The Business Matrix: Monday 16 January 2012


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The Independent Online

Barratts deal sees 2,290 jobs axed

Administrators to the collapsed Barratts shoe shop chain have sealed a deal that will mean 2,290 staff have lost their jobs. Michael Ziff, a former chief executive, is buying 89 shops, safeguarding 1,184 staff. But 39 stores will close. In December, the administrator, Deloitte, axed 1,610 employees after no bidders came forward for its concessions business. Yesterday's deal will see a further 680 redundancies.

Deal puts office on the road – literally

The serviced offices group Regus has struck a deal with the oil giant Shell that could see its business lounges open on petrol station forecourts across Europe. Aimed at business people on the road, the first outlet has opened at a Shell station near Paris. It aims to complement mobile devices such as tablets and offers fast internet access, document copying and courier deliveries.

BP may help Petroplus

BP is considering possible measures to support the cash-strapped European refiner Petroplus, on whom the oil giant relies to supply its UK petrol stations. While a full takeover is unlikely, BP is mulling some kind of a loan or cash injection to the business. Petroplus has had to shut down three refineries and to halve output at two others after lenders cut its credit lines.

Cairn looks to Falklands

The FTSE 100- listed Cairn Energy is thought to be in talks to start exploring for oil in the Falkland Islands. The company is negotiating a deal to team up with Rockhopper Exploration, the only company to have made a commercial discovery in the region. Rockhopper needs at least £1.3bn to develop the reservoir of oil it has discovered, and needs partners with deep pockets and expertise to help it.

Housebuilders stay buoyant

The recent rush of results from the housebuilders comes to an end this week with full-year trading updates from Bovis Homes today and Taylor Wimpey tomorrow. Despite prospective buyers still struggling to find mortgages , largely the sector has fared well.

Greene King to cheer investors

Greene King's performance has impressed recently, and investors should once again be merry after the brewer and pub operator's trading update tomorrow. Its managed division saw like-for-like revenues in the first 30 weeks rise 4 per cent.

Comet sales continue to fall

The rush of post-Christmas releases from the retail sector is starting to slow down, but there are still a few high street names left to update. Kesa Electricals has its third-quarter figures out on Thursday with forecasts that Comet's like-for-like sales will have fallen 13 per cent.