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The Business Matrix: Friday 11 July 2014

Supergroup big  in Germany

Julian Dunkerton, the chief executive of Supergroup, predicted that the fashion retailer could soon be bigger in Germany than in the UK, as he unveiled a 19.6 per cent jump in annual sales to £431m yestrday. The chain has just bought franchises in Spain and Germany in a move that saw its pre-tax profits fall by 13 per cent to £45.2m.

Problems over rebuilding capital

Huge fines for banks over issues such as the rigging of Libor and breaking of US sanctions is making it harder for regulators to work out how much capital they need to be safe. Andrew Bailey, a deputy Governor at the Bank of England, said: “This is a considerable dent to rebuilding bank capital.”

Libyan fund names acting head

Libya’s sovereign wealth fund has named Abdulrahman Benyezza, its former oil minister, as its acting head. His predecessor at the Libyan Investment Authority, Abdulmagid Breish, stepped down because of a new law banning anyone who had a function in the Gaddafi regime from public office.

Google start-up boost for London

Google is basing a new $100m (£58m) investment fund for European start-ups in London. Google Ventures Europe will invest in technology and life sciences businesses. Eze Vidra, head of Google Campus, will join as a partner, as will investor Peter Read, entrepreneur Tom Hulme and Avid Larizadeh, of code.org.

Burberry shrugs off strong pound

Burberry has shrugged off a strong pound to deliver a 12 per cent rise in first-quarter sales. The luxury group, which today faces a rebellion over its chief executive’s £27m pay deal at its annual meeting, said sales rose despite a rising pound, which it warned could cut profits this year by more than £65m.

Nadella quashes Xbox sell-off talk

Microsoft’s chief executive Satya Nadella quashed rumours that its Xbox gaming division will be sold by announcing plans to develop it. The business has been the subject of speculation of a sell-off for years but Mr Nadella said “Microsoft will continue to vigorously innovate and delight gamers with Xbox.”

Home loan offers show 9% rise

The number of home loans offered to first-time buyers rose 9 per cent in May, despite new controls on underwriting. By value, first-time loans were worth 11 per cent more than they were in April, the Council of Mortgage Lenders said. By value and volume, loans rose 8 per cent.

Barratt expects top-end profits

Barratt Developments’ full-year profits are likely to be at the top end of forecasts after housing completions hit a six-year high. The builder said yesterday that demand for new homes meant pre-tax profits could be as high as £390m in September, compared with £192m in 2013.

Willford fined over lack of warning

Bradford & Bingley’s former finance director has been fined £13,000 for failing to warn the board about worsening bad debt levels as the bank prepared for a cash call in 2008. Chris Willford has already been fined £30,000 by the City’s regulator.

Unilever slims itself down

Food and soap giant Unilever has sold Slim-Fast to Kainos Capital, a US private equity firm, but would not give a price. The sale is part of Unilever’s ongoing effort to reshape its US portfolio and focus on higher-margin “personal care” division.

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