GARDNER TO TAKE CONNAUGHT ROLE
Connaught will today announce Sir Roy Gardner as its new non-executive chairman in a move the social housing maintainance group hopes will stabilise the business after a turbulent six months. The group, which mends leaky pipes in council houses and sweeps roads, was hit by the sudden resignation of Mark Davies as chief executive at the end of January.
INFOSYS TARGETS EUROPE
Infosys, the Indian IT group, is now targeting faster growth in Europe than in the rest of the world – in a rare example of a developing world country treating the continent like an emerging market. Infosys’ head of Europe said the company had a target of increasing the continent’s share of group revenues from 25 to 40 per cent.
BARCAP PLANS UPP ASSET SALE
University Partnerships Programme (UPP), the UK’s largest private university campus developer, is to be split and partially sold by Barclays Capital in a process expected to raise about £800m, which will help fund future developments. UPP owns and manages student accommodation comprising more than 20,000 beds across 11 universities in the UK – and it has a pipeline of potential deals to double this portfolio, given increased demand from universities for private sector cash.
FACEBOOK HIRES EX-BUSH REGULATOR
Facebook has hired a former senior Bush administration regulator in Washington. Tim Muris, the former Republican chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, was enlisted at a time when the FTC is taking a close look at the social networking internet company that have been filed by privacy advocates, according to people familiar with the matter.
HEATING SUBSIDY MEANS BIG BILLS
A proposed subsidy for green central heating will lead to a sharp rise in energy bills, threaten the manufacturing recovery and drive companies abroad, consumer watchdogs and business groups say. The renewable heat incentive, due to be introduced next April, will benefit anyone who installs renewable heating devices such as biomass boilers, solar-thermal water heaters or ground-source heat pumps.
VIRGIN HEALTH CLUBS TONE UP
Virgin Active is planning to put on some serious extra muscle and turn itself into the strongest player in the health and fitness world. The company, in which Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has a 76 per cent stake, will today report underlying earnings of more than £100m for the first time.
The Daily Telegraph
ANGER AT CANBERRA SUPER-TAX
Foreign investors may be able to launch legal action against the Australian government over its plans to introduce a super-tax on the mining industry, leading trade lawyers have said. Alex Baykitch, a partner in the Sydney office of Holman Fenwick Willan, believes that the proposals could breach treaties signed with numerous countries to prevent expropriation of assets.
WILLIAM HILL RIDES TO PROFIT BOOST
A storming performance at the Cheltenham Festival has helped William Hill report an increase in profits for the first quarter despite poor weather earlier in the year that led to the cancellation of several racing and sports events. William Hill’s operating profits rose three per cent in the first three months of the year compared to the same period in 2009.
WALL STREET JOURNAL
US VACCINES GET NOD
A Food and Drug Administration panel said fragments of pig viruses found in vaccines used to protect infants against rotavirus didn’t appear to cause health risks. While no vote was taken on the products, several members of the agency’s vaccine panel said the vaccines should remain on the US market while additional studies are conducted about the impact of pig viruses.
ZYNGA'S RISE PUSHES INCUMBENTS
The rise of social-gaming companies like Zynga Game Network is sending repercussions through the videogame industry, pushing established players to retool and fight back with similar games of their own. Zynga produces simple online games that are typically played through Facebook as a way to socialize with friends.