The Business Matrix: Thursday 17 April 2014


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Burberry defies slowdown fears

Burberry has reported strong growth in sales, with total revenue up 19 per cent to £1.3bn in the second half and retail up 13 per cent to £928m. The strong figures were driven by better-than-expected growth  in China and Korea, with  Asian sales up 19 per cent as well as a 27 per cent jump in the United States.

Weir bid for  Metso collapses

Attempts to forge a mining pumps-to-rock crushers manufacturing titan have collapsed after Finland’s Metso rejected a £3bn-plus all share approach from FTSE 100 stalwart Weir Group. Metso said the deal was “not in the best interests” of its own shareholders, who would have owned a minority 37 per cent of the combined group.

Beijing reports slower growth

China’s economy expanded at its weakest pace in six quarters in the first three months of this year but growth was still slightly above market expectations, official figures show. Growth between January and March was 7.4 per cent, down from 7.7 per cent in the final quarter of 2013. Analysts had forecast growth of 7.3 per cent.

Royal Mail boosts Hargreaves

A rise in the number of people looking to play the stock markets boosted assets at Hargreaves Lansdown to a record £45.7bn during the first quarter. The investment supermarket, which gained thousands of clients during Royal Mail’s flotation last year,  said low interest rates meant equities remained attractive.

Brown quits RSA for Gallagher

One of RSA Insurance’s leading executives has quit only weeks after it was forced to unveil a major strategic overhaul. Adrian Brown, who runs the insurer’s UK and Western European business, is joining US insurance broker Arthur J Gallagher, which has been on a UK acquisition spree.

Hitachi secures train funding

Japanese giant Hitachi has secured £2.7bn of funding for its contract to build 65 high-speed trains for the London to Scotland East Coast rail line. The company, which recently announced it was moving its global rail HQ to the UK, will build the trains in County Durham, creating 730 jobs.

Credit Suisse forex all clear

Credit Suisse has found nothing “materially untoward” in its internal investigation into forex trading according to its finance director David Mather. He also repeated that the bank was “surprised” when it was recently pulled into the Swiss regulators’ investigation.

New boss for Lancashire

Insurer Lancashire Holdings has named head underwriter Alex Maloney as its new chief executive after founder Richard Brindle revealed plans to retire at the end of this month. Brindle made his name during the first Gulf War by insuring ships sailing through the region.

L&G chief paid £4m for 2013

Legal & General boss Nigel Wilson picked up a £4m pay package last year after the FTSE 100 insurer increased its profits and dividend. Wilson’s pay included a £750,000 salary and compares to the £3.1m he was handed the year before.

Bank of America’s unexpected loss

Bank of America Corp reported an unexpected first-quarter loss after it took a $6bn charge to cover litigation expenses. Revenue improved in many of the bank’s business lines, but the results were overshadowed by its bigger-than-expected legal costs.