The Business Matrix: Monday 3 September 2012


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Etihad doubles stake in Virgin Oz

Abu Dhabi's flagship carrier Etihad Airways has doubled its stake in Virgin Australia, buying shares on the stock market, the airline said yesterday. Etihad received approval from Australia's Foreign Investment Review Board to increase its stake from 5 to 10 per cent. Virgin Australia is 26 per cent owned by Richard Branson and 20 per cent by Air New Zealand.

City creates nearly 3,000 jobs

The City jobs market has remained stable over the summer despite the fallout from the banking scandals and the distraction of the London Olympics and Paralympics. Some 2,920 City jobs were created in August, according to the recruiter Astbury Marsden, although this was a fall of 28 per cent from the 4,030 City jobs created in August 2011.


What the Sunday papers say:

Heathrow may get rival airport

A consortium has drawn up plans for a new four-runway hotel near Heathrow. A top infrastructure firm is assessing sites to the west and north-west of London which could accommodate an airport to rival or even replace Heathrow. The project could cost between £40bn and £60bn. The Independent on Sunday

Yellow Pages faces bank takeover

A syndicate of banks including Royal Bank of Scotland, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank is preparing to seize control of the publisher of Yellow Pages, having lost patience with its management’s ability to reduce its debts. Hibu has seen its share price collapse from 600p five years ago to 1p. Its debt of £2.2bn is 100 times its stock-market valuation. The Sunday Times

Tickets and drinks ‘not bribes’

The new head of the Serious Fraud Office says entertaining clients at events like the Olympics will not lead to prosecutions under the Bribery Act. David Green said: “The sort of bribery we are investigating would not be tickets to Wimbledon or bottles of champagne. We are not the ‘Serious Champagne Office’.” Sunday Times

Stansted value ‘from Noddy Land’

Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, is set to accuse BAA of inflating the value of Stansted ahead of its forced sell-off. He will say their accounts are straight out of “Noddy Land” as he tries to drive down the expected £1bn to £1.3bn sale price. His airline accounts for seven out of every 10 Stansted flights. Sunday Telegraph


Week ahead:

Analysts hot on Cupid website

Peel Hunt analysts expect sales to be around £8m at the dating website business Cupid when it reports its half year results today. The scribes’ target price for the stock is now 290p. Peel Hunt argues Cupid’s outlay in marketing spend is being rewarded with “high rates of growth in new markets.”

China focus ahead of Genus results

An update on expansion in China will be on the agenda at the animal genetics company Genus’ full year results tomorrow. Peel Hunt set a target price of 1,500p for the stock but warns the price of animal feed will have an impact in the short term. Longer term, it will help to reinforce the benefits of genetics in feed conversion.

Land banking to pay off at Berkeley

Strong land acquisitions will boost housebuilder Berkeley Homes, analysts at Deutsche Bank bet. In July Berkeley stated it was “well positioned” to reach its target of £220m pre-tax profit in 2013 and scribes at Deutsche think management will reiterate this in the trading update. It rates the stock a buy.

Olympics help boost Whitbread

Coffee shop to hotel group Whitbread will release its second- quarter trading update on Thursday, but analysts at Barclays think the quarter will give little read across to future quarters due to the idiosyncrasies of the Olympics and Jubilee. But Barclays labelled the stock its leisure “top pick” last week.