The Business Matrix: Monday 15 July 2013


Heathrow rules out fourth runway

Heathrow is set to rule out needing a fourth runway until 2040 as part of its bid to get the green light for a third runway. In a major report to be launched on Wednesday, Heathrow chief executive Colin Matthews will claim Britain is in danger of losing out because its main international airport serves fewer destinations than its European rivals.

Broad-based boost for housing

The UK housing market is enjoying a “broader-based recovery” with two consecutive record months according to property website Rightmove. For the first time in three years all parts of the UK saw asking price rises in the past month. At the same time the proportion of people expecting average prices to be higher a year from now doubled compared with July last year.

What the Sunday papers said

Cameron adviser joins US giant

Bechtel has hired David Cameron’s top gun defence adviser as the San Francisco based engineer beefs up efforts to win huge Ministry of Defence contracts. Richard Freer has helped mastermind the Coalition’s overhaul of the UK’s defence strategy as one of the Prime Minister’s small team of private secretaries.

The Independent on Sunday

Royal Mail must acquire rivals

A privatised Royal Mail should use its freedom from state  control to take over foreign postal companies, the minister in charge of the sell-off has said. The Business minister, Michael Fallon, said that private  ownership should mean that Royal Mail becomes a predator and not prey for overseas  rivals.

The Mail on Sunday

Cable to make bad bosses pay

Negligent directors could be held personally liable for failed companies’ debts under a shake-up of corporate law to be unveiled by Vince Cable this week. The Business Secretary will also set out plans for a register to reveal companies’ real owners and powers for more watchdogs to ban directors.

The Sunday Times

Co-op ‘misled’ pensioners

The Co-operative Bank reassured pensioners that their investments were safe a month before announcing plans to slash their savings as part of a bailout. A manager at the Co-op Bank told a worried pensioner that there was “no need to be concerned” about a £50,000 investment.

The Sunday Telegraph

Week ahead

Sweet news for Thorntons

As the rest of the high street stumbles from one catastrophe to the next, a surprise survivor is Thorntons, which reports today. Earlier this month the chocolate-shop operator said its full-year profit for this year will be sweeter than investors were expecting, due to good fourth quarter sales.

Dairy Crest cuts down on the fat

Following Thorntons on  Tuesday is the Cathedral City cheddar-maker Dairy Crest.  The milk, butter and cheesemaker is on a diet. It is cost-cutting ferociously to pay off debt. Charles Pick at Numis thinks that the group will reiterate how it is “on track for £20m of cost savings”.

Land Securities may target Oxford

Analysts wonder what property company Land Securities will do next on the retail front. It opened its Leeds Trinity scheme in March and now Chris Spearing at Numis wonders if Oxford will be next. The company reports on Wednesday and investors will also be looking at an update on its London office pipeline.

Vodafone set to make its call

On Friday it is time to plug in to telecoms giant Vodafone as it issues a trading update. After months of bid speculation about the group and its US partner, Verizon, the one deal that has materialised is its £6.5b purchase of Kabel Deutschland. The deal was agreed last month despite a rival bid from Liberty Global.