The Business Matrix: Friday 2 November 2012


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The Independent Online

TV maker warns of troubles

The Japanese TV maker Sharp warned it might not be able to survive on its own, as it almost doubled its full-year net loss forecast to £3.4bn yesterday and said it was considering alliances with other companies. Sharp's warning comes a day after Panasonic said it was expecting to lose almost $10bn (£6bn) this year.

Financial system 'back to normal'

A Government scheme designed to prop up the banks during the financial crisis has been shut down. The Credit Guarantee scheme saw the state underwrite up to £140bn of bank assets in order to help ensure that the financial system didn't collapse. The Treasury said its closure meant the financial system was returning to normal.

Profit warning at Chemring

Chemring warned over profits for the second time in three months, owing to contract delays. The defence company's shares fell 17 per cent on the news, after last week's decision to replace chief executive, Dr David Price, with former Wood Group director Mark Papworth. Chemring first alerted over profits at the end of August.

Cookson breaks off its ceramics

Cookson is to divide itself, creating two new mid-cap companies. Engineered ceramics will be renamed Vesuvius and chemicals will be demerged and called Alent. Activist shareholder Cevian Capital, which owns a fifth of Cookson, said the founding partners, Christer Gardell and Lars Forberg, will serve as directors on the new boards.

Wound care helps Smith & Nephew

Artificial knee and hip markets are sagging in Europe, but medical instruments and joints-maker Smith & Nephew managed a 10 per cent rise in trading profit to $207m (£128 m) in the third quarter. The firm faces "significant challenges" in Europe, which accounts for 30 per cent of revenues, it warned.

Investor seeks to delay Quarto vote

The battle between publisher Quarto and rebel activist investor Harwood Capital escalated ahead of a crucial vote on November 7. Harwood, which wants to oust Quarto chief executive, Laurence Orbach, wrote to the UK Listing Authority to complain the publisher was late sending a circular about the vote.

Punters eating up at Garfunkel's

Frankie & Benny's and Garfunkel's parent Restaurant Group posted a 3.5 per cent hike in like-for-like sales in the 43 weeks to October 28 after seeing further growth in September and October. The firm plans to open up to another 13 restaurants this year.

HRG builds Habitat estate

Homebase parent Home Retail Group has opened the first Habitat concession since buying the chain out of administration last year. A 1,500 square foot concession has opened in the Homebase store in Ruislip, others are planned in the coming months, including Solihull.

China buys into Heathrow

The Red Dragon is now a major shareholder in Heathrow after snapping up a 10 per cent stake in Europe's busiest airport. A subsidiary of the China Investment Corporation sovereign wealth fund bought in to the hub, valuing it at around £4.5bn.

Manufacturing data disappoints

Britain's manufacturers deflated economic optimism yesterday with a poor October following the surprise 1 per cent growth surge for the economy between July and September, Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply figures showed.