The Business Matrix: Friday 10 October 2014


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Overseas hopes for Uniqlo owner

Fast Retailing, the owner of Uniqlo, expects overseas sales to help its profits grow by more than a third in the coming year, after sluggish sales in Japan and one-off losses at its denim label this year. The Japanese retailer posted a 29 per cent fall in annual profits to ¥74.5bn (£427m) despite a 21 per cent sales rise to ¥1.38trn. reuters

Dame Bowe wants better behaviour

Dame Colette Bowe will become the first chair of the Banking Standards Review Council tasked with improving the behaviour of banks and bankers. Dame Colette, former chairman of telecoms regulator Ofcom and investment trust Electra, takes up the post next month when intermin chairman Sir Richard Lambert steps down.

Listing’s $308m for Old Mutual

Old Mutual has raised $308m (£190m) by listing its US asset-management arm on the New York Stock Exchange at $14 a share. The FTSE 100 insurance giant had originally looked to sell OM Asset Management at between $15 and $17 a share. The stock still slipped slightly as it debuted in New York, falling to $13.98 in early trade.

No change on interest rates

The Bank of England has kept interest rates at a record low for the 67th month in a row. The widely expected decision to hold rates at 0.5 per cent came as the Bank also chose not to extend its level of quantitative easing from £375bn. Two of the nine-strong Monetary Policy Committee have voted for a rates rise in recent months.

Treasury picks renminbi banks

HSBC, Standard Chartered and Bank of China have been chosen by the Treasury to deliver the Government’s first-ever renminbi bond. The UK will become the first country in the world except China to issue bonds in the Chinese currency. Investor roadshows will start next week.

Expectations met by Wood’s trading

Oil-services firm Wood said it was trading in line with expectations, driven by its production-services division. Wood said a lower contribution from its upstream business continues to be partially offset by good performances in subsea and pipelines as well as downstream activities.

Barr changes hands for £20.8m

Breedon Aggregates has agreed to buy Barr Quarries from construction firm Barr Holdings in a deal worth £20.8m. Barr operates 11 quarries, five asphalt and six ready-mixed concrete plants, employs  130 people and has its head office in Cumnock, Ayrshire.

Airline deal for Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce has signed a deal with carrier Norwegian Airlines to supply Trent 1000 engines for nine Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft for $440m (£272m). The engineering giant said that the deal brings the number of Norwegian Boeing 787 Dreamliners it powers to 17.

Abellio orders Hitachi trains

The Dutch rail operator Abellio has ordered 70 energy-efficient electric trains from Hitachi Europe after winning the £6bn ScotRail franchise. This is the first order of Hitachi’s AT200 commuter trains, which will be produced in Durham.

White-collar wages on the rise

The recruitment firm Hays has said that skill shortages are pushing up some white-collar salaries by as much as 10 per cent, contrasting with generally slack wage growth and signalling salary pressures in some parts of the economy.