The Business Matrix: Tuesday 1 April 2014


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The Independent Online

Dairy owners plot business merger

Europe’s largest dairy operator, Arla, is planning to merge with its Belgian rival EGM Walhorn. Arla, which is owned by 2,800 British dairy farmers, said members and respective boards would vote on the proposal in mid-May and complete by July, if approved. EGM’s 800 members will join Arla’s 12,600 farmer members.

Pollster YouGov’s revenues rise 9%

The online polling group YouGov is winning more business from clients which want to tap into its database of existing opinions, rather than commission new polls. It has a global panel of nearly three million people. Half-year revenues rose 9 per cent to £32.6m but it made pretax loss of £400,000 due to acquisitions.

Lonmin chairman Phillimore retires

In yet another change at the top of a major mining business, Lonmin’s chairman, Roger Phillimore, is to retire at the end of next month, with non-executive director Brian Beamish taking over on an interim basis. Mr Beamish, an engineer by training, has been  with the FTSE 250 platinum specialist for 36 years.

Inflation falls to record 0.5% low

Inflation in the eurozone is at an all-time low of 0.5 per cent, building pressure on the European Central Bank to begin printing new money in order to ward off the threat of deflation. March’s fall – down from February’s 0.7 per cent – shocked economists. Inflation has been below 1 per cent for six consecutive months.

LV members will share £22m bonus

LV saw its profits rise by 51 per cent last year despite “challenging market conditions”. The mutual posted pre-tax profits of £156m, but its net earned premiums fell 4 per cent to £2.2bn, with revenues from motor policies the worst hit. Its 740,000 with-profits members will share a £22m bonus pot.

Huawei dials up profit of £2bn

Huawei has become the world’s third-largest smartphone-maker behind Samsung and Apple, as annual net profit leapt by a third to £2bn. Revenues climbed 10 per cent to a record £24bn, and it hopes to double turnover by 2018. Its consumer business outperformed the broadband and cable division.

Mobile money comes to Romania

Vodafone has announced the European launch of a mobile money service that has revolutionised banking in Africa. Millions of customers in Romania will now be able to use M-Pesa text-message transactions to transfer up to 30,000 lei (£5,570) a day.

IGas strikes shale in Manchester

The shale-gas explorer IGas Energy said it has encountered parts of the promising Sabden and Bowland shale formations in its drilling programme at Barton Moss, near Manchester. Samples taken from the drilling programme will now be analysed over six months.

Yellen: We must still take up slack

Janet Yellen, the chairman of the US Federal Reserve, said there was still considerable slack in America’s economy and labour market, implying that the Fed would continue its  highly stimulative monetary policy for the foreseeable future.