The Business Matrix: Friday 20 March 2015


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The Independent Online

Jimmy Choo walks tall in Asia

Jimmy Choo has hailed a strong Asia market for a 6.5 per cent revenue rise in its first annual results since listing in London. The luxury shoemaker saw turnover rise to £299.7m in 2014, from £281.5m a year ago. Asia provided the lion’s share of sales,  boosted by its shoes featuring in a popular South Korean TV series.

Negative bond rate in Ireland

Investors began paying to lend short-term money to Ireland yesterday after the country imposed negative interest rates on new six-month bonds. Buying Irish government debt remains cheaper than putting money on deposit at the ECB, which now levies a small cost  as well as charging negative interest rates.

Home loans at two-year low

Mortgage lending slipped to its lowest level in nearly two years in February, with an estimated £13.4bn worth of loans handed out. The latest monthly lending total is down 9 per cent on both the previous month and February 2014, but the  Council of Mortgage Lenders expects to see a pick-up in the coming months.

Price of gold goes electronic today

Six institutions will start setting gold prices electronically today, as the Intercontinental Exchange completes sweeping change of  London’s bullion benchmarks and dispenses with the near century old gold “fix”. The first “fix” on 12 September 1919 set the price of gold at £4.18.9 an ounce (pounds, shillings and pence).

Aldi rethinking online appeal

The German discounter Aldi, which has long said online sales are not profitable enough, is planning to trial e-commerce in the UK and possibly other European countries, according to the German trade journal Lebensmittel Zeitung. It has offered online delivery of drinks in Australia since 2013.

Aviva has ‘golden ticket’ setback

Aviva suffered a setback in the French courts yesterday in an ongoing dispute over the value of a “golden ticket” insurance contract that some believe could be worth €1bn (£718m) in a few years’ time. The company had appealed against a €9.4m payment due to a French customer Max-Hervé George.

Ryanair’s US plans fail to take off

The budget airline Ryanair has backtracked on plans to operate transatlantic flights. Just days after indicating it was looking at launching them in the future, it said yesterday: “The board has not considered or approved any transatlantic project and does not intend to do so”.

Small banks not on level terms

Smaller banks still do not have a level playing field, according to Secure Trust’s head Paul Lynam. He said the lender, whose profits rose 32 per cent to £33m last year, is looking to the new Payments Regulator to impact on how much small banks have to pay to access systems.

Gherkin sales helps lift profits

The upmarket property firm Savills has posted a 21 per cent rise in annual profits to £84.7m as its European arm returned to the black for the first time since 2007. The company sold the Gherkin skyscraper in London last year.

Homebase raids Tesco for chief

Homebase has appointed a new managing director, poaching Tesco’s former property director Echo Lu. She will replace Paul Loft, who stood down last year shortly after its parent company revealed a quarter of stores were to close.