Business briefs: LV | Pets at Home | BMW | IoD

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Mutual insurance and savings group LV has posted a record profits haul after shrugging off a £25 million hit from last year’s adverse weather.

The group said it overcame a “challenging year” to report a 19 per cent hike in underlying operating profits to £126.2m, while eligible with-profits members will share a record £20.9m mutual bonus, up 12 per cent on the previous year.

Chief executive Mike Rogers said: “We are confident that our successful business model and strong competitive position in our chosen markets leaves us well placed for continued growth in 2013.”

• A vet business founded 12 years ago with a single practice has been sold to retailer Pets at Home in a deal believed to be worth some £40 million, netting a windfall for its founder.

Private equity-owned Pets at Home bought 93-practice Vets4Pets for an undisclosed sum, after it was founded by former Specsavers and Vision Express executive Peter Watson in 2001.

Vets4Pets, whose branches employ about 900 staff, will be merged with the retailer’s own vet business, Companion Care, to create a 209-surgery business.

• German car maker BMW Group sold more vehicles in March than in any other month in its history due to strong demand in the US and China, the company reported yesterday.

The firm sold a total of 191,269 BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce vehicles last month, exceeding the previous all-time high in March last year.

The Munich-based manufacturer also achieved a new high in sales for the first three months as retail volumes for the year to the end of March increased by 5.3 per cent to 448,200 units.

• Chris Walton, the chairman of Lothian Buses and a former EasyJet finance director, is one of five new members recruited to join the board of the Institute of Directors (IoD).

The 110-year-old business group has also appointed marketing company director Damon Clark, finance firm head Erica Ingham, philanthropist Ken Olisa and scientist Suzy Walton. The appointments are all for three-year terms.

Simon Walker, IoD director general, welcomed “some of Britain’s most talented and experienced leaders” to the board.