The Business Matrix: Wednesday 26 November 2014


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The Independent Online

Hollywood boosts Pinewood profits

The upcoming return of Luke Skywalker, Iron Man and the Mad Hatter helped lift revenues at film studio owner Pinewood Shepperton. The Buckinghamshire studio announced that revenues for the six months to end of September rose to £38.5m,  up £2.3m from the same  period a year earlier.

US growth beats expectations

The US Commerce  Department yesterday raised its estimate of gross domestic product to a 3.9 per cent  annual pace from the 3.5 per cent rate reported last month, reflecting upward revisions to business and consumer spending. Growth had increased at a 4.6 per cent rate in the second quarter.

Falcone departs Harbinger Group

Philip Falcone is stepping down as chairman and chief executive officer of publicly traded Harbinger Group to focus on his hedge fund and investments including a holding company. Falcone will receive $40.3m, including a $20.5m one-time payment and bonuses for this and next year, New York-based Harbinger Group said.

New Santander chief executive

Spanish banking giant Santander today named its finance director José Antonio Alvarez as the new chief executive. The company, which has a large operation in the UK, said he will succeed Javier Marín on 1 January and work alongside chairman Ana Botín, who took over from her late father Emilio in September.

HSBC fined over Swiss arm

HSBC is to pay $12.5m (£8m) to resolve claims its Swiss private banking unit had broken US law by taking on American clients without registering to do so. The bank agreed to admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement, regulators at the Securities and Exchange Commission said last night.

De La Rue in profit slide

Banknote printer De La Rue said its underlying profits slumped 31 per cent to £26.2m in the six months to September due to overcapacity in the currency market. The Basingstoke-based firm said its markets will be impacted in the second half of this year and into the next financial year.

Housing helps Topps Tiles

Topps Tiles has reported a  57.5 per cent rise in annual  pre-tax profits to £16.7m for  the year to September as it was boosted by the improvement in the UK housing market.  The Leicestershire-based  group says like-for-like sales were up 8.1 per cent.

Zoopla profits up as traffic soars

Underlying profits at Zoopla rose 35 per cent to £39.6m in the year to September with traffic for its sites, which include PrimeLocation, reaching 513 million views. But bottom-line pre-tax profits grew by just 1.4 per cent to £28.7m after charges including the cost of its float.

JD Sports ditches failing Bank

JD Sports has given up on fashion chain Bank after it agreed a deal to offload the business to a turnaround firm. JD, which has owned the 88-strong retail chain since 2007, wants to prioritise investment on its sports retail operation.

EDF complains over prices

Incoming EDF boss Jean-Bernard Levy has complained about low energy prices in France, saying government controls are forcing the utility to fund its dividends partly through debt. Levy is the former head of Thales.