The Business Matrix: Thursday 15 May 2014


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The Independent Online

Investors force NatEx on safety

National Express suffered a bloody nose after 13 per cent of its shareholders backed a union-sponsored motion calling for a special committee to be set up to oversee workers’ health and safety. The motion was brought by America’s Teamsters union, which was at odds with NatEx over the treatment of staff at its US school buses business.

3i gains £669m from disposals

The private equity investor 3i stepped up its turnaround programme last year after banking £669m from disposals. The owner of the fashion retailer Hobbs also completed the takeover of Barclays Bank’s £780m infrastructure fund management business in the year to April and said it had stripped out £70m of costs.

Trading dip here to stay, says Icap

Michael Spencer, the chief executive of the Icap brokerage, warned that a sharp reduction in fixed-income, currencies and commodities trading by investment banks was set to last. Icap’s trading profit before tax fell 4 per cent to £272m on revenues of £1.4bn in the year to March. Its dividend remained unchanged at 22p per share.

New rules hurt Partnership sales

Partnership Assurance admitted yesterday that it was having to watch its spending after reforms announced in March’s Budget ravaged its sales. The company, which sells pensions to people who are ill or smoke, said it had stopped hiring staff and that all spending now had to be approved by a finance director.

Compass tucks into Silicon Valley

Feeding health-conscious and hungry computer workers in Silicon Valley helped the caterer Compass to dish out a £1bn payout yesterday. The world’s largest food service company, employing more than 500,000 people, said its booming US business had been driven by the technology sector.

Galliford Try builds on forecast

The housebuilder Galliford Try announced forecast-beating profits yesterday, saying the property market was still roaring ahead. Overall, sales reservations were up 30 per cent year-on-year and Galliford now has £1bn in forward sales across its Linden Homes and Partnerships divisions.

Lower premiums affect Admiral

Falling motor premiums hit Admiral in the first quarter as its turnover fell by 7 per cent to £514m. “Little has changed since the full year and our expectations for 2014 remain positive and unchanged,” said Henry Engelhardt, the group’s founder and chief executive.

Barclays loses another top boss

Jason Rynbeck, one of the leading deal-makers at Barclays as its head of mergers and acquisitions for the Asia-Pacific region, has left the bank. His departure follows that of the Americas head, Skip McGee, Asia boss Robert Morrice, and head of M&A Paul Parker.

Citigroup fires staff over fraud

Citigroup has fired 12 of its employees in Mexico, including senior executives, in connection with a $400m (£238m) fraud involving an oil services firm. The fraud centred on a loan handed to Oceanografía, based in Ciudad del Carmen.

Landlord asks for £266m in capital

Capital & Counties tapped investors for £266m as it looked to step up spending on its portfolio in London’s Covent Garden. The proceeds from the shares placing will fund the £85m development of King’s Court and Carriage Hall.