The Business Matrix: Tuesday 3 February 2015


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The Independent Online

Smythson tax status in spotlight

Smythson, a leather goods firm that employs Samantha Cameron, faces controversy after it emerged that it is based in Luxembourg and owned by a trust in Guernsey. Holding company Holdsmyth paid £1m in dividends which may have benefited from its offshore status. Smythson did not comment yesterday.

Phone masts could be rented

The Government is considering renting out public mobile phone masts and fibre optic cables while they sit idle, after undertaking the first ever audit of the UK’s digital infrastructure. The Interim Landscape Report reveals that there are over 13,000 miles of publicly owned digital infrastructure across the UK.

Ashcourt Rowan bought by Towry

Shares in the financial adviser Ashcourt Rowan rose over 55 per cent after Towry Finance bought it for £97m, making one of the UK’s largest independent advisers. Ashcourt shareholders will get 270p a share – a premium of 60 per cent on Ashcourt’s Friday close and 53 per cent on its average over the past quarter.

Julius Baer cuts jobs to save £71m

The Swiss bank Julius Baer plans to axe 200 jobs and cut back on hiring new staff to save Swfr100m (£71.5m) a year after the surge in the Swiss franc. It said 2014 headline profit after tax rose 22 per cent to Swfr586m and that it spent Swfr3.6m on an inquiry by US regulators into claims that it helped Americans to evade tax.

Intel buys German chipmaker

The microchip giant Intel has agreed to buy the German chipmaker Lantiq for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition comes as Intel looks to step up its efforts in the so-called “Internet of Things” field, where everyday devices such as fridges and watches are connected to the internet.

Croat bank head’s  mortgage pledge

The Governor of Croatia’s central bank has pledged to help Croats who hold a Swiss franc mortgage, who have seen their debts surge with the franc’s recent rise in value. Boris Vujcic said measures would be drawn up within months.  About 60,000 people in Croatia have borrowed in Swiss francs.

No sign of payout cuts, says study

Investment banks have slowed efforts to reduce payouts to staff as a proportion of revenue in recent years, according to a new study. The pay consultants McLagan say pay at European banks in 2014 will amount to 24 per cent of revenue, unchanged on the figure from 2013.

Alibaba affiliate will list, says Ma

Jack Ma, the chairman of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, said its financial affiliate would likely list in Asia at some point, but no decision has been taken on location or timing. It had been reported the company, known as Ant Financial, was planning an IPO.

Call for action on ‘steel dumping’

British steelmakers have added to calls for the European Commission to take action over alleged  dumping of cheap steel in EU markets. UK Steel warned a recovery in the sector almost ground to a halt last year, blaming rising imports.

Computacenter sells subsidiary

Computacenter has pledged to return £100m to investors after selling its disposal and recycling subsidiary. US-based Arrow Electronics has paid £56m for Computacenter’s R.D. Trading unit. The company said it also had excess cash.