The Business Matrix: Friday 23 March 2012


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The Independent Online

Henderson hots up for Lochard coup

Henderson has stepped up its campaign to oust two directors of the North Sea oil explorer Lochard Energy, accusing them of presiding over a "prolonged period of destruction of shareholder value". The fund manager claims it has the backing of two major investors, taking support for its coup to 40 per cent against the directors' 6.8 per cent.

Credit firms face OFT crackdown

New guidance from the Office of Fair Trading could herald the end of unwanted emails and texts offering debt management advice or credit-rating help. The OFT warned that any company that sent unsolicited messages or provided bonuses that could encourage staff to promote unsuitable products could lose its consumer credit licences.

Profits up 16% at Portmeirion

Portmeirion had another "excellent year" in 2012 as demand for its ceramics from the US, South Korea and the UK continued to boom. Profits rose 16 per cent to £6m on sales up 5 per cent at £54m. The company predicted sales of its Royal Worcester and Spode designs for the Diamond Jubilee would outstrip those for the Royal Wedding.

£65m payday for Wolfe on TCI sale

The media and internet entrepreneur Richard Wolfe scooped up the best part of a £65m payday yesterday after his Travel Channel International was bought out by the US media company Scripps International, which broadcasts the US equivalent. TCI broadcasts across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region.

Sofa retailer sees 31% profit fall

DFS suffered a 31 per cent fall in half-yearly profits to £28m but vowed to press ahead with its store opening programme, leaving it on track to create 500 jobs this year. The sofa retailer said sales fell 10 per cent as consumers cut back on major purchases, although there was an improvement in recent months.

Candy brother buys ex-Land HQ

CPC Group, owned by Christian Candy, has snapped up part of British Land's former HQ close to Regent's Park in London for £35m. CPC has bought Siddons House from Oakmayne Properties. It is thought there has already been an approach to rent the luxury house for £400,000 during the Olympics.

TNT to go the final mile in London

TNT Post is to trial deliveries to homes and businesses in London next month. TNT Post UK, owned by Dutch firm PostNL, already collects and sorts post before handing it over to Royal Mail for the "final-mile" deliveries. It has already trialled deliveries in Liverpool.

Revenues grow at United Utilities

North West Water's owner United Utilities said its reservoirs are still more than 90 per cent full, even though many parts of the South of England are suffering drought conditions. The company also said it is on track to deliver a good performance in the year to 31 March.

Metro Bank to take on 260 staff

Metro Bank, whose launch in 2010 marked the arrival of Britain's first new high-street retail bank in more than 100 years, has plans to hire around 260 more staff this year and is looking for additional capital to fund its development.

BAE workers fight Brough cutbacks

Workers at a BAE Systems's factory in Brough, Yorkshire, have vowed to fight a decision to end manufacturing with the loss of hundreds of jobs. Several hundred jobs are set to go at the site, home of the Hawk jet, under cutbacks announced last year.