The Business Matrix: Thursday 2 April 2015


Oil drop hits First Group’s US figures

Falling oil prices today hit passenger numbers in First Group’s North American business as more people used their cars. The company said quarterly revenues are expected to have fallen by 5.5 per cent across the division. However, it added that overall trading at the bus and rail group was in line with forecasts.

BG’s former CEO took £1.3m pay-off

BG Group’s former chief executive Chris Finlayson received a £1.3m pay-off when he parted ways with the oil and gas giant last year after 16 months, as well as £467,000 in annual pay and benefits. His successor, Helge Lund, received a £25m “golden hello”, but this was watered down after shareholders rebelled.

Wilmhurst to earn £1.3m from sale

The boss of Nationwide Accident Repair Services is to pick up a £1.3m windfall after selling the company to buyout firm Carlyle. Michael Wilmhurst, who took the group private in 2002 before re-listing it four years later, has a 3 per cent stake in the business. Carlyle is paying £43m, or £1 a share, for the group.

RGF’s sugar firm could be sold off 

Shares in baking ingredients firm Real Good Food plunged 14 per cent after it said its sugar business would not hit profit forecasts. It said Napier Brown had returned to profit but not by as much as hoped and could now be sold. Other businesses did well but it incurred higher-than-expected legal costs in talks with regulators.

ECB raises Greek banking cap

The European Central Bank has raised the cap on emergency liquidity assistance Greek banks can draw from the country’s central bank by €700m (£508m), taking the ceiling to €71.8bn. The ECB has raised the cap in increments, keeping pressure on Athens to strike a deal with its creditors.

RBS sells UAE loans to CBD

Royal Bank of Scotland has sold about £550m worth of loans belonging to firms in the United Arab Emirates to Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD), both banks said yesterday. The move comes as the state-controlled lender looks to shrink its corporate banking business outside the UK.

Unison allowed to carry on fees case

A leading union has been granted permission to continue with legal action against fees for taking a case to an employment tribunal. Unison is challenging fees which came into effect in 2013, since when claims have slumped, especially for sex discrimination cases.

Yukos investors settle with Rosneft

Former shareholders of Yukos have settled lawsuits between the now defunct Russian oil firm and Russia’s largest oil producer Rosneft. Most of Yukos’ assets were acquired by Rosneft after it was declared bankrupt and its founder Mikhail Khodorkovsky was jailed.

Evraz to launch $375m buyback

Evraz, the FTSE 250 steel maker owned by Roman Abramovich and Alexander Abramov, has announced a $375m (£254m) share buyback despite reporting that its annual losses have more than doubled to $1.3bn.

Office lettings soar in early 2015

London’s office-lettings market has seen its best start to the year since the eve of the financial crisis amid booming demand in the City and record-breaking rents in the West End, according to new research by  Cushman & Wakefield.