News

The City had its eye on the break-up of consumer goods giants yesterday as Unilever and Reckitt Benckiser were in the spotlight.

The food chain: How big business bought up the ethical market

You can play a game with the trendy food products on supermarket shelves. It's called "spot the owner". What you're looking for – when you scan the tin, tub or pack in your hand – is the actual owner of the company. Not the brand, you understand, but the business that ultimately collects the money you hand over at the till.

Mark Steel: Our MPs are out of touch and over-compensated

I doubt whether many people had Margaret Beckett down as one of the more imaginative politicians, but we were wrong. Because lots of MPs stuck in expense claims for unnecessary taxis or new kitchen units, but Margaret put some art into her claim and demanded £1,900 for plants and a pergola, which apparently is a frame for the plants to thrive on. And this was for her second home of course. Because obviously everyone has a pergola and a grand's worth of plants in their first home.

No Pain, No Gain: Myhome looks sure to ride the Stagecoach route

Has the stock market got its wires crossed over Myhome International? Judging by the way its shares have behaved the franchise group is deep in the doldrums. They have slumped spectacularly from 106p to a mere 15p in less than a year. Yet signals from the group's Esher (Surrey) headquarters indicate the shares could be among the most oversold in the smallcap community.

Alliance & Leicester chairman dies suddenly

The chairman of Alliance & Leicester, Sir Derek Higgs, has died suddenly, the company announced today.

Feeling stressed? Pull yourself together

There's no such thing as 'stress', argues Angela Patmore – in fact, a bit of pressure can be good for us. So why have we become obsessed with curing it?

Sir David Orr: Unilever chairman who helped recreate Shakespeare's Globe

David Orr was one of the most outstanding business managers ever produced by Ireland. After winning an MC and Bar in Burma in 1945, he rose through the ranks to serve as a distinguished chairman of Unilever. For 10 years after his retirement in 1982 he proved to be an equally effective non-executive director of a number of other groups, while also serving as chairman of the British Council for seven years – and he was a driving force in turning Sam Wanamaker's dream of creating a "new" Globe theatre into reality.

New Tate Turbine Hall artist announced

French artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster to fill Tate Modern's famous hall

Unilever's big spring clean

Management changes set stage for succession battle at Anglo-Dutch giant. By Danny Fortson

The Investment Column: The sell-off in Speedy Hire has been overdone

Low & Bonar; Phytopharm

10 tips for ethical living

Want to start living more conscientiously? You're not alone – research carried out by the organisers of the One Life Live event at Olympia found nearly 73 per cent of us believe that a more sustainable lifestyle is essential to the future of the planet. Here are 10 easy ways to start making a difference

No Pain, No Gain: I'm moving back into Myhome. Let me explain...

I have re-recruited Myhome International, the franchise group that was once the star of the No Pain, No Gain portfolio. The shares have returned to the fold in spite of the fact that year's figures and the accompanying statement were disappointing.

Market Report: Xstrata extracts fresh interest from Vale bid talk

Mining sector investors, hitherto transfixed by China's attempt to interpose itself between Rio Tinto and rival BHP Billiton, renewed their interest in Xstrata yesterday.

Unilever swallows Russia's leading ice-cream maker

Unilever yesterday moved to cement its position as the world's biggest ice-cream producer, buying Inmarko, the Russian market leader, for an undisclosed sum.

Kenya's economy in crisis

Political violence has caused £1bn in damage – but the country's tarnished image may be the worst casualty. By Karen Attwood
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