The Business Matrix: Thursday 18 July 2013


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Severn Trent runs up £19m legal bill

Severn Trent admitted yesterday that it spent £19m on lawyers and advisers when it rebuffed three takeover approaches from a Canadian-led consortium, ultimately worth £5.1bn. When the FTSE 100 water company was first approached in May, some in the City described it as "the return of M&A boom times".

Bargain Booze heads for IPO

The group behind the Bargain Booze off-licence chain said yesterday that it planned to raise up to £65m by listing on the stock market that will net its private equity backer a hefty windfall. Conviviality Retail will use the proceeds from the flotation at the end of this month to expand further south in the UK than its northern heartland.

Two Sisters signs Premier deal

Two Sisters Food Group, the owner of Fox's biscuits, has secured a licensing agreement with Premier Foods to produce its Hovis Breakfast Bakes range of biscuits. The agreement will run for an initial five years, with manufacturing at the Fox's plant in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire.

FirstGroup still has climb ahead

The transport giant FirstGroup admitted yesterday that it still had "significant work to do" to turn around the business. Bus passenger revenues in the UK rose 1.4 per cent in the first quarter but Greyhound, its US coach operation, was hit by "softness in the US economy".

Balfour secures Yorkshire deal

Balfour Beatty has won a five-year extension to its contract with Yorkshire Water worth about £70m a year. The infrastructure firm will continue to upgrade the network in South and West Yorkshire, replacing and repairing mains pipes.

First coffee cup recycling plant

Paper and advanced materials manufacturer James Cropper is opening a £5m plant at its production mill in Kendal, Cumbria, to recycle disposable coffee cups into paper products after developing its own unique technology. Cropper has developed the world's first technique to allow plastic to be separated from paper pulp.

BHP beats record for iron ore output

The world's biggest mining company, BHP Billiton, said yesterday that it had smashed its iron ore production record just 24 hours after its fierce rival Rio Tinto did the same. BHP notched up a 7 per cent increase in iron ore output for the year to June, alongside rises in aluminium, zinc and uranium production.

Telecom Plus eyes new business

Telecom Plus, the company behind Utility Warehouse, is seeing a surge in customers who are "receptive to the idea of saving money by switching to a new utility supplier". Telecom Plus supplies gas, electricity, land line, mobile and broadband services to 475,000 residential and business customers.

Land Securities sees challenges

The commercial property giant Land Securities said demand for real estate in London was increasing, but cautioned that the retail market remained "challenging". The firm said property vacancies were steady at 2 per cent over the three months to the end of June.

Amec to advise Isle of Wight

Amec has been appointed as technical adviser to the Isle of Wight Council for the procurement of a contract to boost recycling. The council is seeking to more than double levels of household recycling from 28 per cent to 60 per cent by 2025