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The Business Matrix: Thursday 19 December 2013

EU to investigate Hinkley Point deal

European Union regulators  have launched an investigation into the Government’s support for the Hinkley Point nuclear power plant in Somerset.  EDF, which is building the  £16bn plant, has been offered  a 35-year price guarantee on power from the plant. State aid approval is required from the European Commission.

Odey takes home £14.2m in pay

Crispin Odey, one of Britain’s most successful hedge fund managers, took home £14.2m in pay last year after an improved performance. Profits at Odey Asset Management, which is shorting Manchester United’s shares, rose from £27.2m during the year ending 5 April to £55m, according to results published at Companies House. It is believed Odey’s pay was up from £9.4m.

RM2 planning flotation on AIM

The Anglo-Swiss pallets maker RM2 International is raising £137m through the issue of new shares, making it the biggest float of the year on the junior stock market, AIM. The group has recruited a blue-chip list  of directors including the  Canadian brewer Ian Molson and Sir Stuart Rose, ex-chief  executive of Marks & Spencer.

Darty slips into red after sell-offs

The electricals retailer Darty has slipped into the red after spending €25m (£21m) on redundancies, scaling down its French business and selling off its loss making Italian and Spanish businesses. Darty also sold off its Turkish business, as half yearly losses hit €16.3m compared with €5.3m profit a year ago.

New laws passed to reform sector

The government’s Banking Reform Bill has received Royal Assent and is now an Act of Parliament. It implements the recommendations of the Independent Commission on Banking, set up by the  Government in 2010 to  consider structural reform of the banking sector.

Centrica sells plants for £420m

Centrica’s North American subsidiary, Direct Energy,  has agreed to sell its Texas  power stations to private equity firm Blackstone for $685m(£420m). The British Gas owner will return the proceeds to shareholders through  an extension of its share  repurchase programme.

Reuben brothers set to bank £600m

The billionaire Reuben brothers will bank £600m from the refinancing of data specialist giant Global Switch. David and Simon Reuben’s Aldersgate Investments will receive the dividend after a £400m bond fundraising at the company, backed by investors in Europe and Australia.

Ford warns profits will fall next year

Ford Motor has warned that the cost of launching new vehicles and a deteriorating Venezuelan economy will dent its profits next year. The news pushed shares of the US carmaker down 7 per cent in afternoon trading. Its profit this year is expected to hit a record $8.5bn.

Bookie to keep base in Gibraltar

William Hill has decided to keep its online betting base in Gibraltar, despite a tax clampdown. The bookmaker has benefited from a benign tax regime in the territory but the UK is introducing a 15 per cent levy on online winnings next year.

Kimberlite found in Antarctica

Kimberlite, a kind of rock that often contains diamonds has been found in Antarctica, hinting at mineral riches in the continent, where mining is banned. No diamonds were found, but researchers said they were  confident the gems were there.

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