business managers by the European Commission showed confidence up for the fourth straight month.