The Business Matrix: Friday 6 February 2015


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The Independent Online

Murray’s sponsor shells out for apps

Under Armour, the sportswear brand that sponsors tennis player Andy Murray and Tottenham Hotspur FC, has spent $500m on two fitness-tracking apps. The US firm is paying $475m for MyFitnessPal, a free app which tracks its 80 million users’ eating habits, and $85m for Endomondo, which measures users’ exercise.

Halifax reports 2% rise in sale prices

Property prices recorded a surprise 2 per cent jump in January, according Halifax’s house price index, following the first rise in mortgage approvals for six months in December. Halifax warned that January’s numbers could be volatile but said demand would be supported by low mortgage rates and inflation.

Asda may roll out £170m upgrade

Asda could spend £170m updating superstores as part of a refurbishment plan to draw shoppers out of town centres. It chief executive, Andy Clarke, said two stores had already seen positive effects from selling more fresh food rather than games, electonics and CDs. Mr Clarke also refused to rule out buying former Tesco sites.

Best January car sales since 2007

Car dealers enjoyed their strongest January since 2007, with new car sales up 6.7 per cent compared with a year earlier. Growth was driven by an 18 per cent rise in company car sales. January was the 35th consecutive month of growth in sales as dealers took advantage of competitive financing deals and more fuel-efficient models.

Van Kuffeler plans £100m LSE listing

Non-Standard Finance, a holding company founded by John van Kuffeler, the former chairman of the doorstep lender Provident Financial, is planning to raise £100m by listing on the London Stock Exchange. The venture aims to buy “one or more” lenders, targeting  sub-prime borrowers.

Aviation claims batter Beazley

Insurers paid aviation claims equivalent to almost a decade’s worth of premiums from the sector last year, said the Lloyd’s of London underwriter Beazley. It made profits of £173m but was hit by payouts linked to turmoil in Libya and the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over Ukraine.

Cathedral City is still the big cheese

Dairy Crest, which makes the UK’s most popular Cheddar cheese, Cathedral City, said its market share was still growing and its Frijj milk also performed strongly in the first nine months of the year. But this was offset by losses at its dairies division, which it is selling to Müller.

McBride profits rise 20% to £12.5m

McBride, a maker of own-brand products for supermarkets – from shower gels to washing tablets – said some key markets continued to experience weak conditions but a restructuring programme in the UK helped half-yearly profits rise more than 20 per cent to £12.5m.

Compass fears for oil rig business

Compass warned that falling oil prices could hit its profits this year, if cuts across the energy industry affect its division which caters to workers on offshore rigs. But the catering giant said that it had seen a strong start to its financial year.

Airbus secures $11bn order

Airbus has won an $11bn order for its aircraft from Avianca Holdings, gaining a head start in its 2015 order race with US rival Boeing. The Colombian airline group has signed a memorandum of understanding for 100 A320 neo-family jets.