Business new in brief: Trap oil | Unilver | M&C

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UPDATES from the world of business from Trap Oil, M&c hotels group, Unilever, Shell oil and more.

• Trap Oil – Value investor Peter Gyllenhammar lifted his stake in the North Sea–focused oil and gas explorer to 12.9 per cent, the day after buying a 10.1 per cent slice in the firm.

• M&C – The hotels group announced a special dividend of 9.15p a share as the sale of 147 apartments in Singapore helped annual pre–tax profits jump 54 per cent to £263.6m.

• Unilever – US beef jerky maker Jack Link’s has agreed to buy the consumer goods giant’s Peperami brand and a German manufacturing plant for an undisclosed sum.

• Shell – The oil major is to sell its Australian downstream operations, including 870 petrol stations and its Geelong refinery, to energy trader Vitol Group for about £1.6bn.

• Lending – The Treasury select committee is to carry out an inquiry into lending to small and medium sized (SMEs) enterprises. The inquiry will focus on access to finance, scope for opening up the sector to more competition and the treatment of SMEs by banks.

• Borrowing – Public sector net borrowing fell by £6.4bn in January from a revised £9.02bn rise in December. Forecasters had been expecting a fall of £9.3bn.