The Business Matrix: Friday 28 November 2014


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The Independent Online

Jaeger trims its losses to £9.9m

Jaeger, the fashion retailer owned by Jon Moulton’s Better Capital, has taken a step closer to recovery after cutting its annual losses to £9.9m from £12.6m a year ago. Sales for the year to 1 March rose by 12 per cent to £79.4m as the group launched a five-year turnaround plan under its chief executive, Colin Henry.

Banks withdraw £2bn from FLS

Loans to small businesses from banks taking part in the Funding for Lending scheme dropped by £128m in the three months to September, the Bank of England said yesterday. Lloyds and Santander were  the biggest SME lenders, advancing £411m in total. Overall business lending from the FLS fell by £2.4bn.

Upper Crust owner posts loss

SSP, which owns the railway station food chains Caffè Ritazza and Upper Crust, said full-year operating profits had risen by 12 per cent to £88.5m. But the cost of its listing on the London Stock Exchange in July pushed it to a £13.5m loss before tax. Its shares, which were floated at 210p, rose 10p to 255p.

L&G wins £2.5bn bulk annuity deal

Legal & General has secured a £2.5bn bulk annuity contract with the TRW Automotive pension scheme, which insures more than 22,000 people. It follows a £3bn contract with the ICI pension fund earlier this year and reinforces its position in de-risking for large schemes.

Real ale demand lifts Marston’s

The pubs operator and brewer Marston’s said its underlying pretax profit fell by 3.6 per cent to £83m in the year to October after it sold off pubs and was hit by a shorter trading period. But real ales such as Hobgoblin lifted sales by 1 per cent to £787.6m.

New standards for pension providers

Pension providers will soon have to check whether their customers have already taken advice about their options. The Financial Conduct Authority has published new industry standards on delivering free and impartial guidance.

PayPoint cashes in with £22m profit

The bill payments firm PayPoint’s half-year profits rose 5.5 per cent to £22.5m after a record 373.4 million transactions in the first half, up 6.1 per cent on a year ago. Mobile and online transactions were up 11 per cent to 70.3 million, with strong growth in parking payments.

Monitise signs up Santander

The Spanish lender Santander has bought a 5 per cent stake in the mobile banking business Monitise for £33m. The move is part of a £49m fund-raising by the London-listed Monitise that values it at £647m. Its shares rose by 11 per cent to 34p as Telefónica and MasterCard also joined its list of backers.

Eurozone unity at risk, warns Draghi

Failure to make economic reforms and shield weaker members could damage the “essential cohesion” of the eurozone, the head of the European Central Bank said yesterday. In unusually frank language, Mario Draghi used a speech in Helsinki to urge countries to consider ways to support struggling members.

Thames borrows £1bn for sewer

The European Investment Bank is giving Thames Water one of its biggest-ever loans, lending £1bn towards its £4bn “super sewer”, which is intended to stop sewage ending up in the river. Bidders including Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund and the Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing are vying to help build the 15-and-a-half-mile tunnel.