The Business Matrix: Tuesday 20 May 2014


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The Independent Online

Champagne year for Mitie

Cleaning, pest control and catering, and security services such as baggage screening at Heathrow, helped Mitie post a forecast- beating 4.3 per cent rise in profits. The group, which will pour more than 1,500 bottles of champagne this week at the Chelsea Flower Show, said that in the year to April its profits reached £113m.

Permission sought for shale gas wells

Cuadrilla, the shale gas group chaired by the former BP chief executive Lord Browne, will apply for permission to drill and hydraulically fracture up to four exploration wells in Lancashire by the end of this month. Lancashire County Council could take up to 16 weeks to approve the plans for the sites at Preston New Road and Roseacre Wood.

Time called on share structure

The Kent brewer Shepherd Neame has called time on its antiquated share structure, which has provided the descendants of Percy Beale Neame with B shares carrying about eight times the voting power of the, mainly external, owners of A shares. The move will cut the family’s share of the vote from 91 to 54 per cent.

Reid resigns from Co-op board

Ben Reid, the chief executive of the country’s largest Co-operative society, Midcounties, has resigned from the board of the Co-operative Group. The move comes after Co-op members on Saturday backed Lord Myners’ reform proposals for the mutual group, which will see all the regional co-ops lose their board seats.

Magnox boost  for Babcock

Major contract wins, including a £4.2bn deal to decommission Magnox nuclear reactors, are set to boost Babcock’s order book, which stood at £11.5bn at the end of March. The engineering and outsourcing group’s pre-tax profits for the year to 31 March were £316m,  15 per cent ahead of last year.

HSBC rent paid to Iranian Oil

HSBC is set to close down a branch in Victoria Street after discovering it has been paying rent on it to the state-controlled National Iranian Oil Company. The bank reached a $1.9bn (£1.1 bn) deferred prosecution deal with American regulators two years ago over sanctions breaches.

Npower fined £125,00 by Ofgem

The energy watchdog Ofgem has fined npower £125,000 for under-reporting electricity supplied to customers in 2010-11 and 2011-12, resulting in lower payments to the Government than should have made under the Feed-in Tariffs and Renewables Obligation schemes.

Bangers and cash for Cranswick

Cost-conscious shoppers swapping steak for premium British sausages boosted pork pie-maker Cranswick, which produced a better-than-expected full-year profits of £52m, up 6 per cent. Sales  benefitted from customers seeking UK-reared pork.

Strikes ‘could prove fatal’

Lonmin has warned that strikes at its South African platinum mines are a “bleeding” that could lead to the company’s death if not stopped in time. The miner has lost a third of its annual production from the 17 week long strike.

Emirates is  flying high

Emirates saw its annual profit before tax leap 40 per cent to £560m as it flew a record 44.5 million passengers. Apart from passenger numbers rising 13 per cent, the Dubai-based group said it added 24 aircraft to its fleet, including 16 A380s.