The Business Matrix: Thursday 12 March 2015


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The Independent Online is full of cheer

The online fashion retailer said revenues rose 22 per cent to £21.8m in the two months to 28 February. Its UK business grew sales by 13 per cent to £14.6m as it achieved a 2.17 per cent share of traffic in February, according to Hitwise, a 12 per cent improvement on the previous year.

Lloyds highlights ‘challenges’ ahead

Lloyds Banking Group has warned it still faces regulatory “challenges” relating to the attempted manipulation of fees for a government lending scheme to help banks. “Challenges remain relating to the Special Liquidity Scheme, the repo rate benchmark and the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor),” the bank said.

Sandler appointed Centaur chairman

Centaur Media, the publisher of titles ranging from The Lawyer to Marketing Week, has attracted Ron Sandler, the former head of the Lloyd’s of London insurance market, as its new chairman. The appointment is a coup for Andria Vidler, who was hired as chief executive 18 months ago to turn the publisher around.

E.On profits falter after warm winter

The energy group E.On reported virtually flat profits of £294m for its UK business in 2014 as lower gas and electricity use in warm weather offset the benefit of price rises. Its German parent, however, posted a record loss of €3.2bn (£2.3bn) for the year after writing off €5.4bn on gas and coal-fired plants.

Wealth manager enjoys 22% rise

The wealth manager Brooks Macdonald celebrated its 10th birthday on the AIM stock market by reporting a 22 per cent rise in funds under management over the past six months to £7bn. It had just £400m of assets under management when it floated in March 2005.

Ericsson cuts jobs from Swedish base

Ericsson is cutting 2,200 jobs in Sweden, mainly in research and development (R&D) and supply, as part of the telecom equipment maker’s $1bn (£664m) cost-cutting programme. The company, with 118,000 staff around the world, employs 17,580 in its home country of Sweden.

Hauser named as FirstGroup chair

Bus and rail firm FirstGroup has announced that Wolfhart Hauser will succeed John McFarlane as chairman after  the company’s annual meeting in July. He has been the chief executive of the FTSE 100 listed testing and safety services firm Intertek for the past decade.

Page turns over 17% rise in profits

Strong demand for permanent jobs in the UK, US and China helped Michael Page post a 17 per cent rise in full-year pre-tax profit. The recruiter, which focuses on finance and accounting jobs, said profits for 2014 came in at £78.4m on revenues of £1.05bn.

Lords critical of power failures

The Government “sailed too close to the wind” before taking measures to keep the lights on, at a cost to taxpayers and the environment. The Lords Science and Technology Committee criticised the cost of measures taken at short notice.

Sirius raises £15m for potash project

Sirius Minerals has raised £15m to invest in its project to mine potash on the North York Moors. The miner is hoping to receive key planning approvals by the end of May so it can press ahead with the project at its  site near Whitby.