The Business Matrix: Friday 17 October 2014


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The Independent Online

Profitable pre-tax cycle for BSkyB

Quarterly revenues at BSkyB rose  6 per cent to £1.92bn thanks to a surge in subscriptions to the mobile and on-demand service Sky Go Extra and a “very strong quarter” from Sky Sports.  Pre-tax profits nearly trebled as the broadcaster banked a £429m gain from selling its  ITV stake in July.

Costs and Ebola lead to collapse

West African iron-ore miner London Mining has fallen into administration. The company, which owns the Marampa mine in Sierra Leone, has been battling high costs, a sharp drop in iron prices and the impact of the Ebola virus on operations in West Africa. It failed to find a buyer for its mine and ran out of cash.

Goldman Sachs trades rise by 74%

Goldman Sachs reported a 50 per cent jump in quarterly profit as last month’s pick-up in bond market activity helped to boost trading revenue, showing that banks sticking with the notoriously volatile business can reap big rewards. Goldman’s revenue from bond-trading soared 74 per cent to $2.17bn in the third quarter.

WH Smith books show sales slump

WH Smith revealed that  full-year sales fell 2.2 per cent to £1.16bn, with its high-street stores suffering a 5 per cent drop and its travel stores flat. Profits in the two divisions  were up, respectively, 4 per cent to £58m and 11 per cent to £73m and the shares leapt 5.5 per cent to 54.5p thanks to the profit gain.

Consoles give Game Digital a lift

Computer game retailer  Game Digital said it had been boosted by demand for the latest consoles – the Xbox One and Playstation 4 – as sales jumped 31 per cent to £861.8m in the six months to the end of July. Pre-tax profits rebounded to hit £7.3m, from a £15.4m loss a year earlier.

Netflix fails to hit subscriber targets

Netflix’s subscribers are not growing as fast as analysts expected. Just over 3 million new customers signed up in the third quarter, compared to the 3.7 million it had expected in July. Analysts were also concerned that its growth in its crucial home market, the US, fell by 24 per cent.

Booker continues to cash and carry

Cash-and-carry firm Booker said underlying profits rose by 16 per cent to £67.4m in the six months to September. Trading in the first four weeks of the current half year is ahead ago earlier, although the company expects the food market to remain very competitive.

Balfour secures £329m contract

Balfour Beatty has signed a £329m contract to expand the Texas Medical campus in Houston. The project includes the building of a 17-storey hospital and a commitment to ensure all services function throughout the four-year construction timeframe.

Directors get living wage in one day

The average director of a top company is now paid 85 times as much as the average member of their staff, according to TUC research. The unions group said an average FTSE 100 director earns in one day what someone on the living wage gets in a year.

453 jobs to go at HMRC offices

A number of tax offices are to close with the loss of hundreds of jobs. HM Revenue and Customs said 14 offices will close by the end of 2015, affecting 453 staff. The automation of many processes means HMRC needs fewer staff.