The Business Matrix: Thursday 19 May 2011

Magners ad boosts C&C cider sales

Magners brewer C&C said cider continued to find favour with drinkers after it reported a 3.6 per cent rise in the brand’s UK sales over the past year. Buoyed by its There’s Method in the Magners advertising campaign, C&C saw an 18 per cent jump in cider sales through off-licences and supermarkets, although this was offset by a 5 per cent fall in pubs.

Rosneft receives new BP proposals

Rosneft, the Russian state oil giant which walked away from an Arctic exploration pact with BP earlier this week, has received new proposals from the UK oil major. “These proposals make it possible to discuss our co-operation outside the agreements which have already expired,” Rosneft said yesterday.

Google maps out Saint Giles offices

Google’s UK arm has signed London’s biggest rental deal of the year so far, with an agreement to rent 160,000 square feet at the Central Saint Giles development in the West End. The site, which was designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano and which is being developed by Legal & Property and Mitsubishi Estate, is now fully let.

Caterer Compass posts profits rise

Compass, the world’s biggest catering company, has weathered rising food prices and the economic downturn to post a further rise in profits. The group, which provides catering for businesses, schools and venues such as Chelsea Football Club, posted a 10 per cent rise in interim revenues to £7.9bn as profits rose.

Experian profits rise 13 per cent

The credit checking firm Experian lifted revenues by 8 per cent last year as all four of its core regions made progress. Profits rose by 13 per cent to £679m. Revenue growth this year should be in the mid-high single digit range with some margin improvement, the group added.

Pension deals saves Tui £38m

Europe’s biggest tour operator, Tui Travel, said it would save £38m a year after reaching an agreement with its pension trustees over future contributions to the schemes. Tui Travel, which is majority owned by Germany’s Tui AG, also said it agreed new four-year banking facilities worth £1.16bn.

Biba boost for House of Fraser

House of Fraser, the privately owned department store group, has posted a 44 per cent rise in annual profits to £85.7m and issued a £250m bond to give it a cheaper debt structure. The 61-store chain said online sales doubled, helped by the introduction of in-store collection, while labels such as Biba did well.

Sales up at French Connection

French Connection, the listed fashion retailer, has said it is “confident” it will hit its financial targets for the year after a positive reaction to its autumn ranges. Between 1 February and 14 May, robust wholesale volumes helped to lift group revenues by 3.6 per cent, despite a 1.8 per cent fall in retail sales in Europe.

Hershey’s chief to head Del Monte

Hershey’s chief executive David West is leaving the US chocolate giant for Del Monte, the second unexpected CEO departure at Hershey in less than four years. Mr West will take the top job at Del Monte, the fruit-juice and pet food company taken private by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts earlier this year.

Wolstenholme to head Crossrail

Crossrail, the manager of the new £15bn London commuter line, has named Balfour Beatty’s Andrew Wolstenholme as its new chief executive. Mr Wolstenholme, who led the construction of Heathrow’s Terminal 5, will succeed Rob Holden, who resigned unexpectedly in January.