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The Business Matrix: Monday 2 September 2013


Bond pays better return by bottle

Investors in a new bond are being tempted with the offer of a more generous return in drink instead of cash. Naked Wines, which funds independent winemakers from around the world, said it would pay an annual interest rate of 7 per cent in cash or 10 per cent in wine credits. The three-year bond aims to raise £3m to support winemakers as they develop new fine wines.

Cheap loans to fill empty homes

A new scheme hopes to help solve the country’s housing shortage by handing cheap loans to owners of Britain’s 710,000 empty properties. The cash – up to £15,000 per property – will be offered through a new Government-backed £3m National Empty Homes Loan Fund, set up following last year’s Great British Property Scandal campaign by the architect George Clarke.

What the Sunday papers said

Rail insider in fight for top job

The Network Rail veteran Simon Kirby faces an uphill struggle to replace Sir David Higgins in the top job at the state-backed track and station operator, as an external candidate is said to have emerged as a favourite. Chairman Richard Parry-Jones is believed to have identified a strong, unnamed candidate from the car industry. Independent on Sunday

Twitter eyes $15bn flotation

Twitter has begun laying the ground for a stock market float next year in which the tech phenomenon could be valued at up to $15bn (£9.6bn). Bosses at the micro-blogging site are expected to select several investment banks in the coming weeks to handle the listing and have already met Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. Sunday Times

Co-op chief faces MPs’ grilling

The former Co-operative Bank chief Neville Richardson is expected to face calls from MPs to hand back part of a £4.6m pay package earned in his final year at the crisis-struck bank. His appearance before the Treasury Select Committee on Wednesday will be his first public outing since he left the bank in 2011. Mail on Sunday

Airlines on alert for Syria action

Global airlines are drawing up emergency plans to re-route aircraft and absorb higher fuel costs in the event of a military attack on Syria. Major carriers including Emirates, the world’s biggest airline by passenger traffic, its rival Gulf carrier Etihad and British Airways are on alert as the US threatens action. Sunday Telegraph

Week ahead

Berkeley eyes housing boom

Today: The housebuilder Berkeley Group will update the market, and analysts at Peel Hunt think it will report “further robust trading”. In 2011 it unveiled plans to return about £1.7bn in cash to investors over a 10-year period thanks to its strong portfolio, and investors will be keen to know more detail.

Genus’s projects weigh on profits

Tomorrow: Thanks to investments in projects, profit at the Basingstoke-based bull and pig semen supplier Genus might be up only 3 per cent, Peel Hunt predicts. Soaring animal feed prices may also have hurt the group, which will report its full-year results, but commodity prices “have improved”.

Hargreaves stays on growth path

Wednesday: Investment “supermarket” Hargreaves Lansdown is gearing up for a new phase of its business in line with the new Retail Distribution Review. Hargreaves’ shares have risen more than 60 per cent in the past 12 months but analysts at Morgan Stanley think it has further to go, ahead of its full-year results.

Dixons faces test after heatwave

Thursday: Selling electrical products on the high street sounds like an impossible task in the face of internet competition, but Dixons somehow still manages to not make it look hopeless. Oriel Securities think its first-quarter update may reveal it has been hit by the hot July weather as shoppers stayed away.