The Business Matrix: Thursday 13 November 2014


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The Independent Online

Comparison site sees sales boom

Moneysupermarket saw an 18 per cent rise in revenues to £66.8m in the third quarter as motorists looked to switch insurers. The comparison website warned that its fourth quarter would not match last year’s “exceptional” demand, when angry consumers rushed to switch energy provider because of soaring prices.

Troubled LA Fitness for sale

The gym chain LA Fitness has been put up for sale as its owners seek investment to improve its chain of clubs. The firm is controlled by a consortium of four banks, including Royal Bank of Scotland, following a debt-for-equity swap earlier this year. It is expected to attract interest from rivals such as Fitness First.

Shares in Flybe nosedive by 16%

The turnaround at short-haul airline Flybe faltered yesterday as it reported a first-half loss and the company’s shares nosedived by almost 16 per cent. The company reported a first-half loss of £15.4m, compared with a pre-tax profit of £13.8m in the same period last year. This led to its shares closing 20.25p lower at 1115.5p.

Landlord gets set for expansion

Workspace, the small business landlord whose tenants include the personalised greetings card manufacturer Moonpig, has raised £95m to snap up more properties in the capital and fund refurbishments. The company has already spent £63m on properties this year but wants to step up its expansion plans.

Tullow prepares for falling prices

The oil and gas explorer Tullow is reviewing some of its African offshore drilling projects as it plans to reduce exploration costs to deal with the consequences of tumbling oil prices. The company said it planned to cut exploration spending by $1.4bn (£886m) over the next two years.

Capita secures £1.63bn new deals

The outsourcing specialist Capita said it was on course to meet City forecasts this year, having won contracts worth £1.63bn with clients including Transport for London, John Lewis and BAE Systems. However, its bid pipeline is down £4.1bn from £5.7bn in July.  Its shares fell almost 6 per cent.

WH Smith looks forward to Xmas

WH Smith saw its like-for-like sales fall by 1 per cent in the 10 weeks to 8 November as its airports and railway division offset a weaker performance on the high street. But it said: “The peak trading periods for both businesses are ahead of us. We remain focused on growth.”

Recruits needed for festive rush

Thousands of Christmas jobs are still available, with employers struggling to recruit staff as the festive rush starts,  a report will suggest today. The Adzuna jobs website said there were more roles on offer this year among big companies and smaller organisations.

Safety concerns at Humber refinery

Hundreds of workers at an oil refinery have voted to continue an unofficial strike in a dispute over safety. Employees at the Humber Refinery in North Lincolnshire decided not to return to work following a gas leak which injured two men.

Rolls-Royce wins £50m contract

Rolls-Royce has signed a $50m contract to supply Jiangsu A-Star with M250 turboprop engines for the Extra EA 500 aircraft the Chinese company is due to start manufacturing. Rolls-Royce said it would start delivering engines next year.