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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 22 July 2014

Aurelius waltzes off with Scholl

A German private-equity firm has walked off with the footwear division of Reckitt Benckiser’s Scholl brand. Aurelius, which recently opened a London office, paid an undisclosed sum and plans to expand the Scholl business. The brand operates worldwide, except in the US where the German drug-maker Bayer owns the name.

Babcock flying high with £13.5bn

The engineering giant Babcock revealed its order book has risen to £13.5bn, helped by contract wins and its acquisition of helicopters firm Avincis. The group, which generates more than half of its revenue from the Ministry of Defence, said trading was in line with its expectations. It expects full-year pre-tax profit of £418m.

WH Ireland’s profits treble

The stockbroker WH Ireland’s pre-tax profits more than trebled to £203,000 in the first half. Sales jumped 12.6 per cent to £14.69m as the group streamlined its business to focus on just two divisions: corporate broking and private client wealth management. Corporate broking clients rose from 84 to 92.

Employees fear lower bonuses

Almost half of financial professionals are expecting to have their bonuses cut or to receive no bonus at all, as share and bond trading volumes fall. Some 27 per cent of people surveyed by Bloomberg say they are braced for a lower bonus than they received last year. Another 18 per cent said that they do not expect a bonus.

Benelux bad  news hits Shanks

The waste management group Shanks said tougher competition in the Benelux countries would hit profits. The firm said first-half results will be below expectations as margins were under pressure from the strong pound and problems in its solid waste business, particularly in the Netherlands.

Philips flicks switch on bulbs

The electronics group Philips is speeding up the transformation of its lighting unit as more customers switch to its energy-efficient LED products at the cost of traditional light bulbs. Philips is scaling back production of traditional bulbs or even closing factories altogether, it warned.

Aldi co-founder Albrecht dies

Karl Albrecht, the reclusive businessman who became one the world’s wealthiest people after co-founding the discount supermarket Aldi after the Second World War, has died, aged 94. He passed away in Essen on 16 July and was buried in a private ceremony yesterday.

Tiffany CEO to stand down

Michael Kowalski, the chief executive of Tiffany & Co, will step down in 2015 after more than 15 years running the luxury jeweller. He will pass the reins to president Frederic Cumenal. Mr Kowalski will leave on 1 April, but is staying on as a non-executive chairman.

New non-execs for Bank of England

The Bank of England has appointed three new non-executive directors to serve on its court – the Bank’s equivalent of a board. Dido Harding, Don Robert and Dorothy Thompson will join the governing body next month.

Autonomy CFO opposes deal

Sushovan Hussain, the former Autonomy finance chief, is opposing a deal between Hewlett-Packard executives and shareholders over HP’s acquisition of the UK software company. He called the settlement “collusive and unfair”.

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