Business week in review

In profit...

Having spent years delighting customers with his London Eye, Madame Tussauds, and Alton Towers attractions, Nick Varney finally gets to live his own dream: the listing of Merlin Entertainments. On Monday, the chief executive outlined plans that would value the attractions empire at around £3bn.

Given the recent rush of small investor interest in Royal Mail, Merlin is offering the opportunity to own a slice of the business for a minimum £1,000.

Monday was quite a day for flotation fans, as Guy Hands unveiled the biggest share sale of a pure renewables company in the UK. Infinis started life as a landfill energy business, but the group now focuses on windfarms.

Santander's British boss, Ana Botin said on Thursday she was "encouraged by early signs of UK economic recovery". The bank announced 900,000 people had signed up to its 123 account since the start of the year.

...at a loss

Former Co-op Group chief executive Peter Marks was subjected to a no-holds-barred grilling from Treasury Select Committee MPs on Tuesday. Appearing repeatedly flustered, he refused to take the blame for the near-collapse of Co-op Bank, even though he sat on the board of the lender. He blamed successive bosses of the banking division, saying that he was merely a non-executive director of that subsidiary.

Mr Marks even claimed he had warned the group board that it was overstretching management by trying to be everything from a "major food retailer" to a "major funeral business".

On Wednesday, banknote manufacturer De La Rue saw its shares hammered by a profit warning. Chief executive Tim Cobbold said he expected the producer of more than 150 currencies to be £10m short of a £100m operating profit target.

Unilever boss Paul Polman announced a near 7 per cent slump in global turnover on Thursday.

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