The Business Matrix: Monday 11 February 2013


Woollens come back into the fold

Wool production in the UK is making a comeback, and to celebrate the resurgence of the industry the 2013 International Woolmark Prize will take place in London this week. A renaissance of woollen products in the fashion world and a desire to wear locally produced fabrics have led to the growth. The industry now has annual sales of more than £270m, up from £180m in 2007.

Shell moves the goalposts on oil

Shell shocked the oil market by unilaterally declaring that it has reset the rules for one of the benchmarks that measures the price of North Sea oil. From today, Shell has altered terms on how forward cargoes from the Brent, Forties, Oseberg and Ekofisk fields are traded. It said the change would make the market more liquid and less open to wild swings in prices.

Yellow Pages ad price cap to end

Hibu, the struggling owner of Yellow Pages, will this week be released from a long-outdated price cap on the rates it can charge for advertising in its telephone directories. The Competition Commission is set to endorse findings by the Office of Fair Trading that directories' classified ad prices can no longer only rise in line with inflation.

Independent on Sunday

Radley in red after a handbagging

Luxury handbag maker Radley has plunged into the red after "a tough trading year" that saw retailers slash prices in a bid to attract shoppers. The London-based brand saw reorganisation costs push it from profits of £3.1m to losses of £737,000 in the 12 months to April 2012. Turnover fell from £45m to £41.2m.

Mail on Sunday

Stelios in new attack on easyJet

Sir Stelios Haji-Iaonnou is set to reignite his fight with the board of easyJet, the low-cost airline which he founded and where he is the largest shareholder. He will vote against the re-election of chairman Sir Mike Rake, and will oppose the company's remuneration report.

Sunday Telegraph

Hospital giant in race to pay debts

Britain's biggest private hospital chain is racing to secure financing as it faces an autumn deadline to repay billions of pounds of loans. General Healthcare Group, which trades as BMI Hospitals, is in talks with its lenders over £2bn of debts that fall due in October. The group runs 72 hospitals.

Sunday Times

Monitise seen as upwardly mobile

Goldman Sachs reckons mobile payments specialist Monitise is "a key player in the evolving mobile money value chain", and first-half results today will show that even more customers have signed up, although there will be a £15m loss. Goldman rates the stock a buy with a 60p-a-share price target.

Pawnbroker to match forecasts

Albemarle & Bond, which has 235 pawnbrokers up and down the country, said last year gold-buying profits had slumped. But analysts expect its half-year results tomorrow to show that it is still in line with expectations. Andrew Wade at Numis rates the shares a sell and forecasts profit of £9.5m , down from £11.5m.

Costs worries are raised on Tullow

Investec's Brian Gallagher is concerned about Tullow Oil's exploration programme ahead of its results on Wednesday. Mr Gallagher is worried that its focus on the costly production part of its business is holding back the quality of its exploration portfolio. He rates the stock a sell, with a target of 1000p.

Rolls 'set to post stready growth'

Analysts forecast that aerospace giant Rolls-Royce will report steady growth in earnings and dividends on Thursday. Jefferies' Sandy Morris retains his buy rating and keeps his price target at 950p – even though that is currently below the current share price of 976p.