The Business Matrix: Tuesday 26 July 2011

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Sparkle goes out of beer sales

Beer sales have slumped almost 10 per cent in recent months, including a 15 per cent fall in supermarkets. Pub sales were down 4.5 per cent in the three months to June as beer tax and VAT rises wiped out the positive impact of the warm weather and royal wedding, the British Beer and Pub Association said. Tax has risen 10p a pint in the past year.

Wolseley sells Build Center

Wolseley is to sell its UK-based Build Center business and its French plumbing and heating unit Brossette, netting £310m as the building supplies group seeks to pay down debt. The buyer is Saint Gobain, the French construction materials group. The deals mark the “last significant disposals” following last year’s strategic review.

Wolfson warns on sales again

The chip maker Wolfson Microelectronics has slashed its sales forecast for the second time in a month in the face of a tough market for electronics goods that lack an Apple logo. Wolfson, which supplies the BlackBerry-maker Research in Motion, Samsung and LG, said it was being hit by slower-than-expected launches of products such as tablets.

Melrose asks to look at the books

The manufacturing buyout firm Melrose said it would consider making a higher proposed offer for Charter International if it was given access to the engineer’s books. The company’s latest proposed bid, made earlier this month and pitched at 840p per share, is 8 per cent higher than its previous indicative approach.

Dettol maker’s profits hit £1.1bn

Reckitt Benckiser, maker of Dettol, Cillit Bang and Air Wick, has reported a 14 per cent increase in underlying profits to £1.1bn for its first half. The firm, which also owns Durex, also said that condom supplies to the UK were not under threat, despite disruption from its legal row with amajor Indian manufacturer.

Investors pick up equity funds

Aberdeen Asset Management booked £700m of net inflows in the three months to the end of June, as investors defied recession fears to pump more cash into its higher-risk equity range products. Aberdeen said growth in net new business for the period more than doubled compared with last year’s rate.

Moonpig founder set for windfall

Nick Jenkins, the founder of the personalised greeting cards firm, is set for a multimillion-pound windfall after the company was sold for £120m to the online photo service Photo-Box. The deal will see Mr Jenkins, a former commodities trader at Glencore, cash in part of his 35 per cent stake in the firm.

Longworth named new BCC chief

John Longworth has been named as the new director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, taking over from David Frost, who has run the business organisation since 2003. Mr Longworth has held senior posts at Asda and Tesco, and is also a director of the Cooperative Group Food.

Deutsche names joint CEOs

Deutsche Bank named Anshu Jain and Jürgen Fitschen as future co-CEOs. Mr Jain, the head of the investment bank, could eventually become standalone chief executive as the lender said his contract will be extended by five years until 2017, while Mr Fitschen’s will expire almost two years before that.

Kilgour asked to run 11 care homes

Robert Kilgour said he has been approached by three landlords of Southern Cross to run 11 homes in Scotland involving 500 beds and 800 staff. Mr Kilgour, who founded Four Seasons Health Care in Fife in 1989, owns and runs three care homes in Edinburgh and the Lothians under the Renaissance Care brand.