The Business Matrix: Monday 19 December 2011


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The Independent Online


Counterfeiters hit Christmas sales

Counterfeit products are more easily available and cheaper compared with four years ago, according to KPMG. Counterfeiters undercut genuine product prices by 80 per cent or more in half of cities, highlighting the scale of the lost revenue. Discounts for fakes were highest in Istanbul, closely followed by Tel Aviv, Dubai and Hong Kong. 

RBS may sell its stockbroker arm

State-backed Royal Bank of Scotland is reported to be considering the sale of its stockbroking arm Hoare Govett as part of an overhaul of its investment bank. It bought the stockbroker in its disastrous £48bn joint-bid for Dutch bank ABN Amro in 2007. Canadian bank RBC is believed to be one of the most likely bidders.

Probe into sale of Northern Rock

Last month's sale of the state-owned bank Northern Rock to Virgin Money will be investigated by the public spending watchdog, it has been confirmed. Amyas Morse, the head of the National Audit Office, said in a letter to Shadow financial secretary Chris Leslie that he will examine the £747m sale toVirgin Money.

GO confirms interest in Blacks

GO outdoors – which already has 36 out-of-town sites – last night confirmed it is in contact with KPMG in regard to indicative offers for parts of Blacks, the collapsed camping and outdoors business. GO opened three new stores on Saturday in Birmingham, Lakeside and Plymouth, adding 150 jobs to its existing workforce of 1,800.

Shareholders flee the stock market

Private shareholders have turned against equities for the first time since early 2010, according to Capita Registrars. Between September and November they sold £695m of investments. It followed five consecutive quarters of buying, during which investors added £3.5bn to shareholdings.

Virgin Media to offer interactive

Virgin Media is promising TV subscribers that they will be able to use new apps from BBC Sport and News to watch interactive programming for the first time next year. Under the the deal with the BBC, subscribers of Virgin's TiVo interactive service will use "red-button" technology on the remote control.

Aggreko set to meet forecasts

Aggreko kicks off the week with a pre-close trading update after the temporary power supplier cheered the City by increasing its full-year profit expectations to at least £320m back in October. Peel Hunt is readying itself for another “positive” release, believing the group will say it will meet forecasts.

Carnival sails through storms

The world’s largest cruise company sails into view tomorrow as Carnival releases its fourth quarter results. The tourist industry has suffered storms such as the woes of Thomas Cook, yet despite issuing caution for the sector Share Centre analysts are confident the group will meet expectations.

HMV last retailer to report this year

HMV is today the last of the major high street names expected to comment on trading before Christmas. Numis Securities’ Andrew Wade expects the weak performance it announced in September to have continued over the rest of the first half, with fears it might report a pre-tax loss for the full year.

National Express revenues to rise

National Express will unveil its pre-close trading statement tomorrow, and – according to UBS – its rail operations will continue to be the best source of growth. The broker believes passenger revenues will have risen as much as 6 per cent, while an update on the Petermann Partners purchase is expected.