The Business Matrix: Wednesday 05 March 2014


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The Independent Online

Subrata Roy inked by protester

Subrata Roy, owner of London's Grosvenor House Hotel and whose Sahara Group is worth £6.6bn, was covered in ink as he arrived at court in Delhi yesterday to face charges his companies failed to return up to £2.3bn raised in illegal bonds. A lawyer threw the ink, shouting: "Subrata Roy is a thief. He has cheated and robbed us."

Virgin money back in profit

Virgin Money has swung out of the red and firmly into the black. The major challenger bank in the UK, Virgin is set to launch its first current account this year and is eyeing a multi-billion-pound stock market flotation, maybe next year. Chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia said: "I can't rule in or rule out flotation this year."

Paddy Power in record profits

A golden year for punters didn't stop Paddy Power posting record profits. Paddy managed a 5 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to €141m (£116m) for 2013 and would have done even better had it not been for punter-friendly results including Andy Murray's Wimbledon win and Phil Mickleson's British Open triumph.

Apple replaces Oppenheimer

Apple's Chief Financial Officer Peter Oppenheimer will retire and hand the reins to Luca Maestri in September, transferring financial stewardship of the technology company to the Italian-born corporate controller. Oppenheimer, 51, had been CFO since 2004 and was the architect behind the $100bn capital return programme.

Ashtead full-year profits climb

Equipment hire specialist Ashtead raised its full-year profit target yesterday on the back of strong UK and US demand. Shares climbed 8 per cent to 916p after it posted a 54 per cent jump in third-quarter profits to £77.9m. It now makes about 85 per cent of its revenue from the US.

Bad weather has mixed results

February's downpours hit housebuilding but a surge in orders for flood defence work prompted the best month for civil engineers on record according to the CIPS. Its overall activity index, where a score over 50 signals growth, slowed from 64.6 to 62.6, albeit still indicating healthy growth.

F&C's Tigue to step down

City fund manager Jeremy Tigue is to step down from running the £2bn Foreign & Colonial Investment Trust after almost 17 years. In that time an investment of £1,000 would have grown to £3,215, compared with £2,697 if it had tracked the FTSE All-World index.

Bank of Ireland pair cash in

Two of Bank of Ireland's largest investors have more than trebled their money after bailing the bank out in 2011. Wilbur Ross and Fairfax Financial sold a combined 6.4 per cent stake in the Irish bank. They bought their shares at 10 euro cents. The price is now 33 cents.

Nicosia approves privatisations

Cyprus's parliament has averted a showdown with international lenders who insist on state sell-offs as part of a €10bn bailout. Thirty MPs in the 56-member parliament yesterday endorsed a guideline for asset sales.

RWE posts first loss in 60 years

Germany's biggest power producer RWE has posted €2.76bn loss, its first in more than six decades. It said a surge in solar and wind capacity undercut the profitability of its power plants and triggered €5bn in writedowns.