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The Business Matrix: Monday 23 April 2012

BAA break-up 'boosted Gatwick'

A former top executive at BAA has conceded that the Competition Commission's decision to break up the airport operator's South-east of England monopoly has already proven successful. Paul Griffiths, who was managing director at Gatwick before BAA sold the airport in 2009, said: "Is Gatwick a better airport now? The evidence is there. It has positioned itself as a genuine competitor to Heathrow." Mr Griffiths now runs Dubai International Airport.

Vodafone set to snaffle CWW today

The board of Cable & Wireless Worldwide is expected to back a takeover approach from mobile phone giant Vodafone today.

Vodafone, which has to make an offer by noon or walk away, was pondering the terms of its offer over the weekend. Reports suggested the offer will be between £900m and £1.1bn. It is believed that Vodafone might carve up CWW, with a number of telecoms companies said to be interested in the 260,000-mile underseas cables network.

Partner sought for subs programme

MoD cost-cutting tsar Bernard Gray is looking to make changes to the department's huge submarine programme, which includes the next wave of Trident nuclear warhead-carrying boats. The Independent on Sunday says that Mr Gray believes a commercial partner is needed to help control costs.

Miner BHP in $5bn shale gas loss

The Sunday Times reports that there are doubts over the future of BHP Billiton boss Marius Kloppers, as he might soon be forced into a $5bn writedown. The mining giant bought US shale gas assets for a combined $20bn last year, but they are now worth less than how much BHP values them on the books.

Pints of growth at Greene King

Investors will be hoping they can raise a glass to Greene King today after the pubs group reveals its pre-close trading update. Numis Securities' Douglas Jack believes its own-brewed volumes and earnings from its tenanted pubs, will remain strong. He expects pre-tax profits for the year of £152m, up 9 per cent.

Sugar is sweet at Primark owner

The sugar side of its operations, and not its Primark clothes chain, will be the focus of Associated British Food's interim results on Tuesday, according to Deutsche Bank. The broker's analysts are expecting profits from the sugar business to be up more than 60 per cent from the same period a year ago.

Unilever first quarter update

Consumer goods giant Unilever will reveal how its financial year has started on Thursday as it releases its first-quarter figures. JP Morgan Cazenove's analysts note they are among the more bullish in the City with their prediction that like-for-like sales will have jumped 7.7 per cent with volume and pricing both strong.

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