The Business Matrix: Monday 20 January 2014


Metro raises more cash for growth’

Metro Bank has raised £387.5m extra capital to help it grow. This fourth capital raise brings the total equity capital raised by the bank to £641m. Vernon W Hill, founder and chairman of the bank, said: “The revolution in British banking continues, with strong investor support from existing and new investors, who believe in the Metro Bank growth model.”

Recalls soar after food scares

The number of UK recalls of dangerous or faulty goods has risen after the horse-meat scandal and other food recalls, says the City law firm RPC. It said 272 product recalls were made in 2013, up from 260 in 2012. RPC said: “Many retailers conducted reviews of food safety standards after the [horsemeat] scandal, with some carrying out precautionary recalls.”

What the Sunday papers said

‘Disadvantaged’ could build HS2

The physically disabled, the unemployable and former prisoners should build the £42.6bn High Speed 2 railway, according to a lobbying group. Jim Steer, chief executive of the High Speed Rail Industry Leaders Group, said that France had used nearly 1,000 disadvantaged people to build the Rhine-Rhône line.

Independent on Sunday

Barclays move to affect small firms

Businesses are set to be hit with unexpected charges when Barclays moves them to its recently launched small-business current account. Some 250,000 small firms which do not pay for their current-account banking may need to pay in future. The first group of firms to be switched will be informed in writing next week.

Mail on Sunday

Tesco eyes new  Mothercare bid

Tesco could be eyeing up a surprise bid for struggling Mothercare. The supermarket chain first looked at a takeover last summer, but put the plan on hold. With Mothercare’s share price collapsing after poor Christmas trading Tesco could be about to rekindle its interest. Both declined to comment.

Sunday Times

House prices in South ‘absurd’

Nigel Wilson, chief executive of Legal & General, said the Government’s Help to Buy scheme risked stoking a price bubble which would put homes out of the reach of all but the most affluent. Mr Wilson argued that house prices in London and the South-east had reached “absurd” levels.

Sunday Telegraph

Week ahead

Soap sales restore Unilever’s shine

The weather isn’t right for ice-cream, but Ben & Jerry’s and Wall’s owner Unilever is likely to have managed to sell enough soap, soup and other household wares to keep its full-year results tomorrow from looking too icy. After a third-quarter slowdown analysts say the fourth quarter may have improved.

PZ Cussons to show rebound

The consumer goods group PZ Cussons will reveal its half-year results tomorrow. Canaccord Genuity predicts that its business in Nigeria is rebounding off an “exceptionally weak period”, and the macro environment is improving. The UK market has stabilised and “consumption patterns have improved”.

Carphone to give mixed signals

The mobile phones retailer Carphone Warehouse is expected to produce negative comparable sales growth in its third-quarter tomorrow. But Numis’s analysts forecast that management’s full-year guidance on CPW Europe earnings to come in between £140m and £160m should “remain intact”.

Royal Mail keeps on delivering

Investors will take delivery of Royal Mail’s trading update on Friday. The group’s share price has jumped by some  83 per cent since it listed last October. Analysts at Espirito Santo were happy with its news of planned price increases for corporate mail and think it will continue to perform well.