The Business Matrix: Thursday 22 August 2013


Beckham replays a winning move

The footballer David Beckham has stripped off – again – in the latest promotional campaign for his line of underwear for the high street chain H&M. The Swedish fashion giant this week thanked the Beckham boost for its UK arm’s rise in pre-tax profit to £17.8m in the year to  30 November 2012, up from £15.7m the previous year.

Beer volumes fall as austerity bites

Both Heineken and Carlsberg have reported falling beer sales in the first half of the year as consumers across Europe faced bad weather, big tax hikes and continued austerity. Heineken, the world’s third-largest brewer, said the volume of beer it sold in the UK and western Europe dropped by 8 per cent in the six months.

Allen joins ISS ahead of listing

Sir Charles Allen, the former ITV boss, is the new chair of the Danish cleaning giant ISS ahead of its expected stock market listing. ISS – best known for its failed £5.2bn merger with Britain’s G4S that would have created the world’s biggest security and cleaning services company – is owned by the private equity group EQT.

Customer repaid for fraud cover

Banks will be forced by the regulator to repay up to £1.5bn to customers who were mis-sold identity theft and credit card protection. Banks sold the cover, from company called CPP, over several years but the insurer was accused of overstating the risks of identity theft and providing cover that customers already had.

10,000 rooms  get a fresh look

The Travelodge budget hotel chain says it has completed 10,000 room refurbishments under its £57m renovation scheme. It said a 150-strong team was working to refurbish 50 rooms a day, with more than 100 hotels revamped in less than five months. The latest update was at Leeds Colton.

Virgin Money gets top-level talent

Virgin Money, which bought the nationalised bank Northern Rock, has boosted its management team by appointing Michele Greene, a director at the credit card giant MBNA, as director of banking. Royal Bank of Scotland executive Lee Rochford was also named as its new finance director.

Robinson sees better first half

The plastic and paperboard packaging company Robinson saw its first-half pre-tax profits surge to £2.2m from £600,000 a year earlier. It said customers reported subdued demand for premium branded products, but new contracts helped its  revenues rise 14 per cent.

Glanbia expects further gains

The dairy food producer Glanbia has reported a rise in first-half pre-tax profits to €95m (£81m) from €88m a year earlier. The company, based in Kilkenny, Ireland, said the outlook for the full year remained positive, despite “some challenges” on the horizon.

Clasper follows a new thread

Mike Clasper, the former chief executive of the airports group BAA, has been named chairman of Coats, the world’s biggest producer of sewing threads. Coats’s owner, Guinness Peat, is preparing the company for a return to the stock market.

Hochschild hit by falling prices

Hochschild Mining, the silver group that supplied tin to the allied forces during the Second World War, has slumped to an interim $48.7m (£31.1m) pre-tax loss from a $92.3m profit a year ago, following a sharp fall in average product prices.