Business week in review
Sunday 19 May 2013
In profit …
Stefano Pessina , the executive chairman of Alliance Boots, hit back over criticism of its UK tax payments, as the retail and wholesale pharmaceutical giant posted an uplift in annual profits.
The Italian said it was "much more than a cash cow – we're like a [cash] whale", adding the Switzerland-based company paid £300m in taxes, including £64m in corporation tax, last year.
Investor money flooded into Severn Trent after the water firm, whose chief executive is Tony Wray, said it had received a £5bn-plus takeover approach. Canada's Borealis, Kuwait Investment Authority and the UK's Universities Superannuation Scheme have teamed up to make the bid.
Shares in easyJet, which is led by Carolyn McCall, also took off the following day after the budget airline significantly reduced its half-year loss to just £61m.
... at a loss
Gerald Corbett, the Betfair chairman, came under pressure from investors gambling on a lucrative payday after the betting exchange walked away from a £988m takeover bid. Shares in Betfair tumbled on Tuesday, as Mr Corbett said the 950p a share bid from the private equity firm CVC and its partners Richard Koch and Antony Ball undervalued Betfair.
The chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland, Sir Philip Hampton, joined him in having an uncomfortable time as he was unable to guarantee at its annual meeting that the bank did not have more "skeletons in the cupboard", such as Libor-fixing. Michael Spencer, the chief executive of the broking giant Icap, was also unsure about the "fragile and unpredictable" trading outlook following a 20 per cent fall in annual profits.
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
Earthworms rain down from skies over Norway, puzzling scientists
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a white stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Russian warships in English Channel 'to conduct anti-aircraft and anti-submarine military drills'
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