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The Business Matrix: Thursday 21 November 2013

Tesla electric cars made safer

Tesla, the stylish electric sports car maker hit by safety concerns over its new saloon model, has adapted its software so it rides higher above the ground on motorways. A number of the vehicles have caught fire when their batteries were pierced by road debris. Regulators have said they are investigating the incidents.

Agius joins PA Consulting Group

Marcus Agius, who resigned as chairman of Barclays in the wake of the Libor scandal, has landed a new role at a consultancy firm. Agius was today named as the non-executive chairman of PA Consulting Group, and will take up the position in the new year. He was chairman of Barclays from January 2007 until October 2012.

Philip Morris to make e-cigarettes

The Marlboro maker Philip Morris International plans next year to enter the electronic cigarette business, a $2bn-plus global market identified by the firm as its “greatest growth opportunity”. Its chief executive Andre Calantzopoulos wants to tap fast-growing demand for a less harmful alternative to cigarettes.

UK Mail sees 63% rise in profits

UK Mail, the biggest independent parcel and mail delivery firm until Royal Mail’s float, benefited from a 25 per cent rise in parcel volumes thanks to growing online shopping. The company, which delivers 250,000 parcels a day, posted a 63 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £11.9m in the six months to 30 September.

Bonmarché float raises £40m

Shares in the over-50s women’s fashion retailer Bonmarché rose 10 per cent as they begun trading on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange yesterday. The float raised £40m for the retailer, which has 264 stores and was bought out of administration by Sun Capital Partners last year.

Deloitte can now appeal Rover fine

Deloitte can appeal against part of a record £14m fine for failing to manage conflicts of interest in its advice to MG Rover, whose collapse cost taxpayers £270m. But an independent tribunal refused to grant the right to challenge a finding it failed to consider public interest. MG Rover went into administration in 2005.

Glaxo Aspen sale raises £425m

Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline has raised around £425m from the sale of shares in South Africa’s Aspen Pharmacare. It will continue to own 12.4 per cent of the company, which is Africa’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturer with 22 production sites and around 8,200 staff.

Safestore boss in Travelodge move

Travelodge, the budget hotels chain, has hired the former boss of Safestore, Peter Gowers, as its new chief executive. Mr Gowers has also worked for InterContinental Hotels and will oversee the next stage of the company’s recovery following a restructuring of its debts.

BSkyB chief keen on sports offer

BSkyB chief executive Jeremy Darroch said he was “keen” on the idea of signing a wholesale media deal to carry BT Sport’s channels following the telecoms giant’s success in snatching the Champions League TV rights. “It’s a two-way thing,” he said.

McCarthy looking for another boss

Britain’s biggest retirement homes builder, McCarthy & Stone, is looking for a new boss just a year after its current CEO joined the business. Mark Elliott, who joined from Arena Leiusre in November last year, will leave in February.

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