The Business Matrix: Monday 17 December 2012


Supermarket eyes Gok push online

TV presenter and fashion guru Gok Wan's clothing ranges for Sainsbury's could soon be availble online as the supermarket bids to boost growth. Both rivals Tesco and Asda sell clothing on the web and Sainsbury's has now hinted that it may follow suit with its popular Tu brand. Director Roger Burnley said the move was "something on our minds".

KPMG profit blow amid weak growth

Misplaced optimism over the nation's faltering economic recovery has dented the fortunes of "Big Four" accountant KPMG, which revealed falling UK profits today. The accountant blamed hanging on to staff too long for the 13 per cent fall in profits to £349m. Senior partner Simon Collins said recovery "failed to materialise."

Problems for MoD supply reform

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond's plans to reform the £14bn agency supplying the armed forces is under threat as advisers struggle to prove that effectively privatising the division is value for money. Sources cite the failure of G4S to provide enough security at the Olympics and problems over rail privatisation as reason for caution.

Independent on Sunday

Oil-trading giant plots £3bn float

Swiss oil trader Trafigura is set to float part of its empire on the London Stock Exchange with the £3bn listing of its Puma Energy subsidiary. Puma is 65 per cent owned by Trafigura, which sold a 20 per cent stake last year to Sonangol, Angola's state oil company. It is focused on refining, transporting and selling petrol in the developing world.

Sunday Times

4G auction threat to public finances

The Chancellor could face a big hole in the public finances after regulator Ofcom set a reserve price of £1.2bn on the sale of 4G mobile spectrum. According to estimates from the Office for Budget Responsibility, the auction should fetch £3.5bn, but the watchdog has not talked to the Treasury or Ofcom about it .

Mail on Sunday

Banks face new 'nuclear' threat

Banks face being broken up if they do not improve. The Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards will consider the "nuclear option" of splitting retail and investment banks if ring-fencing proves inadequate. It publishes its report on the Bank Reform Bill this week.

Sunday Telegraph

Petrofac to keep bullish stance

Oil-services group Petrofac was the subject of vague bid rumours earlier this month but tomorrow the focus will be on its pre-close trading update. Liberum Capital's Andrew Whittock expects management to maintain its positive stance on prospects for new contracts and doubling earnings by 2015.

Bunzl braced for sales slowdown

Bunzl, the "one-stop-shop" distribution and outsourcing group, has managed to stay ahead of the general slowdown. But when the group reveals its trading update on Wednesday Numis' Mike Murphy expects its growth rate to have slowed to the 2 per cent seen in the third quarter.

Serco poised for contract wins

Serco has had a good 2012. It has won no less than £1bn of contracts across 23 clients, and analysts at Canaccord Genuity think, over the medium-term, management will increase the exposure to the Americas. Its trading update on Thursday should reveal a good stream of activity.

Berendsen rides out weak markets

Berendsen, the textiles-cleaning services group, will update on its cost-cutting initiatives on Friday. Oriel Securities' analysts think the group is gaining good sales momentum. Its business supplying uniforms and linen to the healthcare, hotels and industrial sector has weathered the economic storm.