The Business Matrix: Thursday 8 August 2013


Gatsby boosts Warner Bros

Time Warner, the owner of Warner Bros film studios and the CNN news channel, posted an 87 per cent rise in quarterly profits to $771m  yesterday, beating Wall Street’s expectations. The media conglomerate said its results were boosted by films such as The Great Gatsby. Revenues at the publishing arm Time Inc fell 3 per cent.

Vodafone bounces  back in 4G war

Vodafone is looking to seize back the initiative in the 4G mobile wars with rivals EE and O2 by offering subscribers live Sky Sports coverage and music from Spotify for £5 a month. Britain’s third-biggest mobile operator wants users to sign up for 4G, which is up to 10 times the speed of existing 3G. It launches 4G in London on 29 August.

Jaguar Land Rover sales soar

Higher sales at Tata Motor’s Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) failed to plug a sharp drop in first-quarter profit at the Indian truck and bus giant. The Coventry-based luxury business posted quarterly profits of £415m, up 25 per cent on a year ago, as sales rose 13 per cent to £4.1bn. JLR’s UK sales rose 13 per cent while China was up 11 per cent.

Quarto founder rejoins board

Quarto has re-appointed Bob Morley as a non-executive director after he backed the coup that led to the book publisher’s fellow founder Laurence Orbach being ousted as chief executive. Mr Morley was on the board until last year. Half-year sales fell 1.6 per cent to £47.2m. Quarto also said it is looking to move its domicile from America to the UK.

Microbrewer tax breaks hit Adnams

Adnams posted a 22 per cent fall in operating profits to £688,000  for the first half and hit out against high UK duty subsidies for microbrewers. The tax breaks, several times those in other countries, caused an oversupply of beer in the UK, it said, noting pub closures rose from 18 to 26 a week in six months.

Watchdog hires ex-HBOS adviser

The Financial Conduct Authority has hired Karina McTeague – a former principal risk adviser for bailed out bank HBOS – to lead its supervision of retail banking. Ms McTeague left HBOS for LloydsTSB in 2003 and currently works across risk, policy and general counsel for Lloyds Banking Group.

£5m cash call from Coalfield

Coalfield Resources, former parent of the Britain’s largest coal miner UK Coal before a complex restructuring last year, is to tap shareholders for £5m to repay debt owed to Lloyds Banking Group. Coalfield owns 25 per cent of Harworth Estates, one of the  UK’s largest landowners.

JSC in £32m deal with Bell Rock

Dry cleaning to textile workwear firm Johnson Service Group has agreed the sale of its facilities management arm for up to £32.2m. The business has sold the division to Bell Rock Bidco, a new company formed for the acquisition backed by Lyceum Capital Partners.

Grant Thornton  in audit probe

The Financial Reporting Council is investigating how Grant Thornton audited interest rate swap arrangements at Manchester Building Society. The accountancy giant said it alerted the FRC as soon as it became aware of a potential issue.

Stockbrokers join Royal Mail sale

The Government has invited stockbrokers to apply to help sell shares in the Royal Mail to members of the public as part of a planned stock market listing. Investors will be able to buy shares through intermediaries or  direct from the Government.