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The Business Matrix: Monday 6 January 2014

Hammond in fresh reform bid

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has privately started his latest attempt to reform the agency that buys the armed forces’ food, vehicles and weapons. Some of the biggest suppliers have been asked to talk to officials about how they would manage Defence Equipment & Support’s IT systems, human resources and other specific projects.

Litigants flock to London

High Court disputes over trademarks leapt more than 30 per cent to 114 cases in 2013, according to an analysis by the law firm RPC. The British courts have become a favoured battleground for international businesses to fight for protection of their global intellectual property rights. Court cases over major copyrights also jumped by 9 per cent.

What the Sunday papers said

Google to pay £24m in back tax

Google expected to pay at least £24m in backdated tax, the first internet behemoth to be hit by an HMRC crackdown. The charge comes after widespread outcry that Google,  Facebook, Amazon and Apple paid just £14m in UK corporation tax in 2012 despite an  estimated combined turnover  of £16.6bn.

Sunday Times

Co-op Bank funds use tax havens

Nearly all of the 20 hedge funds that own 30 per cent of Co-Op Bank hold their investments through tax havens. Companies House documents reveal  that 18 of the hedge funds own the “ethical” bank through vehicles based in the Cayman Islands, Luxembourg, the British Virgin Islands and Jersey.

Mail on Sunday

Nuclear operators face lawsuit risk

British nuclear operators face being sued for billions of pounds by the Irish Government and Irish victims of any radioactive damage they cause under international legal changes this year. Anyone affected in Ireland by a nuclear accident that originates in the UK will be able to sue in the High Court for up to £1bn.

Independent on Sunday

Scottish Power trims bills

Scottish Power is set to cut household bills by 3.3 per cent, becoming the fourth major energy supplier to pass on savings from cuts to green levies. This will typically save the electricity and gas group’s 2.2 million customers on variable tariffs more than £40 a year on their dual fuel bill. 

Sunday Telegraph

Week ahead

Too much red at Dunelm?

A swathe of red blocks signalling 20 per cent off homewares currently dominates the front page of the Dunelm website. Investors will be hoping for very little red in tomorrow’s trading statement, though, particularly after Dunelm failed to pay thousands of staff last week due to “administrative error”.

Persimmon to reveal sales rise

Numis analyst Chris Millington expects residential developer Persimmon to confirm strong trading for the end of 2013 on Wednesday, with some house price inflation also helping the figures. However, he still thinks that the stock is “expensive relative to peers”, with shares valued at well over £12 a pop.

Cracks widen at retail giants

All eyes will be on Marks & Spencer and Tesco on Thursday, as the empires of the high street and supermarkets are expected to confirm yet more cracks in what investors had long believed were indestructible foundations. M&S is forecast flat or worse sales in clothing, footware, and homewares.

Tesco meat supplier reports

A day after Tesco reports what is likely to prove to be a miserable festive season, its meat packer, Hilton Food Group, issues a trading report. Last month, Hilton announced a new agreement as a supplier to Tesco that runs to February 2019 and has improved analyst forecasts for the coming years.

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