Business briefs: Ailing Marks & Spencer unveils new look

Marks & Spencer revealed its new image last week, with a bolder logo and web site plug on shopping bags. It is the first overhaul of branding by the troubled retailer, which has been hit by falling market share and profits in the past year. The new look was launched as textile group Coats Viyella cut 400 jobs in Northern Ireland due to Marks & Spencer placing more orders overseas. The Times

Sale speculation as top soup man resigns

• The resignation of Dale Morrison, president and chief executive of Campbell Soup, is encouraging speculation that Campbell’s controlling shareholders may seek a buyer or a partner for the US food group. But analysts are divided about whether the Dorrance family, which owns roughly half Campbell’s shares, would now sell. Morrison’s resignation, announced last Wednesday, did not come as a complete surprise, as Campbell has been hit by declining “wet soup” consumption and a lacklustre share price performance.

Multinational Budget tax moan is disregarded

• The Budget caused a protest from multinationals over Gordon Brown’s plan to clamp down on the routing of dividend and interest income into “mixer” subsidiaries in low-tax countries like Luxembourg. PricewaterhouseCoopers said the planned increase in tax for British-based multinationals was several times more than the £300m estimated by the Inland Revenue and could deter companies from basing themselves in the UK. The Government said PwC had misunderstood the change. The Times

BG enjoys share price rise on demerger news

• Utility BG Group announced it will demerge its international gas exploration and production company, BG International, from UK gas pipeline operator Transco. Its share price rose as investors anticipated mergers from either or both of the new companies. Both plan to move into telecoms, and could use gas pipelines to carry fibre optic cables for high value data transmission, said BG chairman Richard Giordano. FT

Halifax adds stake in St James to on-line plans

• The Halifax has bought a controlling stake in St James Place Capital, the holding company for upmarket life assure J Rothschild Assurance. It will sell a private banking service developed by St James through Halifax’s planned on-line bank Intelligent Finance, due to be launched in the summer. FT

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