Business week in review

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The Independent Online

In profit ...

Vittorio Colao, the chief executive of Vodafone, was bullish about its proposed £1bn bid for Cable & Wireless Worldwide on Monday, but the telecoms firm's biggest shareholder threw a potential spanner in the works.

Mr Colao said: "We will move from No 4 position to No 2," explaining how the 38p-a-share offer would see it jump to being second only to BT in the UK. While CWW's board unanimously backed the offer, Orbis, which owns 19 per cent of the company, said it did not "reflect the value inherent in CWW".

Soaring value is a familiar tune at Apple. On Tuesday, chief executive Tim Cook revealed it had sold 35 million iPhones in the first quarter, blowing forecasts out of the water. Aided by sizzling sales of iPads and a return to form of Mac laptops, Apple delivered a 93 per cent rise in profit to $11.6bn (£7.1bn) in the quarter.

George Weston, boss of Associated British Foods, the sugar-to-retail group, forecast on Thursday an acceleration in Primark's profits over the next six months, after a 3 per cent rise in group profits in its first half.

...at a loss

Hornby, the model trains and Scalextric group, had a bumpy start to the week after issuing its second profit warning of the year, blaming the UK's "weak retail environment". But there was a return to profitability in its international business and chairman Neil Johnson struck an upbeat note on its Olympic-themed products, saying "Our London 2012 Games range of merchandise is proving to be increasingly popular."

For different reasons, Capita's chief executive Paul Pindar, had an unwelcome day in the spotlight on Tuesday, when he sold shares worth £2.7m in the services company. It is understood much of the proceeds will finance an eye-watering divorce settlement. Mr Pindar – who once reassured employees he was not a fat cat, as he only earned £14,500 a week – still owns stock worth £9m.

Another week, another subdued chief executive, this time Ana Botin of Santander UK. The bank's profits tumbled by 40 per cent in its first quarter after it suffered from higher regulatory and funding costs.

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