The Business Matrix: Wednesday 3 December 2014


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Murphy steps down at Christie’s

Christie’s chief executive Steven Murphy is to step down less than a month after rival auction house Sotheby’s announced its boss William Ruprecht would also be leaving. Mr Murphy will be succeeded by Christie’s chairwoman, Patricia Barbizet, who also heads Artemis, the investment vehicle of the Pinault family who control Christie’s. 

Engineering fails to build on success

The UK’s recent revival in construction work tailed off in November, according to the latest survey by the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (Cips). Cips reported “a marked slowdown in civil engineering”, with growth at its weakest since July 2013. Its overall activity index fell to 59.4 from 61.4 in October.

Staff bonus after finnCap profits

Staff at the City broker finnCap are set for a payout after a glut of fundraisings and stock market floats among smaller companies. Employee-owned finnCap, which specialises in small-cap companies, revealed profits rose to £1.3m in the first half, compared to £1m a year ago, as revenues rose to £8.5m from £6.9m.

Flybe wants to use RAF Northolt

South Ruislip’s RAF Northolt should be opened for domestic flights until a new runway is built at Heathrow or Gatwick, Flybe has told MPs. In written testimony for the Transport Committee, the regional airline said “there is a need for early wins” before either Gatwick or Heathrow expands, which won’t be until the 2020s.

Madison’s £100m stake in City site

The New York investor Madison has paid about £100m for a 50 per cent stake in the Houndsditch Estate, the  1.75-acre island site in the  City of London that includes five office properties covering 326,000 sq ft. Madison becomes joint owner with TIAA Henderson Real Estate.

More of Just Eat goes on the menu

Three major shareholders  in the takeaway firm  Just Eat are selling another  8 per cent stake to institutional investors. Shares in the company, which listed in London at 260p, closed up at 343p yesterday ahead of news of the sale by SM Trust, Vitruvian and some Index Venture funds.

New stores keep McColl’s on course

The convenience store chain and newsagents McColl’s said its underlying quarterly sales were down 1 per cent  as a result of a slight weakening in trading conditions. Overall sales grew five per cent , driven by new stores, keeping  it on course to deliver strong full-year results.

Mitie in 8-year deal with Lloyds

Mitie has extended its facilities management contract with Lloyds Banking Group for the next eight years. The revised deal will cover the bank’s entire UK branch and office estate as well as data and energy management and business process outsourcing.

Howdens’ annual sales top £1bn

Kitchen retailer Howdens said annual sales at its UK depots have topped £1bn for the first time, with three weeks of the year still to go. Since opening its first depots in 1995, it has grown sales every year, except for 2009 in the credit crunch.

Voucher scheme orders increase

Park said it is gearing up for a busy Christmas. The business, which offers Christmas vouchers, hampers and other gift products in a 45-week instalment plan, said Christmas orders are 8.5 per cent ahead of 2013.