The Business Matrix: Monday 27 January 2014


Malls in demand: £4.2bn worth sold

The demand for shopping centres in the UK is back up to the boom-time levels of 2006, the latest figures have revealed. More than £4.2bn of deals completed in 2013, up 81 per cent on the previous year's £2.3bn, according to property agent CBRE. Despite problems of empty shops and struggling retailers across the UK, malls in Peterborough, Bath and Solihull have been bought.

Former Co-op bosses to face MPs

Former Co-op Bank deputy chairmen David Davies and Rodney Baker Bates will tomorrow answer questions from MPs on the events that led to the bank's near collapse after the failed attempt to take over the 600-branch strong Project Verde from Lloyds Banking Group. The men worked alongside the bank's troubled former chairman, Paul Flowers.

What the Sunday papers said

Nuclear chief's Sellafield despair

Damning criticism of the consortium overseeing the expensive clean-up of the Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant has been revealed in a series of hostile letters written by head of the UK's Nuclear Decommissioning Authority John Clarke, who accused Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) of damaging the project's reputation. The Independent on Sunday

Barclays Premier League exit plot

The Premier League is facing the loss of its £40m-a-year title sponsor, with Barclays unlikely to bid again for the rights. Sources close to the British bank, which has sponsored the Premier League since 2001, said the likely rising cost of sponsoring the league would make it too expensive after 2016 and it brought "zero value" in the UK. The Sunday Telegraph

Supermarkets in property break-up

Activist investors are drawing up audacious plans to force Britain's supermarket giants into a shake-up of their prized property empires. A pack of Wall Street investors have targeted Tesco, Sainsbury's, and Morrisons as part of an industry-wide campaign to demand property holdings be spun off. The Sunday Times

Government set to freeze carbon tax

In a sign that the Coalition is reining in its green ambitions, the Government is set to freeze the controversial carbon tax which penalises coal and gas-fired power stations. The surprise move could halt soaring energy bills. Without a freeze, the levy could add £50 to the average energy bill by 2020. The Mail on Sunday

Week ahead

Full power for APR Energy

Mobile generator supplier APR Energy's trading update today is expected to be strong with investors hoping to hear more about its duel fuel turbines business. It was popular with investors earlier this month after a lucrative Libyan contract win and analysts at Numis rate it a buy with a 1240p price target.

Production slips at oil group Afren

Oil group Afren's full-year trading update tomorrow is expected to show production down 19 per cent but analysts at Goldman Sachs and Investec are positive that 2014 will prove a good year for the group. The focus will be on its Nigerian assets and capital expenditure on its current portfolio.

Lack of fizz in Britvic's results

Britvic's first quarter trading statement on Wednesday is expected to be lacklustre with evidence that supermarkets' struggling sales since Christmas will have hurt the drinks maker. After recall issues, its Fruit Shoot drink is back to full availability so sales should be stable but unexciting, Numis said.

Investors tune in to BSkyB

Broadcaster BSkyB's second quarter update on Thursday will be widely watched as rumours of M&A activity increase. Its update is expected to show good growth, but investors will be looking out for any signs of how rival BT is affecting profits after the loss of Champions League football last year.