The Business Matrix: Wednesday 17 December 2014


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Underwater  link approved

A £1.1bn underwater  electricity link beneath the  Moray Firth was approved by the regulator yesterday. The SSE subsidiary Scottish Hydro Electricity Transmission plans to run a 1.2GW subsea link to connect the electricity grid either side of the estuary (left) near Inverness, which is known for dolphin watching.

Better news for Eurozone firms

Eurozone businesses are ending 2014 in slightly better shape, but growth remains weak and companies are still cutting prices, a key study shows. Markit’s Composite Flash Purchasing Managers’ Index, which surveys thousands of companies and is seen as a good growth indicator, rose to 51.7 from a 16-month low of 51.1.

Wonga has to cut lending charges

Britain’s biggest payday lender, Wonga, has cut its charges ahead of new rules that come into effect in January. It is introducing a minimum £50 loan and scrapping its £5.50 “transaction fee” to comply with new rules set out by the Financial Conduct Authority. Its quoted APR falls from 5,853 per cent to 1,509 per cent.

Hector Sants returns to City

Sir Hector Sants, the former regulator, has made a return to City life as a partner at management consultant Oliver Wyman. Mr Sants will work as chief adviser to Abu Dhabi Global Market, a financial services hub in the Middle East, until June, before joining Oliver Wyman, a subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan. to be sold for £76m, a company that came to symbolise the dotcom bubble, is to be bought by Swiss online travel company Bravofly Rumbo for £76m, its US owner Sabre said. In 2000 the group was worth £768m after a flotation which coincided with the high-water mark of the internet bubble.

Get-rich-quick  ad is banned

An ad for a get-rich-quick scheme that promised “100 per cent certain” success at winning £50,000 a year has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority. The ad, from Streetwise Publications, was banned for suggesting that “gambling could be a solution to financial concerns”.

AA members fall to 3.9 million

The AA said the number of its individual members fell 2.5 per cent to 3.9 million in the year to October, though business customers lifted 3.5 per cent to 8.9 million over the same period. The breakdown recovery company said quarterly profits jumped 43 per cent to £35m.

St Ives printing sees good growth

Marketing and printing firm  St Ives said revenues were 9 per cent stronger than a year earlier in the period from 2 August, due to a mixture of acquisitions and organic growth. The firm, which supplies Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer and HSBC, said it had a strong balance sheet.

Domino Printing profits soar

Inkjet printing firm Domino Printing said underlying annual profits rose 8.7 per cent to £57.6m as it benefited from strong European markets and good growth in Asia and the Americas. But uncertain markets made it cautious about 2015.

Investors starting to spend, says firm

Fletcher King said yesterday that property investors were beginning to spend their money across the country and not just in London. The company saw its pre-tax profit almost double to £293,000 in the six months ending 31 October.