The Business Matrix: Friday 12 December 2014


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The Independent Online

Aston Martin bids to raise £150m

Aston Martin is working on plans to raise up to £150m for the launch of a “crossover” sports utility vehicle as well as luxury sedans and hybrids. Last week it unveiled a DB10 concept car that will star in the next Bond film Spectre. Aston sold 4,200 cars last year, far short of the 7,300 it delivered before the recession began in 2007.

Go-ahead cashes in from rail fares

Go-ahead is still cashing in on rail commuters, with revenues on its Southern, Southeastern and London Midland routes rising faster than its passenger numbers. Sales at the Southeastern franchise were up 10 per cent in the half  year, Go-Ahead said, while Southern rose by 7 per cent and London Midland by 4.5 per cent.

Milder weather hits Moss Bros

Demand for black-tie outfits helped Moss Bros but the suit-hire chain’s margins were hit by discounting and promotions amid “unseasonably warm” autumn weather. Second-half like-for-like sales rose 7 per cent, with retail sales accounting for 85 per cent of revenues. Half-year gross margin was 1.8 per cent below last year.

Shoppers spend less at Ocado

Shoppers are using the online grocer Ocado more often but their average spend has fallen from £111.64 to £109.74. Duncan Tatton-Brown, the chief finance officer, said this was because more customers ordered from its spin-off websites Fetch and Sizzle. He said Ocado had advised Morrisons to stagger its Christmas delivery slots.

John Wood lands BP contract

John Wood, the oil and gas services provider, shrugged off the falling oil price by landing a $750m (£479m) North Sea contract with BP and buying a US rival. The company said that profits would be significantly lower than the target set in 2013 because of the impact of oil prices on its customers.

Heathrow holiday snipe at Gatwick

The war between Heathrow and Gatwick airports, which are both battling for an extra runway, intensified as the former condemned its rival as only useful “for a holiday in the sun”. Heathrow boss John Holland-Kaye pointed to its link with Mexico City, compared with Gatwick’s to Cancun.

All bets on for Sports Direct

Sports Direct could launch further complicated bets on the stock exchange, say its bosses. Previous bets have been made against Debenhams and Tesco shares. Chief executive Dave Forsey said he would not rule out future deals. Interim profits rose 4.7 per cent to £143m.

SuperGroup boss promises review

Euan Sutherland, the new boss of SuperGroup, vowed to review the retailer next year as he admitted half-year pre-tax profits had fallen 31.6 per cent to £12.1m. He said he wanted to improve product availability and speed up supplies. Sales hit £208.2m, up 8.4 per cent.

Billionaire ‘made a killing from gas’

Serhiy Kurchenko, a 29-year-old billionaire said to have been a frontman for Ukraine’s ex-president Viktor Yanukovich, made $100m buying cheap Russian gas from Gazprom and selling it on at a profit, Reuters reported yesterday.

Coca-Cola role for M&S boss Bolland

The Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland will join the board of US soft drinks giant Coca-Cola from February. Last night, the Dutchman stepped down from his non-executive role on the board of directors of Manpower.