The Business Matrix: Tuesday 17 February 2015


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Kavanagh lands Aer Lingus hotseat

Aer Lingus, target of a £1bn takeover from British Airways owner IAG, has named a 26-year veteran of the airline as its next chief executive. Stephen Kavanagh, 47, will take over at the start of March from current chief executive Christopher Mueller, who announced he planned to stand down seven months ago.

Soaring H&M plans to expand

H&M plans to expand its fashion empire after continuing its impressive run of growth with sales rising for the 22nd month in a row. The Swedish retailer, the world’s second-largest fashion chain, said sales jumped 14 per cent in January from a year earlier, spurred by the extra 357 stores it has opened, taking its total to 3,541 worldwide.

Bonhams expect corking wine sale

An auction at Bonhams’ flagship London saleroom on Thursday will almost certainly see fine clarets from the crack vintage year of 1945 fetch tens of thousands of pounds. A case of Château Latour 1945 carries an estimate of £18,000 to £25,000 while a single bottle of  1945 Château Mouton Rothschild could fetch up to £6,000.

Balfour Beatty pulls out of Thanet

Balfour Beatty has sold its majority stake in an offshore power transmission project for £40m. The beleaguered engineer sold its 80 per cent stake in the Thanet project, which connects the wind farm off the coast of Kent to the grid. The buyer was the infrastructure fund manager Equitix.

Skyscanner’s profits fly to £93m

Skyscanner, the travel-price comparison website, saw a 42 per cent jump in revenues last year to £93m. Although a slowdown from the doubling in revenues of  2103, the group, in its “early stages of development”, said it saw no signs of any long-term easing of growth.

All Leisure rides tide of instability

All Leisure narrowed its losses last year despite a drop in revenue and political turmoil in Ukraine and Egypt. The Swan Hellenic cruise operator took a £1.9m hit after three key cruises were rescheduled because of Crimea while instability affected its Discover Egypt arm.

Post Office unveils new flexible ISA

Post Office Money, the new financial services unit of the Post Office, has launched a new online ISA allowing customers the flexibility to save their annual cash ISA allowance across multiple products with variable and fixed rates in one account.

New City site for Land Securities

Property firm Land Securities, the company behind London’s Walkie Talkie skyscraper, has bought the leasehold on a new site in the City for £16.5m. It said the 1.9-acre plot at 21 Moorfields includes vacated 1970s offices and a Transport for London worksite.

Watling quits African Minerals

African Minerals’ chief executive Alan Watling has quit the Sierra Leone-based iron ore miner, just six months into the job. The miner has been in debt talks with its Chinese partner since the ebola outbreak and plunging iron prices forced it to suspend mining last year.

Mercedes hit by mass safety recall

Daimler is recalling about 149,000 Mercedes cars in China and Germany for safety reasons. The German carmaker said it found that insulating panel seals in the engine bay could come loose, and in rare cases could come into contact with hot components.