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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 24 April 2013

Quercus pins hopes on Suggs

Quercus has high hopes for That Close, the autobiography of Madness singer Suggs which it is publishing this autumn as the publisher looks to move beyond The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series. Sales last year fell a fifth to £20.4m while profits dropped 75 per cent to £1.4m.Suggs’ autobiography was originally due to be published earlier but was put back.

SABMiller push on with Clark

SABMiller moved forward the appointment of Alan Clark as its new chief executive yesterday as it revealed that its executive chairman, Graham Mackay, has been diagnosed with a brain tumour. Mr Mackay underwent surgery earlier this week. The brewing giant’s chief operating officer was due to take up the role in July.

Republic reversal by Sports Direct

Sports Direct has closed a dozen of the fashion chain Republic’s stores that it rescued out of administration just two months ago, and more are likely to shut. The retail giant, founded by Mike Ashley, acquired 114 stores from Republic at the end of February, shortly after the chain had appointed Ernst & Young as administrator.

Rolls-Royce sells stake in Aero firm

Rolls-Royce has sold its stake in a business which builds engines for Apache attack and Merlin helicopters for €293m (£250m). John Rishton, the chief executive, decided to sell Rolls’ 50 per cent share in the International Aero Engines joint venture to its partner Turbomeca, part of the French group Safran.

Richemont sees  profits rise 30%

Richemont, the owner of the website Net-a-Porter and jewellery brands Cartier and Jaeger-LeCoultre, has allayed fears of a slowdown in the luxury goods sector with full-year net profits up 30 per cent. The Swiss-based group said the figures were boosted by favourable currency exchange rates.

EE set to challenge wireless services

Olaf Swantee, the chief executive of the mobile giant EE, believes 4G will replacing bad broadband services, as customers opt to use the superfast mobile service rather than public wifi services. EE  said 318,000 users had subscribed to 4G, putting the company on track to hit one million 4G users by Christmas.

Chapel Down raises a glass to results

The wine maker Chapel Down toasted a record set of results yesterday despite tough  economic conditions and a poor harvest in 2012. The Kent-based company saw turnover rise 29 per cent to £4.8m last year, pushing its pre-tax profits to £413,829, up from £218,079 in 2011.

Tesco moves to sell pension annuities

Britain’s biggest grocer Tesco has announced plans to launch a pension annuity comparison service. The move is seen as an attempt to tap into the lucrative retirement market where more than 400,000 people buy annuities – which pay an annual income for life – each year.

Carpetright ends year on high note

Carpetright thanked the prolonged wintry weather and self-help measures such as refurbished stores yesterday as the retailer reported a strong end to its financial year. Sales in Britain at the chain increased by 5.6 per cent in its fourth quarter.

Time Out loses out after going free

The listings magazine Time Out, owned by private equity firm Oakley Capital, saw operating losses jump to £3.1m last year as it moved to a free print model in London and sister a New York title suffered from “slower than anticipated” trading.

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