The Business Matrix: Friday 19 September 2014


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Wizard revenues rise for Merlin

Merlin Entertainments, the owner of Thorpe Park and Alton Towers, posted a 6.7 per cent rise in revenues for the past 36 weeks. The theme-park giant promised to pay a maiden interim dividend of 2p later this month, but also admitted the marketing push its Legolands got from The Lego Movie had now begun to taper off.

Lending up by £18.6bn in August

Mortgage lending grew by £18.6bn in August, up 13 per cent on a year ago and the highest total for the month since 2008, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. But the CML’s chief economist, Bob Pannell, warned there was likely to be a “gentle slowing” of lending activity due to tighter lending rules imposed this year.

Diageo investors back pay report

More than 65 per cent of shareholders in the drinks giant Diageo backed its directors’ Remuneration Report and Policy at its annual meeting yesterday. The investment advisers Pensions & Investment Research Consultants had argued its executive rewards were “excessive in comparison with their base salaries”.

Lotus grant fails put brake on cuts

Lotus said it could cut 325 jobs at its Norfolk workforce to cut costs less than a year after being given a £10m grant from the UK taxpayer. Business minister Vince Cable announced the grant last November but the manufacturer owned by Malaysia’s DRB-Hicom said cuts were “essential”.

Fed boosts Dow to new record high

The Dow Jones and S&P 500 indexes hitting fresh record highs last night in relief at the US Federal Reserve’s decision that it would keep intact its commitment to keeping interest rates low. The Fed said on Wednesday it would keep interest rates near zero for a “considerable time”.

FCUK eyes tube station shops

French Connection is eyeing new openings in railway stations after shop in a London tube station bore fruit, it announced, claiming its turnaround gathers pace. French Connection’s  first-half loss was £3.9m, an improvement on a £6.1m loss last year. But its shares still dived 9.6p to 60.38p.