The Business Matrix: Monday 25 March 2013


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The Independent Online

Manufacturers keep pay on hold

More than one in ten manufacturing firms are still hitting staff with a pay freeze amid lingering nerves over the UK's weak recovery, the EEF manufacturers' organisation says. A survey of 207 companies employing more than 34,000 people showed average settlements of 2.3 per cent in the three months to February. But 22 firms – 11 per cent – kept salaries where they were.

Vodafone mulls £90bn US sell-off

Vodafone is reportedly considering selling its 45 per cent in America's biggest mobile phone operator, a deal that could be worth nearly £90bn. It is said to have held talks with US partner Verizon on its future over the Pond and is considering exiting the States altogether. This would be one of the biggest corporate deals in history, but Voda could still decide against a sale. 

Superport fears on lack of tenants

Concerns are mounting over the commercial strength of what will be Europe's biggest logistics park, a major selling point of the £1.5bn London Gateway superport. The park has yet to secure anchor tenants. Marks & Spencer and freight group Uniserve have been negotiating for warehouses but have not signed contracts.

Independent on Sunday

£1m-plus for more than 20 at Lloyds

Taxpayer-backed Lloyds this week risks stoking the row over bankers' pay when more than 20 of its staff will be confirmed as having received £1m or more in 2012. This will bring the number of bankers paid seven figures last year to almost 770. Lloyds is also expected to reveal details of a new bonus scheme for its chief executive.

Sunday Times

EDF set to sign Hinkley deal

French energy giant EDF will this week seal a deal to build and operate the first new nuclear power station in Britain for nearly 20 years. EDF had set a deadline of the end of this month to agree the terms of constructing the £14bn power station at Hinkley Point in Somerset.

Mail on Sunday

Tussauds owner on path to listing

Merlin Entertainments, the owner of the London Eye and Madame Tussauds, is expected to announce a record profit of £350m this week. This could lead to a £3.5bn flotation in New York or London. Merlin is the world's second-biggest theme park operator with nearly 50 million visitors a year.

Sunday Telegraph

Mail Online to host investor day

Daily Mail and General Trust, owner of The Daily Mail, has a stake in property website Zoopla and a profitable business-to-business arm. But the part of the company that analysts are most keen on is its successful web operation, Mail Online, which is holding an investor day today.

Compass to dish up growth update

Shares in army and school food supplier Compass have been particularly tasty, analysts reckon. Bank of America Merrill Lynch predicts the caterer will report 4 per cent underlying organic growth in second-quarter figures tomorrow, but warns that revenue growth could be lower at 3.8%.

Centamin finals after legal fillip

There was good news for Egypt-focused gold miner Centamin last week when a court ruled that it could keep its Sukari gold mine running in Egypt. The mine has been subject to production delays and questions over a licence amid a legal dispute. The miner will report its final results on Wednesday.

Tate & Lyle set for tasty end to year

Deutsche Bank's analysts forecast a sweet end to the year for Tate & Lyle. They expect a trading update on Thursday to confirm a good fourth quarter, with the company having met its 2013 objectives – "modest profit progress in bulk ingredients, and strong top-line growth in food ingredients".