The Business Matrix: Thursday 27 March 2014


Click to follow
The Independent Online

47% rise in profits suits Moss Bros

Suit-hire group Moss Bros is seeing a recovery in its wedding business, after a 6.4 per cent fall in hirings in 2013. “Whether it was customers avoiding an ‘unlucky 13’ date to get married or a squeeze on their pockets we can’t really tell,” chief executive Brian Brick said yesterday, but he unveiled a 47 per cent rise in profits to £4.4m last year.

Lloyds’ share sale raises £24.2bn

The Government raised £4.2bn from its latest sale of Lloyds Banking Group shares, leaving it with a 25 per cent stake. The shares, which were bought at 73.6p at the height of the credit crunch in 2008, were sold at 79.1p apiece, giving the state a £200m profit on the disposal. A 6 per cent stake was sold last September for a £61m profit.

Carpetright warns again on profits

Carpetright issued its second profit warning in seven weeks yesterday, sending the shares down 5 per cent, or 30p, to 556.5p. Lord Harris of Peckham, the executive chairman and 20 per cent shareholder, said sales at stores open more than a year barely grew – up 0.2 per cent – in the eight weeks to 22 March.

Fourth woman to run Thomas Cook

Thomas Cook’s board is now 44 per cent female, following the appointment of Annet Aris, a professor at the French business school, Insead. The travel group, led by chief executive Harriet Green, has appointed Ms Aris as a non-executive. The FTSE-250 company now has four women on its nine-strong board.

Standard Life buys rival Ignis

Standard Life boosted the value of assets in its fund management arm by a third yesterday after snapping up rival Ignis for £390m from the closed life insurer Phoenix. Ahead of the tie-up, Standard Life Investments managed £184bn while Ignis had £59bn under management.

Wood quits as boss of Future

Mark Wood has quit as chief executive of Future just a month after a profit warning at the publisher, whose technology and gadget titles include T3 and TechRadar. Zillah Byng-Maddick, the chief financial officer who previously ran the car classifieds business Auto Trader, takes over.

Summer bookings looking sunny

Thomson and First Choice parent Tui Travel said average 2014 summer holiday prices were up by 2 per cent, with online mainstream bookings up 8 per cent so far. Overall winter bookings fell 6 per cent amid the political turmoil in Egypt and weakness in the Nordic market.

L&G does £3bn deal with ICI

Legal & General has secured a deal to provide ICI’s pension fund with a bulk annuity covering £3bn of its liabilities in the largest ever agreement of its kind in the UK. L&G said the contract surpasses L&G’s £2.8bn total bulk annuity business in 2013.

Adnams beer sales up 1.2%

Adnams said operating profits were slightly lower at £3.3m last year, although sales improved by 6 per cent to £61m following an improved second half for the economy. The brewing company reported 1.2 per cent growth in beer volumes.

Lonmin staff take time off for strike

Ben Magara, chief executive of platinum producer Lonmin, has told staff to take voluntary leave because a wage strike at its South African operations by the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) looks set to continue.