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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 9 October 2013


Cineworld sheds three cinemas

Cineworld was yesterday forced to sell three cinemas as Competition Commission officials reacted to its £47.3m acquisition of arthouse group Picturehouse.The Aberdeen and Bury St Edmunds Picturehouse branches are to be sold, while boss Steve Wiener said he was still deciding whether to dump the Cineworld or Picturehouse in Cambridge.

10,000 jobs to go at Alcatel-Lucent

Alcatel-Lucent, the telecoms giant, said it plans to shed 10,000 jobs across the world as it attempts to cut costs in the face of heavy losses. The cut are set to affect more than 4,000 jobs in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as well as almost 4,000 in the Asia-Pacific region and more than 2,000 in the Americas.

Recovery moves beyond London

Recruitment agency Robert Walters is seeing the recovery in the UK move out beyond London and the South-east, it said yesterday. While group fee income rose by 7 per cent in the three months to the end of September UK fees were up 21 per cent at £15.8m. This was driven by growth in regional cities such as Birmingham and Manchester.

Morrisons to open on Boxing Day

Morrisons is to open its doors on Boxing Day and New Year's Day for the first time in its history – the last of the Big Four supermarkets to do so. Store managers have been told they must open for six hours on each bank holiday in the hope of taking extra cash at a time when the supermarket has been falling behind its rivals.

WS Atkins wins Riyadh contract

British engineer WS Atkins has bagged a £75m contract to design metro lines on one of the world's biggest transportation project. The London-listed company was yesterday named as the lead designer for lines four, five and six on the proposed Riyadh Metro in Saudi Arabia.

Sainsbury's boss blasts Government

Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King has attacked the Government for refusing to negotiate over high business rates. Amid calls for reform, he said: "We're in the court of public opinion having that debate because that's the only place you can negotiate with government."

EY reports high growth figures

Big Four accountant EY has unveiled its best growth figures since the onset of the financial crisis, with global turnover up 7.7 per cent to $25.8bn (£16.1bn). Emerging markets were particularly strong for EY, formerly known as Ernst & Young, growing at 12 per cent.

Direct Line sells closed life fund

Direct Line, has sold its closed life asurance business Direct Line Life, to quoted Chesnara for £62m. Chesnara specialises in buying and running down closed life businesses. Direct Line said that it would hand the proceeds to its shareholders through a one off dividend of 4p.

Lafarge told to sell cement plant

The Competition Commission has demanded that Lafarge Tarmac sells off one of its huge cement plants, just months after the regulator approved the company's creation. The watchdog is looking to tempt another big player into a market.

Finance director is headhunted

Phillip McLelland, finance director of UK Asset Resolution, has been headhunted to become finance director of an unnamed listed company. Mr McLelland, 47, will step down from the boards of UKAR, B&B and NRAM at the end of next month.