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The Business Matrix: Monday 25 July 2011

BP

Fifteen months after the Gulf of Mexico disaster, the tragedy will dominate BP’s interim results presentation on Tuesday. So far, BP has made provisions of $41bn (£25bn) to cover compensation and clean-up costs, though analysts have suggested claims against partners could see the final figure come in below that. Meanwhile, its second-quarter profits are expected to be near $5.9bn.

ITV

The broadcaster has already warned that advertising slumped during June and analysts expect ITV’s half-year revenues, due on Wednesday, to have fallen by up to a fifth, mainly due to comparison with the World Cup last year. But the success of costume drama Downton Abbey has prompted a raft of new dramas, and over the next year the Olympics and Euro 2012 should also boost advertising.

Centrica

British Gas’s owner, Centrica, can expect plenty of negative headlines on Thursday when it releases interim results – two weeks after it announced steep rises for gas and electricity prices. The tariff rise sparked more accusations of profiteering from consumer groups, with critics also arguing that while wholesale prices have risen recently, they are still a third below their 2008 peak.

BSkyB

BSkyB’s full-year figures on Friday are tipped to illustrate why Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp was so keen to take full control of the satellite broadcaster. Analysts expect profits to rise by a quarter to about £950m. Its shares, which slumped as News Corp ruled out a bid, have rallied since as analysts have suggested it may announce a cash payout to investors worth 80p-150p a share.

UK dividends at three-year high

Payouts by UK companies to shareholders have reached their highest level for three years, according to the latest Dividend Monitor from Capita Registrars. Dividends climbed to £19.1bn in the second quarter, up 27 per cent over the year. It was the largest cash payout by UK-listed firms since the second quarter of 2008.

Prices slip back but demand rises

Figures published today reveal that house prices have continued to edge back in July, although the number of agreed sales rose sharply for the second consecutive month. According to the latest National Housing Survey from Hometrack, average house prices dropped by 0.1 per cent for the third straight month.

Vedanta’s bonus awards attacked

Shareholders in Vedanta Resources should vote against the India-focused miner’s remuneration report, a leading advisory body has said ahead of the group’s annual meeting this week. Pension fund advisory group Pirc argued that Vedanta’s policies could not be reconciled with the bonuses of executive directors.

ZNMD is latest box office hit for Eros

In the latest box office success for the Bollywood film company Eros International, its coming-of-age drama Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (ZNMD) has taken $18.7m (£11.5m) in its first week. The movie grossed over $3.8m from outside India, making it the country’s best-performing film internationally of 2011 so far.

HobbyCraft sees jump in sales

The arts and crafts retailer HobbyCraft has reported that sales jumped nearly 13 per cent in its first full financial year since being sold to Bridgepoint. For the 12 months to 20 February, turnover rose 12.8 per cent to £95.2m while its earnings before tax, depreciation and amortisation came in at £14.4m, an 18 per cent increase.

Chinese urged to invest in Greece

Greece’s debt crisis offers a good opportunity for Chinese companies to invest in the country as it privatises assets, the Chinese ambassador was quoted as saying yesterday. Luo Linquan told China’s official Xinhua news agency that Chinese companies should look for ways to benefit from the debt crisis.

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