The Business Matrix: Wednesday 1 June 2011

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Tesco tweaks pay structure pre-AGM

Tesco has overhauled its executive pay ahead of its annual meeting next month. The chief executive Philip Clarke could still pick up nearly £7m this year if it meets all of its targets, but a scheme for US boss Tim Mason has been scrapped and its bonus systems have been streamlined. Last year, 40 per cent of investors voted against its pay plans.

Fraud office looks into EADS deal

The Serious Fraud Office is investigating allegations that the European defence group EADS bribed Saudi Arabian officials to win a $3.3bn communications contract. The allegations surfaced in an employment tribunal and were made by a former GPT employee, who claimed Saudi officials were given cars, jewellery and cash through intermediaries.

Krispy Kreme to double its stores

Krispy Kreme is to double its number of UK doughnut stores during the next five years. The company aims to open 10 stores a year, doubling its UK total to nearly 100 by 2016. Krispy Kreme – which first came to the UK in 2003 through a concession in Harrods – has 47 stores as well as a presence in more than 200 Tesco stores.

Novae and Omega in merger talks

The Lloyd’s of London insurer Novae has confirmed it is in merger talks with Omega Insurance Holdings in a move that could create a firm valued at £400m. The talks come after a series of natural disasters – including Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, floods in Australia, and earthquakes in New Zealand – have hit insurers.

Private sector pay keeps on rising

The pace of pay increases in the private sector continued to rise between February and April, although it remains below inflation, according to Income Data Services. The median private sector award in the period was 3 per cent, against the 5.2 per cent inflation. Public sector pay awards were zero.

UK and Denmark rapped on privacy

The European Commission plans to call Britain and Denmark to account for dragging their feet on enforcing a new law to protect privacy online. The EU e-privacy directive requires websites to obtain users’ explicit consent before they can store “cookies”, which track users’ and store preferences.

UK house prices rising slowly

House prices in England and Wales rose by 0.8 per cent in April, the first monthly rise since January and the biggest rise since January 2010, official data from the Land Registry showed yesterday. However, the average home price was still 1.3 per cent lower than a year ago at £163,083, the Land Registry said.

Divide in house prices widening

The North-South divide in house prices is widening, according to Zoopla’s Property Rich List 2011. London’s Kensington emerges as the most expensive place to live, with average house prices close to £1.75m, while the lowest prices were found in Middlesbrough, with prices starting at £41,601.

Serco pays £385m to buy Intelenet

Serco is to acquire the Mumbai-based outsourcing firm Intelenet – whose customers include Barclays, State Bank of India, Travelport and Aircel – for up to £385m. Intelenet employs 32,000 people, has a £500m order book for the next five years, and generates three-quarters of its revenues from international customers.

Team24 sold for £24m to Capita

Capita has acquired the healthcare recruitment firm Team24 for £24m. Team24, based in Surrey, employs around 80 staff and provides nurses and doctors at short notice for temp posts for the NHS and private sector. The firm, which has 4,000 doctors and nurses on its books, made a profit of £4.2m in the past year.