The Business Matrix: Friday 1 February 2013


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LVMH to step up expansion plans

Paris-based LVMH, which sells Christian Dior perfumes and Louis Vuitton handbags, has reported fourth-quarter results in line with expectations and chairman and chief executive of Bernard Arnault plans to step up brand expansion. He said: "LVMH intends to further strengthen its global leadership in high-quality products."

AstraZeneca's woes continues

AstraZeneca admitted it faces another difficult year of falling sales in 2013 after patent expiries last year meant revenues slumped 17 per cent to £27.9bn. Chief executive Pascal Soriot warned sales will face a "mid-to-high, single-digit percentage decline" this year. Pre-tax profits for 2012 came in 38 per cent lower than 2011 at £7.7bn.

Funding costs hit Santander

Santander UK, offshoot of Spain's biggest bank, saw flat profits last year as low interest rates and higher funding costs bit into revenues. The bank, made up of former building societies, had at one stage hoped to float on the London Stock Exchange but that plan is on hold while its parent company battles against Spain's struggling economy.

Enterprise dives after snow blow

Pubs giant Enterprise Inns yesterday admitted the January snow had cost it £1.5m. Enterprise, which has 6,000 pubs said the blizzards, heavier in the Midlands and the North where the bulk of its pubs are, kept drinkers away. It capped a difficult period for the firm as like-for-like profits sank 4.4 per cent, or £5m, in the first 17 weeks of the year.

3i builds defence against raider

The private equity firm 3i yesterday showed how it might fend off the corporate raider Ed Bramson if he decides to take a punt at the company, as is widely expected. The company said it expects to beat cost-cutting targets this year and would focus on asset disposals over the coming months.

London rents boost Portland

Roaring West End rents are filling the coffers of London landlord Great Portland Estates as retailers clamour for scarce space. The property firm, which counts Top Shop and Next among its Oxford Street tenants, saw retail rents grow 1.9 per cent in the three months to December.

Shock loss at Deutsche Bank

Deutsche Bank posted an surprise €2.15bn (£1.84bn) loss as it slashed the value of some of its riskier assets and absorbed high legal fees. The bank, co-run by Anshu Jain, said its core performance was strong but litigation had cost it €1bn. Mr Jain said restructuring "will take years".

Spindler new boss at N Brown

City analysts and campaigners for women in boardrooms approved of online retailer N Brown's appointment of Angela Spindler, the former director of Debenhams, as its new chief executive. Spindler will replace Alan White who is retiring in the summer.

Inbev's $20bn deal challenged

The US has stepped into Anheuser-Busch Inbev's $20bn (£12.6bn) deal to buy up the Mexican brewery business Grupo Modelo, with federal lawyers filing a suit claiming the move would hit competition in the American beer market.

OFT crackdown shuts debt firms

Three debt-management firms have been shut in the latest crackdown on the sector by the Office of Fair Trading. Since the watchdog's inquiry into rogue debt managers in 2010, more than 100 have exited the market or been refused licences.