The Business Matrix: Monday 7 October 2013


Hastings Direct pulls in Goldman

Goldman Sachs’ private equity arm is set to announce a £150m investment in the insurance group Hastings Direct, which has been turned around by entrepreneur Neil Utley since he bought it in 2008. GS Capital Partners will take a near-50% stake while Hastings will also raise £450m from issuing bonds to help fuel a tripling in customer numbers by 2020.

Britain fails at innovation

Not a single British business made the list of 100 top global innovators based on the number of patent filings. The list, compiled by Thomson Reuters has France at the top of European nations, with researchers citing its high level of spending on research and technology. Britain invested far less than other developed nations. The US topped the patent table.

Nutter brand row back in court

Conservative Party vice chairman Alan Lewis is in court this week, disputing the use of the Savile Row tailoring brand Tommy Nutter. Mr Lewis, whose J&J Crombie brand produces a Tommy Nutter range, is appealing against a legal decision that Nutters of Savile Row should also be allowed to use  the name.

Independent on Sunday

Major probe into Serco contracts

The Cabinet Office is set to launch a major probe into Serco, the outsourcing company at the middle of scandals including overcharging the taxpayer on prisoner tagging contracts and altering records on its prisoner transfer work. Deals being probed include ones at the Atomic Weapons Establishment and military projects.

Sunday Times

‘Scrap the green carbon tax’ call

Tata Steel and BASF said the green carbon tax was costing them too much and putting them at a competitive disadvantage. Meanwhile, the Government’s £100m compensation package for energy intensive businesses has been held up while the Government awaits EU approval.

Sunday Telegraph

Dyson set to quit low-tax Malta

James Dyson looks set to repatriate his vacuum cleaners and gadgets business after shifting its ownership to Malta four years ago. The move was seen as a way of reducing UK taxes although Mr Dyson did not comment. Now, his financial accounts suggest the business will be repatriated back to the UK.

Mail on Sunday

Quadrise fuels may power ahead

Investors turned detectives last month when an unexplained leap in alternative fuel producer Quadrise Fuels could not be explained by management. The group supplies fuel to global shipping, refining and steam and power generation markets. Its results today could be another reason for a share price rise.

Walters may still be just the job

Recruiter Robert Walters has been outperforming its peers, and broker Numis forecasts comparable fee growth of 5 per cent in tomorrow’s results. Shares have been the best-performing staffing major in the past three months but Numis says it “remains a strong recovery play in the sector”.

Spindler to make debut at N Brown

Angela Spindler will preside over her first presentation as chief executive of home shopping group N Brown on Wednesday. Peel Hunt thinks there are a “number of compelling medium-term opportunities” and forecasts half-year profit of £45.5m, up 8.3 per cent year on year.

WH Smith boat won’t be rocked

WH Smith releases full-year results on Thursday – the first since former chief executive Kate Swann departed. New chief Steve Clarke is not expected to the rock the boat. Cost-cutting and share buybacks are still on the agenda. Barclays’ analysts expect earnings per share growth of 12 per cent.