The Business Matrix: Tuesday 2 September 2014


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Heineken sells Mexican arm

Heineken has sold its Mexican packaging business for $1.2bn (£740m) to the US firm Crown, pocketing a $300m profit. Empaque, which produces cans, corks and bottles, was bought by Heineken as part of its €3.8bn takeover of Femsa Cerveza in 2010. Heineken said the deal would allow it to focus fully on brewing.

Vodafone hangs up on Phones4U

Vodafone is to end its network agreement with the retailer Phones4U when their tie-up ends in February. Phones4U said it was “surprised and disappointed” at the move by the operator, which is boosting its distribution partnership with Dixons Carphone. Phones4U said the Vodafone deal brought in £212m a year.

Smith leaves Tullett Prebon

Terry Smith walked away yesterday from Tullett Prebon, the broking giant he founded and headed until Friday, with a pay-off of £712,000. Mr Smith, who now runs his private fund-management business Fundsmith, has been replaced by John Phizackerley, the former head of Nomura  in Britain.

Rouble in trouble against the dollar

The rouble dropped to a new low against the dollar yesterday. The Russian currency fell by nearly 1 per cent to touch 37.50 against the greenback on the back of rising fears that new Western sanctions will hammer the country’s markets. The RTS index of Russian equities – which is priced in dollars – also fell.

Irish industry powers ahead

Irish manufacturing grew at its fastest rate since 1999 in August, according to Investec’s purchasing managers’ survey, as new orders gave more evidence of recovery, bucking the trend in the rest of the eurozone. In December, Ireland became the first bailed-out country to exit its rescue deal.

Kier wins £50m Greenwich deal

FTSE 250 company Kier has landed a £50m deal in London’s Greenwich. The firm will build 224 luxury apartments on the Thames riverside as part of the area’s regeneration project, which aims to deliver 10,000 homes by 2039. It has also won a six-year contract to maintain the UK’s waterways.

KPMG creates 52 new partners

KPMG has announced the appointment of 52 new partners, including 29 who are due to be promoted from within the firm next month. This takes the total number of partners in the firm to 613 out of a total headcount of 11,500 people across 22 sites.

Shock drop in manufacturing

Manufacturing activity in China unexpectedly fell in August, according to HSBC/Markit’s PMI survey, which dipped to 50.2 in August, only barely in positive territory. Analysts said the dip reflected cooling foreign and domestic demand and could result in more policy easing.

Hargreaves sells tanker business

Hargreaves Services, a supplier of solid fuels and bulk material logistics, has sold Imperial Tankers to Suttons Transport Group for £26.9m. The chemical tanker operation, which has a fleet of 200 tanker units, was acquired by Hargreaves in 2007.

Life’s in the fast lane at Vertu

Motor dealer Vertu yesterday said trading continued in line with July’s upgrade. Last week it opened a new dealership in Newcastle representing Fiat, Alfa and Jeep marques. The board said it was “confident of making further progress”.