Business week in review

In profit...

Having managed to convince Britain's pubs and their thirsty customers that the perfectly ordinary lager that is Peroni is a premium drink, Graham Mackay is probably good value for his £5.9m pay package.

It was announced on Tuesday that the SABMiller chief executive was awarded that dough – a 5 per cent rise on the previous year – and rather superbly includes a "beer allowance" in his £110,000 of perks. The hike means that Mackay is now in the top 20 best remunerated bosses in the FTSE 100, although the company justified this by pointing increased earnings per share and a 12 per cent increase in the dividend pay-out.

Another boss who is surely in line for a pay rise in Jayne-Anne Gadhia, who heads up Virgin Money. She was paid £858,000 last year, quite a bit below most UK banking bosses, yet it emerged on Wednesday that Virgin Money has added 400,000 new customers since snapping up the "good" chunk of Northern Rock on 1 January this year.

Philipp Humm was confirmed as the new northern and central Europe head of Vodafone on Thursday, a day after quitting the top job at T-Mobile USA.

...at a loss

Out-of-town retail park fanciers shed a tear on Tuesday as floor covering market leader Carpetright (try saying that after a few bottles of SAB Miller's undistinguished brew) ditched its final dividend.

Profit slumped by 76 per cent to just £4m in the year to 28 April, showing how much of a squeeze there still is on consumer spending for more expensive household goods.

Chief executive Darren Shapland admitted the dividend could not be restored until "the underlying profitability of the business is in better shape". However, there was some good news in that leases on 88 of its UK stores come up for renewal in the next five years, so there is the opportunity to slash rents or move out of costly shops.

Not all mass-market alcoholic beverages are doing well. On Wednesday, C&C announced that sales of its Magners and Gaymers brands have fallen by 25 per cent since March, due to the lack of sunshine that encourages cider drinking. Chief executive Stephen Glancey vowed there would still be earnings growth for the full year.

Also on Wednesday, Standard Chartered's finance director Richard Meddings warned that first-half profit growth would dip below 10 per cent.

Comments