The Business Matrix: Tuesday 25 January 2011

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The Independent Online

Lovering confirms exit from M&B

Mitchells & Butlers’ chairman John Lovering has confirmed that he will step down from the pubs company later this year. Mr Lovering joined the group last year to help refocus the firm, expanding its food business and offloading underperforming pubs.

Prudential’s Thiam to chair G20 panel

Prudential’s chief executive Tidjane Thiam has been appointed chairman of a 12-strong G20 panel for infrastructure investment, ahead of the November summit. The panel will prepare recommendations for how to encourage investment in, and financing of, infrastructure in emerging markets.

Record year for McDonald’s in UK

McDonald’s UK posted record sales of more than £200m in December, despite the snowfall. The fast-food giant said its UK stores outperformed the rest of Europe in the three months to 31 December. Globally in 2010, McDonald’s earnings rose 9 per cent to $4.95bn, on sales up by 6 per cent to $24.1bn.

Morgan Stanley banker questioned

Kamal Ahmed, a Morgan Stanley banker, is under investigation for allegedly leaking information about a takeover that was passed on to Raj Rajaratnam, the founder of the hedge fund Galleon, according to reports onWall Street. Mr Ahmed’s lawyer said: “We are confident it will be shown that he did nothing illegal or unethical.”

Philips’ chief set to move to Vodafone

Vodafone is lining up the chief executive of Philips to succeed Sir John Bond as chairman. Gerard Kleisterlee, left, is set to step down from the Dutch electronics giant in March after 10 years at the helm and could replace Sir John at the telecoms’ group annual meeting this summer.

Profits flow for Amiad group

The Aim-listed Israeli water filter and irrigation group Amiad Filtration has posted a 27 per cent rise in full-year revenues to $88m, compared with $69m last year. Amiad completed a $10m (£6.3m) merger with nearest rival Arkal in June.

Nuclear firms to face £1bn liability

Chris Huhne, the energy minister, has proposed a €1.2bn (£1bn) liability cost per nuclear site on generators to cover the consequences of accidents. The proposal aligns British law with a pan-European treaty. The law could come into force next year. Mr Huhne’s proposal last night came as the Government closed its consultation on a list of sites planned to house new nuclear power stations in Britain.

Tougher rules on the way in Spain

Spain’s banks have until autumn to meet a new, higher-minimum core capital ratio of 8 per cent to reassure investors of their solvency under potential stress, the economy minister, Elena Salgado, said last night. Privately held banks could be asked for even higher amounts of capital. The rules come amid fears that Spain’s savings banks will require an expensive bailout.

Bank’s Sentance calls for rises

The retiring Monetary Policy Committee member Andrew Sentance repeated his calls yesterday for the Bank of England to tighten monetary policy. Mr Sentance warned: “If we do not start to raise UK interest rates gradually soon,we risk having to do so more aggressively in the future – which could create a big shock to business and consumer confidence further down the track.”

Inflation fears grow in eurozone

Factories in the eurozone reported the strongest monthly price increase on record for raw materials and fuel in January, according to a business survey that again showed German strength propelling the bloc’s service sector. The news came as the ECB president Jean-Claude Trichet warned of building global inflation fears.

IMF to release growth forecasts

The International Monetary Fund expects global growth in 2011 to be just slightly slower than last year’s rate of 4.75 per cent, its deputy managing director said yesterday. John Lipsky said that while the rate of growth was impressive, much of it was driven by emerging markets. The IMF’s latest report is released today.

Russian coal firm to raise $520m

The Russian coking coal and pig iron producer Koks is seeking to raise about $520m (£325m) in its initial public offering in London andMoscow. The float is set to valueKoks, owned by Boris Zubitsky and his two sons, at $2.6bn. The family plans to sell 12 per cent of its holding, netting the Zubitskys more than $300m.

Rio wins over Riversdale board

Rio Tinto’s A$3.9bn (£2.4bn) bid for Riversdale has won the backing of the coal miner’s full board, including a representative of Tata Steel, which holds a 24 per cent stake in the latter. An Indian consortium will decide this week whether to counter Rio’s A$16-a-share bid. The stock closed at A$16.50, suggesting investors believe Rio will succeed.