Joerg Reinhardt, who took over as Novartis chairman in August, said the two companies "absolutely" wanted to stay independent. He added, however, that he had met Roche's outgoing chairman, Franz Humer, a few weeks ago and was also exchanging emails with his successor Christoph Franz. "Two pharma groups working in the same location have many topics in common," he said. Both Roche and Novartis are based in Basel in north-western Switzerland.
Electronics retailer Maplin could be valued at as much as £500m (€606) in a potential sale.
Private equity house Montagu, which owns the business, has appointed PWC to lead a sale after approaches from potential buyers. A spokesman for Montagu declined to comment on a sale. It follows news that the owner of PC World and Currys is in talks with Carphone Warehouse about a possible merger.
SUNDAY BUSINESS POST
AIB has paid more than €100m to consultants since 2010. The state-owned bank paid the London arm of PWC €100m for a series of consultancy contracts since it was appointed to advise the bank in late 2010 – before it was fully nationalised.
The accountants from a specialist banking team based in London played a key role in running the bank until the appointment of David Duffy as chief executive in late 2011. PWC employees took up senior roles in the bank in the period after the departure of members of its former leadership team, including ex-chief executive Colm O'Doherty and ex-chairman Dan O'Connor.
Qantas Airways engineers will consider options other than strikes in response to wage freezes the airline announced last week, their union said.
"Strike action was never on our radar after the announcement," Steve Purvinas, federal secretary of the Australian Licensed Aircraft Engineers Association, said in an interview on Sky News yesterday. "One thing we could possibly look at would be a trade-off of our wage rises for shareholdings in the company." Australia's biggest airline reported an A$252m (€162m) loss before taxes in the six months to the end of December 2013 and said it would cut 5,000 jobs, defer new jets, and freeze all pay until it returns to profit.