The Business Matrix: Tuesday 30 December 2014


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The Independent Online

American Apparel faces sale calls

Private equity group Lion Capital has written to American Apparel demanding the fashion retailer be put up for sale. Lion has called for management to “explore strategic options”. The group owns warrants for up to 12 per cent of the company, which ousted controversial founder Dov Charney as chief executive in June.

Evraz lines up cash for float

Roman Abramovich’s Russian steel firm Evraz has agreed a new credit facility worth $515m (£331m) until 2019 for its North American division. The company is hoping to get funds in place for a possible flotation of its US business, using the cash to buy out the 49 per cent stake of its Canadian business that it does not already own.

US clears Roche’s fast Ebola test

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche has been given emergency permission by The US Federal Drug Administration to distribute an Ebola test. The test takes just three hours to diagnose patients showing symptoms of the disease. The FDA approval does not grant Roche with general distribution rights.

Recession looms after rouble crash

The Russian economy shrank for the first time in five years last month, due to the falling rouble, a manufacturing slowdown and reduced levels of investment. GDP shrank 0.5 per cent in November. The world’s biggest energy exporter is now facing its first recession since 2009, with low oil prices and sanctions set to bite next year.

Boots’ $25bn merger greenlit

The $25bn mega-merger between Walgreens and Alliance Boots has been approved by investors. Shareholders in US-based Walgreens agreed to the takeover, which will come into effect on 1 January. Boots and Walgreens control nearly 12,000 stores across the globe.

E-cigarette sales boom in 2014

E-cigarettes, sports nutrition bars and gluten and dairy-free food were the fastest growing products in supermarkets and grocers in 2014, according to new data. Nielsen found that  e-cigarette sales soared by 50 per cent, while sales of nicotine replacement products such as patches dropped by 6.1 per cent.

Caudwell lost £3m in City Link bust

Phones4U founder John Caudwell lost about £3m from the collapse of delivery business City Link over Christmas, i has discovered. Mr Caudwell, who sold Phones4U for £1.4bn in 2006, is the biggest investor in the Better Capital fund that bought City Link in April 2013.

Chinese phone giant work $45bn

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has been valued at $45bn, after raising $1.1bn from investors. Xiaomi is China’s best- selling phone maker, controlling 15 per cent of the market. The four-year-old business makes high-perfromance but low-cost devices.

Shake Shack set for $1bn flotation

Burger-bar chain Shake Shack is set for a US flotation which could value the company at more than $1bn (£640m). The New York firm, owned by Union Square Hospitality Group, revealed sales hit $83.8m in the nine months to 24 September.

Porsche boost for tracking firm

Shares in AIM-lsited security and tracking specialist Starcom rocketed more than 250 per cent yesterday after it announced a deal with Germany’s largest Porsche dealership. Starcom’s vehicle tracking devices will be offered as an extra.