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The Business Matrix: Monday 28 May 2012

Loans for young entrepreneurs

A government scheme to distribute £10 million of taxpayers' loans to young entrepreneurs, headed by Dragons' Den investor James Caan, is launched today. Young people between 18 and 24 from anywhere in the country will be invited to apply for a £2,500 loan to bring their business ideas to fruition. Every youngster who is awarded a loan will also be allotted an experienced business mentor as well as a network of business support.

Households set for income boost

Falling inflation will bolster the wallets of the average earner by £482 this year and £624 in 2013, according to a new report by the Ernst & Young ITEM Club. The report estimates that changes to the personal tax system and falling inflation will boost incomes and feed through to a steady pick-up in spending on the UK's high streets. Stronger household finances will result in a gradual improvement in consumer spending from the middle of this year, the report estimates.

Independent on Sunday

US investment bank Goldman Sachs is considering breaking up the $2bn (£1.3bn) sale of the Swedish oil group owned by the Saudi billionaire Mohammed al-Amoudi. It is understood that most potential bidders for Svenska Petroleum Exploration's assets are not interested in the whole group.

Sunday Times

John Browett, the former boss of PC World and Currys, is set to receive a £36m golden hello from Apple for taking control of the American technology firm's retail arm. The share award will be paid out over five years. The 48-year-old will receive the award regardless of how Apple performs, so long as he remains at the company.

Mail on Sunday

A food and drink distribution company bought by Iceland tycoon Malcolm Walker has a £40m pension fund hole that will have to be taken on by the Pension Protection Fund. Administrators for DBC Foodservice said last week that it had left creditors £92m out of pocket. This includes a £40m shortfall in the staff pension fund.

Sunday Telegraph

The luxury car maker Jaguar Land Rover is expected to post profits of between £1.5bn and £1.6bn for the year to March, up from £1.1bn last year. The increase is because of surging demand for its cars in Asia The results are expected to shows that China is now a bigger market for the car maker than the UK.

WEEK AHEAD

Severn Trent

Water giant Severn Trent will provide further insight into the impact of the recent drought when it presents annual results on Wednesday. The group, which serves more than a million customers, was not hit by a hosepipe ban earlier this year but analysts warned it was at high risk from drought conditions.

Thomas Cook

Thomas Cook faces a make or break meeting with shareholders on Tuesday as it seeks approval for two disposals, without which the firm has warned it could collapse. The tour operator, which named Harriet Green as its chief executive last week, will then publish interim results on Thursday, but has already revealed winter losses hit £263m.

B&Q

Given April's importance in the DIY calendar, the recent dismal weather will have left a dent in the sales and profits performance at B&Q. Retail analyst Philip Dorgan expects B&Q's owner Kingfisher to report an 11 per cent drop in the chain's like-for-like sales for the first quarter, which will cut B&Q's profits by 11 per cent to £66m.

Halfords

Halfords will reassure investors that it is on the road to recovery on Thursday, even as it unveils a sharp slide in profits. The car repair firm has had a tough year as high petrol prices saw motorists use their cars less. But the chain has been lifted by stronger cycle sales fuelled by recent interest in Britain's Olympics cycling team.

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