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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 19 November 2013

Mitie profits leap as it dodges cuts

Mitie’s half-year profits leapt 17 per cent to £42.8m as City analysts felt it was in good shape because of its exposure to the private and local public sectors, rather than to cost-cutting central government. Sales were up 10.5 per cent at the group, which does everything from catering at the Chelsea Flower Show to managing facilities for Lloyds.

Birds Eye owner set to double up

Iglo Group, whose brands include Birds Eye, has set out plans to double the size of the business to €3.2bn (£2.7bn) by 2020. The chief executive, Elio Leonim Sceti, has put Havas in charge of its marketing strategy. The UK, Italy, Germany and Austria are the group’s largest markets, representing about 85 per cent of turnover.

Forex arm sold off by Thomas Cook

Thomas Cook’s chief executive, Harriet Green, has sold its UK corporate foreign exchange business for £4.5m to Royal Bank of Scotland’s Moneycorp as she continues offloading “non-core” businesses in an effort to turn around the package-holiday group. The company will still run its consumer foreign exchange business.

Latchways to miss City results hopes

Latchways, which provides safety gear for people working at heights, has warned that short-term budgetary constraints among its largest utility customers will leave full-year results below City hopes. Profits for the six months to 30 September were up 12 per cent to £4m, helped by “excellent progress” in North America.

Aviva sells Italian stake for £27.6m

Insurance giant Aviva has sold its stake in the Italian insurer Eurovita for £27.6m. Aviva is overhauling its operations by selling underperforming businesses. Private equity group JC Flowers is buying the business. Aviva will continue to sell cover in the country through banks and financial advisers.

‘Complex’ RBS businesses to go

Royal Bank of Scotland is in talks to sell some of its more complex investment banking businesses in a deal said to be with BNP Paribas. The businesses supply 60,000 products aimed at private banks, wealthy individuals and independent financial advisers, and employ about 2,000 people

Ex-Reuters boss lands new chair

The former finance boss of Reuters, David Grigson, was appointed chairman of Investisis, a financial website and app provider. He already chairs Trinity Mirror and Creston and is a director of Ocado and Standard Life. Investisis is owned by Gresham Private Equity.

Crash risk at its lowest since 2008

The risks of a financial cataclysm are at their lowest since 2008, the Bank of England’s latest risk survey of market professionals reported. However, respondents said they were more worried by rising house prices and low interest rates than they were in May.

Burton’s bought by Ontario fund

Burton’s Biscuits, the maker of Cadbury Fingers, Maryland Cookies, Jammie Dodgers and Wagon Wheels, was bought by the Ontario Teachers’ pension fund. The private equity-owned business employs about 2,000 people.

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