The Business Matrix: Monday 19 November 2012


Joules seeks funds to expand

Joules, the fashion retailer favoured by Middle England, has revived talks with advisers to sell a minority stake in the business to help fund expansion. Tom Joule, the founder and biggest shareholder, and management are thought to have held discussions with Rothschild about another auction, following a stalled process nearly two years ago.

Global crackdown on evasion

Requests for information about UK-based foreign nationals by foreign states investigating tax evasion are rising sharply as governments try to pull in more tax, says Pinsent Masons, the law firm. The number of requests for information about taxpayers received by the UK Government from overseas tax authorities has surged by 18 per cent in the last year.

Property giant to reveal assets dip

Tomorrow sees the first, and biggest, of a handful of property companies updating the market. British Land is forecast to report a 1 per cent decline in the value of its property assets in its half-year update. Big Yellow will also reveal half-year results and later in the week, Grainger and Helical Bar update.

Direction of Compass queried

Analysts are concerned about the catering group Compass, which reports on Wednesday. Jefferies scribes said: "We have no quarrel with Compass's outsourcing business model; quite the reverse. But shorter-term prospects, especially in Europe, could overshadow decent progress elsewhere."

Regional papers to slow DMGT

Regional media is likely to bring down an otherwise good set of results for Daily Mail and General Trust on Thursday. Talks are ongoing for it to sell the regional papers to a new company created by Trinity Mirror and the family-owned regional newspaper group Yattendon.

Fuller's profits to be dampened

Panmure Gordon scribes expect the brewer Fuller Smith & Turner's profit before tax to be £16.5m at its interim results on Friday. Their forecast remains unchanged on the prior year, "reflecting the impact of the wettest summer for 100 years". Analysts expect profitability to improve in the second half.

Big Four audit firms criticised

Critics of the Big Four accountants believe that the Competition Commission has found evidence that the audit market is "a closed shop". The commission's website reveals that every FTSE 100 company that switched auditor between 2001 and 2011 did so just between KPMG, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte and Ernst & Young.

Independent on Sunday

Call to merge NI and income tax

Business leaders have backed a call to merge national insurance with income tax to help reduce costs, drive up wages and create jobs. The support for a "radical" overhaul of the tax system, revealed in a survey of 1,125 businesses by the Institute of Directors, comes as the Treasury is considering how to simplify workers' taxes.

Sunday Times

Barclay twins get hotels support

Blackstone has waded into the battle for control of three of London's top hotels – the Berkeley, Claridge's and the Connaught. The US firm is backing the twins Sir Frederick and Sir David Barclay, who are trying to wrest the Maybourne Hotel Group from the Irish property developer Paddy McKillen.

Mail on Sunday

Centrica to turn back on nuclear

Centrica, owner of British Gas, is expected to turn its back on building new nuclear power stations in Britain, ending its partnership with EDF Energy to build a new plant in Somerset. Only a change in government policy towards subsidies for the plants would persuade Centrica to return to the market.

Sunday Telegraph