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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 23 March 2011

Brittain quits Spanish bank

Alison Brittain, the head of retail banking at Santander UK, is to follow the Spanish owned bank’s former chief executive Antonio Horta Osorio and move to Lloyds. She will, however, remain at the bank until September to help with the transition to her successor.

eBay boss pockets 22 per cent rise

John Donahoe, the head of the US-based online auction site eBay, saw his pay rise 22 per cent to $12.4m (£7.6m) last year. His pay package included $920,673 salary, bonus, incentives, shares awards, and perks including $245,655-worth of use of a company jet.

Buffett sets his sights on India

Warren Buffett, the billionaire US investor known as the Sage of Omaha, has said he is looking to invest in large countries like India, China and Brazil. On his first visit to India, Mr Buffett said: “I don’t consider India as an emerging market. I consider India as a very big market. We continue to look at large countries, like India.”

Sherwood tipped to head Goldmans

Michael Sherwood is being tipped as the successor to Lloyd Blankfein as chief executive of the Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs. The British banker, who once bought the royal stationer Smythson, has been named chairman of the bank’s partnership committee.

Society to repay Keydata investors

More than 3,000 people who lost money in investments sold to them by Norwich & Peterborough Building Society are set to share £57m in compensation. N&P will make ex gratia payments to 3,200 customers who took out policies with collapsed investment firm Keydata after receiving advice from the building society’s staff.

Record revenues boost Cairn Energy

Cairn Energy reported underlying profits of $1.1bn (£672m) for 2010, up from $53m in 2009 after notching up record revenues. The Edinburgh-based group also raised hopes that the long-awaited sale of its Indian arm will be cleared.

Amazon opens Android store

Amazon.com has introduced its store for Google Android smartphone applications, ratcheting up its fight with Apple. The online retailer also said the game Angry Birds Rio for Android is available for the first time exclusively through the Amazon AppStore. Amazon is promoting the game by letting people download it free for a limited time. The store, at the moment, is only open in the United States. MORE

Inflation rises to two-year high

Inflation has risen to its highest level for more than two years, heaping further pressure on the Bank of England to raise interest rates. The consumer price index rate of inflation rose to 4.4 per cent in February from 4 per cent in January, driven by increases in the price of fuel, food and clothing, said the Office for National Statistics. The rate, double the target, is likely to prompt calls for interest rate rises. MORE

Rank pockets tax jackpot of £154m

Rank, the parent company of Mecca Bingo, celebrated a £154m win from the taxman yesterday after receiving a VAT rebate. Rank was repaid £75m in tax dating from between 1973 and 1996 by HM Revenue and Customs after a long legal dispute. It is also due to receive £80m in interest later this month. HMRC is appealing against the decisions at the European Court of Justice.

Glencore lines up banks for IPO

Hopes that Glencore may be readying itself for a listing have been boosted by news that the Swiss commodities trader is close to strengthening its financial advisers ahead of a potential flotation in London and Hong Kong. Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital, BNP Paribas and UBS are expected to be hired towork alongside Citigroup,Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse.

Processed steel firm’s profits crash

The structural steelwork supplier Severfield-Rowen reported a plunge in profits to £15m in 2010 from £51m in 2009 after being hit by Government spending cuts and rising steel prices. But the group, which is supplying steel for London’s Shard of Glass skyscraper, said it had a “very respectable” order book of £226m.

Amec wins Teesside contract

The engineering and project management company Amec has secured a £32m engineering, procurement and construction contract from Teesside Gas & Liquids Processing. The company will handle the modification and extension of the Teesside Gas Processing Plant at Seal Sands near Middlesbrough.

Vuvuzelas boost TalkSport profits

The football World Cup and a loyal male audience helped the radio station TalkSport deliver market-beating advertising sales last year, according to parent UTV Media. The group, which is also the ITV licence holder for Northern Ireland, posted a 17 per cent rise in profits to a record £21m, as revenues rose 7 per cent to £120m.

Media rivals attack BSkyB decision

A media group alliance has said it is “fanciful” to hope Sky News will be kept independent under Rupert Murdoch’s bid to take full control of BSkyB. The coalition – including BT, Associated Newspapers and Trinity Mirror – said Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s plans to wave through the News Corp takeover are flawed.