The Business Matrix: Tuesday 19 June 2012


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The Independent Online

Bell gets the green light for takeover

Lord Bell's £19.6m buyout of the PR firm Bell Pottinger has got the green light after 75 per cent of shareholders in its parent Chime Communications backed it – despite Chime's largest investor WPP voting against. His new firm, Bell Pottinger Private Communications, will begins trading at the start of July.

Vodafone in £1bn deal for C&W

Vodafone's chief executive Vittorio Colao was celebrating yesterday after his £1bn takeover of Cable & Wireless Worldwide was approved with the backing of 99 per cent of CWW shareholders. Orbis, CWW's top investor with a 19 per cent stake, had opposed the deal but did a U-turn just before yesterday's vote.

Lloyd's sells Brit to Fairfax

The Lloyd's of London insurer Brit Group has sold its Brit Insurance subsidiary to the Canadian financial services giant Fairfax Financial in a deal worth about $300m (£190m). Brit Insurance, the sponsor of the England cricket team, was put up for sale by its private-equity owner, Achilles Netherlands, last autumn.

First tenant for Walkie-Talkie

The Walkie-Talkie skyscraper in London has its first major tenant after insurer Markel signed up yesterday. The firm is paying £65 per square foot for two floors of the 38-storey building, which should be completed by Land Securities and Canary Wharf in 2014. "The rent reflects that it's top-quality," Drivers Jonas Deloitte said.

Economist profits surge ahead

The Economist Group yesterday showed there is still money in quality journalism as pre-tax profits surged by 8.7 per cent to £64.7m in the year to March, against £59.5m in the previous 12 months. Digital helped to boost turnover 4 per cent to £360.8m, with 123,000 paying subscribers.

Retirement to be more costly

Experts yesterday piled on the gloom about pensions with a warning that new European rules may make retirement more expensive. The Solvency II rules will force annuity providers to hold far more reserves, cutting British pensioners' annuity rates by up to 20 per cent, Deloitte advisers warned.

Rolls-Royce signs £1bn reactor deal

Rolls-Royce has signed a contract worth more than £1bn with the Government to make reactor cores for nuclear-powered submarines. The investment, expected to protect about 300 jobs at the aerospace maker and its suppliers, could put a strain on the Coalition Government.

India leaves key rate unchanged

India's central bank left its key interest rate unchanged yesterday due to inflation concerns, thwarting hopes of a cut to kick-start flagging growth in Asia's third-largest economy. The Reserve Bank of India said that the policy repo rate would remain unchanged at 8 per cent.

Ford staff stage 24-hour walk-out

Staff at Ford staged a 24-hour strike yesterday in a row over pay and pensions. Unite, which represents about 1,200 employees at the carmaker, said the walkout, from 6am, hit sites across the country, including Dagenham in Essex.

Tchenguiz case is dropped

The Serious Fraud Office has dropped its investigation into Vincent Tchenguiz after blunders in the case exposed deep flaws at the agency. "It is a huge relief to me that this shadow has now been lifted," Mr Tchenguiz said.