The Business Matrix: Wednesday 16 April 2014


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Conditional bail for Icap brokers

Three former Icap brokers appeared in court yesterday charged with running a four-year scheme to manipulate Libor benchmark rates. Colin Goodman, Darrell Read and Daniel Wilkinson – who did not indicate any plea –  have been granted conditional bail and will next appear at the Southwark Crown Court on 30 April.

Late rescue for Albermarle

Albemarle & Bond’s  administrators have  announced a rescue of the pawnbroker which will save 628 of its 900 jobs and most of its stores. The former Bank of Scotland boss Sir Peter Burt’s Promethean is leading a group of investors buying the company out of administration, PwC said.

Diageo £1.1bn bid for United Spirits

Diageo is making a £1.1bn bid  to gain control of United  Spirits by buying another  26 per cent stake. The UK drinks giant first bought shares in the Indian group from its flamboyant owner Vijay Mallya in 2012, but an offer to raise its stake above 50 per cent was rebuffed by other shareholders last year.

SABMiller looks to sell Tsogo Sun

SABMiller is “reviewing options” and may sell its £622m stake in the hotel and casino operator Tsogo Sun. The Peroni brewer reported a 3 per cent rise in full-year sales, with volumes up 2 per cent, but it missed analyst forecasts. It has been trying to offset slowing European and US sales with growth in emerging markets.

Whittaker moves up to CEO at  RSA

RSA Insurance’s new boss Stephen Hester has stamped his mark on the company’s board by naming Paul Whittaker as its chief operating officer. The move will see Mr Whittaker move from his role as head of the group’s emerging market’s sector, a post he has held since 2006.

Aggreko revenues dip on Asia trade

Revenues at the generators giant Aggreko fell 4 per cent in the first quarter as currency movements and “difficult” trading in Asia offset a 15 per cent rise in revenues in Europe, Middle East and Africa. In 2013, Aggreko ended its decade-long run of growth. It is also losing chief executive Rupert Soames.

Coca-Cola 15-year sales  boom ends

Coca-Cola’s global sales of fizzy pop fell for the first time in 15 years partly due to a fall of more than 10 per cent in sales in the UK, where it froze prices but reduced the size of bottles. The UK decline was higher than the 5 per cent European average fall over the last quarter. Better sales of non-fizzy drinks outweighed the fall.

Capita splashes  £105m for AMT

Capita is paying up to £105m to buy a software company which counts Network Rail among its customers. AMT-Sybex, whose programmes are used by most of the Big Six energy providers, is being snapped up for an initial £82m cash payment. Lord Coe is on its board.  

Nestlé sales lose their flavour

KitKat and Nescafé maker Nestlé said the UK, France and Germany had a slow start to the year as it reported a 5.1 per cent drop in quarterly sales due to currency movements. The Swiss group said its results would be weighted to the second half.

Punch Taverns profits tumble

Punch Taverns’ headline  half-yearly profits fell from £26m to £20m. The pubs group said it continued to hold  “proactive” discussions with its bondholders who will have to  let it breach debt covenants later this month.