The Business Matrix: Monday 3 June 2013


Spanish eyes on Luton Airport

Luton Airport is reportedly a takeover target of Spanish company Aena, which owns 46  airports and two heliports in Spain and is involved in managing 23 other airports worldwide. Aena is a minority shareholder but is believed to have first refusal on the larger stake owned by fellow Spanish company Abertis. Luton is the UK’s fifth-biggest airport.

Barclays chased for scandal clues

New York prosecutors have reportedly ordered Barclays to hand over records relating to the growing scandal over Liberty Reserve, the Costa Rica-based payments processor.  The accounts in the name of Arthur Budovsky are held in one of Barclays’ Spanish subsidiaries. The account is believed to have been opened in 2009, but it is not yet clear what it was used for.

What the Sunday papers said

Engineers queue to tap into Thames

A beauty parade of engineering companies is forming to bid for Thames Estuary 2100, a new system of flood defences for the capital. The bidding process will start in the autumn with Atkins, Arup, Halcrow and Hyder Consulting all said to be preparing documents for the Environment Agency. The defences will aim to protect 1.25m Londoners.

Independent on Sunday

Card Factory posts listing plans

Card Factory, the greeting cards chain, is preparing for a flotation worth an estimated £700m. Charterhouse, the private-equity firm that owns it, has reportedly instructed Goldman Sachs to oversee the float. It bought the company from its original founders Dean and Janet Hoyle in 2010, netting the couple £350m.

Sunday Times

Tesco set to reveal profit double blow

Tesco’s hopes of a profits recovery could be dented this week when it reveals the costs of poor spring weather and the horsemeat scandal. Like-for-like sales are forecast to be down 0.5 per cent. This is against a backdrop of the Office for National Statistics saying food trading is 3.8 per cent lower than a year ago.

Mail on Sunday

France ‘worse than Seventies Britain’

Henri de Castries, chairman and chief executive of Axa, has said the French economy and state are in a worse condition than Britain was in the strike-rife 1970s. He said it was no surprise because the government of President Hollande had been raising taxes and making labour laws even more rigid.

Sunday Telegraph

‘No surprises’ hope for Phoenix

Phoenix IT, the computing firm that last year admitted it had uncovered accounting irregularities, reports today. It warned in February that full-year earnings for the full-year would be about 10 per cent lower than expected, but Numis Securities’s Will Wallis says he isn’t expecting any more surprises with the results.

Wolseley lives American dream

Building supplier, plumbing and heating products distributor Wolseley’s US arm Ferguson has been the star of the group, and is forecast to account for about 67 per cent of trading profit in 2013. Third-quarter results, due tomorrow, are expected to show that the trend has continued.

Things may look  up for Matthey

The chemicals specialist Johnson Matthey had a grim start to the year when it revealed a third-quarter update in January that was far worse than expected. But Numis’s Charles Pick thinks it isn’t all bad for the group and expects the final quarter results, out on Thursday, will have been better.

Fullers tipped for dividend cheer

Investors in the brewer Fuller, Smith & Turner will be hoping to raise a pint to toast the group’s full-year results when they are released on Friday. Panmure Gordon reckons the company behind London Pride will unveil pre-tax profits of about £32m and increase it dividend by 7 per cent.