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The Business Matrix: Monday 9 December 2013

Royal Mail set to join FTSE 100

Royal Mail is on course to join London’s leading stock market index at this week’s FTSE reshuffle after a privatisation that has seen its shares soar by 80 per cent. It’s expected to enter the premier share league after Wednesday’s review by the FTSE Group. That will mean chief executive Moya Greene becomes one of the few women to head a blue-chip company.

Novartis has money to spend

Novartis, the Swiss pharmaceuticals giant, can spend $4bn to $6bn a year on acquisitions to strengthen its core pharma, eyecare and generics businesses or its three smaller divisions, its chief executive claimed. Joe Jimenez added: “Novartis’ cashflow is big enough each year for us to increase the dividend for shareholders and at the same time do bolt-on buys.”

What the Sunday papers said

StanChart: rift over rights issue

Standard Chartered’s board is divided over whether a rights issue is needed to strengthen its balance sheet after a tough year’s trading in its emerging markets. The need for a cash call has been discussed privately between directors rather than at a formal board meeting, and sources admitted “deep questions are being asked” of senior directors.

The Independent on Sunday

Fashion bosses claim RBS fraud

Allegations that Royal Bank of Scotland destroyed small firms for profit are set to take a major new twist as ex-directors and shareholders of failed fashion chain Peacocks consider a complaint to the Serious Fraud Office. It would be the first time anyone directly connected with a national chain has made a formal complaint.

The Mail on Sunday

Diamond back with £150m float

Bob Diamond, the Barclays chief executive who resigned in disgrace last year after the bank admitted rigging interest rates, is close to an audacious return to the City. The American is putting the final touches to Atlas Mara, a cash shell he has set up with billionaire entrepreneur Ashish Thakkar to buy a bank in Africa.

The Sunday Times

‘Boris Island’ plan may be dumped

Boris Johnson’s aviation adviser has admitted that proposals for a new hub airport in the Thames Estuary are “at risk” of being ditched by Sir Howard Davies when he publishes a shortlist of options for additional runway capacity in the South-east. The report is expected on 17 December.

The Sunday Telegraph

Week ahead

TOMORROW

Holiday group Tui Travel will reveal full-year results. Its rival Thomas Cook recently reported solid trading, so investors expect Thomson owner Tui’s to impress as well. Travel analysts at broker Numis predict Tui’s earnings will be up 18 per cent to £580m. Tui will unveil its results at Google’s London head office as it emphasises the firm’s technological innovations

WEDNESDAY

The smartphone microchip designer Imagination Technologies is expected to report a half-year update in line with expectations on Wednesday. Analysts at Jefferies expect volumes to have grown, but also warn that ongoing weakness in the average royalty rate and the fact that its licensing of graphics is “still weak” is likely to hit results. Jefferies expects sales of £95.4m.

THURSDAY

Transport giant Go Ahead’s statement is due to be parked with shareholders towards the end of the week, following rival Stagecoach’s figures on Wednesday. Analysts at stockbroker Panmure Gordon expect new contract wins for the bus and train operator, accompanied by good growth in its US business, to help drive Go Ahead forward.

FRIDAY

On Friday the thirteenth, housebuilder Bellway will end the week. But investors aren’t expecting bad news here:  housing stocks have been  boosted by rising property  prices, better mortgage deals and government schemes. Property analysts at Numis predict that Bellway will enjoy 34 per cent growth in earnings per share.

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