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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 18 September 2012


Tata sales heading in right direction

Tata Motors' global vehicle sales rose 13 per cent in August from a year earlier, the Indian company said yesterday, with sales at its Jaguar Land Rover subsidiary up 13 per cent, less than in recent months. Sales at the British brand, a key driver of its recent profit growth, rose 41 per cent in July, 39 per cent in June and 35 per cent in May.

Russia to sell £5bn Sberbank stake

Russia launched the long-awaited sale of a $5bn (£3bn) stake in Sberbank yesterday, reducing its controlling interest in Europe's third-largest bank. The sale of a near 8 per cent stake will boost the liquidity of Russia's most actively traded stock, widely viewed by investors as a proxy for economic growth running at 4 per cent.

Greggs goes into military service

Greggs has started a trial with the Naafi, the supplier of retail services to the armed services.

The baker is supplying seven of its frozen savouries – including sausage rolls, steak bakes, chilli bakes and sausage and bean melts – initially to the British military base in Gutersloh, Germany, home to army helicopters and logistics.

AllSaints raids Burberry for boss

AllSaints, the fashion chain, has poached a director from Burberry to be its new chief executive. William Kim, who was the senior vice-president of retail and digital commerce at Burberry, will join private equity-owned AllSaints on 15 October. The clothing retailer has 65 stores and 35 concessions in the UK, Europe and US.

HSBC signs deal with Post Office

Nine million current account customers of HSBC and First Direct will have access to their bank accounts at the Post Office from next spring. They will also be able to deposit cash and cheques in an agreement meaning 95 per cent of all UK debit cardholders will be able to access their cash at PO counters.

Rip Curl to test water for buyout

The Australian surfwear brand Rip Curl is the target of bids from private equity firms that could see it sold for up to £300m. This follows its rival Billabong receiving offers from two buyout houses. The company has appointed Bank of America Merrill Lynch to explore its options.

Alvarez replaces Kelly at BT Global

Luis Alvarez is to become the chief executive of BT Global Services, the business that forced the telecoms group to issue a huge profits warning four years ago. Mr Alvarez has been with BT for 12 years. He will take over from Jeff Kelly, who is returning to the US.

FastJet ready to set up base

FastJet, a low-cost African airline backed by Lonrho, is to make its first base on the continent at Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania. It plans to offer flights priced from $20 (£12) one-way in November.

Its second base will be at Nairobi, Kenya, once its Airbus A319 has been licensed for use there.

Lonmin reduces sales forecast

Lonmin has cut its sales forecast as it continues to be hurt by strikes at its mines in South Africa. The platinum miner now expects to sell between 685,000 ounces and 700,000 ounces of platinum for the year to 30 September, down from 750,000.

Gas discovery by Falkland Islands

Falkland Oil and Gas has found gas off the coast of the Falkland Islands. FOGL, which is partnered by the US company Noble Energy and the Italian utility Edison, said more tests would need to be done to assess its commercial viability.