The Business Matrix: Saturday 1 June 2013


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William Hill bonds help repay loans

William Hill has launched a corporate bond to raise £375m. The proceeds will be used to pay back short-term loans taken out to help fund its takeover of the Sportingbet Australia business and Playtech's 29 per cent of William Hill Online.

'Shock and awe' fails to lift activity

Japan's "shock and awe" tactics are having little impact on the nation's deflationary malaise. Despite its huge money-printing and fiscal stimulus programme April data showed Japan's consumer price index down 0.4 per cent year on year.

Centrica unwinds from wind farm

British Gas's parent, Centrica, has sold its 50 per cent interest in the Braes of Doune onshore wind farm in Stirlingshire, Scotland, for £59m to the Hermes GPE Infrastructure Fund. Centrica, which bought the stake for £42m in 2007, will receive all of the wind farm's output.

Pinewood to fight planning decision

Pinewood Shepperton has filed an appeal against a decision that blocked major expansion plans. In early May the South Buckinghamshire council turned down Pinewood's application to add 100,000 square metres of studio and production space by building on green belt land.

Harvey Nash off to a slow start

Harvey Nash has blamed a dearth of jobs in Europe, Vietnam and Hong Kong for a "slower" start to the year. The tech recruitment specialist also said the impact of Chinese New Year and client delays in a German outsourcing business were behind its 14 per cent fall in profit since February.

Another hefty diamond for Gem

Gem Diamonds has sold a 164-carat (1.15oz) diamond for about £5.9m. The miner said the stone was discovered at its Letseng mine in Lesotho in April. The mine has produced a series of large diamonds for Gem, including one of 603 carats. The latest sale will probably go to Antwerp for cutting.

EMI feud heads back to court

A US appeals court has overturned Citigroup's victory over Guy Hands in the battle over his £4bn buyout of EMI. The financier had sued the US bank over the takeover of the music group in 2007, before the financial crisis froze the credit markets. Mr Hands' firm later defaulted on some loans and Citi seized EMI.

Order could give Tui 150 Boeings

On the day its first 787 Dreamliner touched down in the UK, Tui Travel yesterday agreed a multi-billion pound deal to buy more Boeing jets. The company behind Thomson Holidays, Crystal Ski and LateRooms is buying 60 of Boeing's narrow-bodied, fuel-efficient 737 Max jets, with an option to take 90 more.

Lloyds offloads US sub-prime debt

Lloyds Banking Group has sold a large slug of US mortgage securities through an auction that raised a total of £3.3bn, as part of its efforts to reduce its assets and strengthen its balance sheet. The securities had a face value of £5.7bn but had already been written down by Lloyds to just £2.7bn, giving it a book profit of £540m.

Opec maintains output target

Opec oil ministers, at their twice-yearly meeting in Vienna yesterday, agreed to keep the group's oil output target unchanged for the rest of this year. The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, which will next meet in December, had been widely expected to keep the 30 million barrels per day target in place.