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The Business Matrix: Saturday 10 March 2012

 

Olympics paves Marshalls' gains

Paving London ahead of the Olympics and Diamond Jubilee helped blocks and flagstones group Marshalls to push profits up by a third last year. It has already delivered well over five million paving blocks to the Olympic centre. Its largest project is the Northern spectator transport mall.

African premium helps Old Mutual

The Old Mutual financial conglomerate posted a 17 per cent jump in profits for 2011 on the back of cost cuts and strong growth at its Nedbank lending operation in South Africa. The Anglo-South African insurance, banking and asset management business reported an operating profit of £1.61bn in 2011.

Wetherspoons dilutes growth

Value-for-money pubs chain JD Wetherspoon is to open 10 fewer pubs this year than previously hoped, 40 rather than 50. Chairman Tim Martin is also taking a close look at his longer-term expansion plans. He has 841 pubs and thinks he could one day have 1600, but is no longer so sure this goal is attainable.

LSE in the clear with £387m deal

The London Stock Exchange has struck a deal to buy up to a 60 per cent stake in clearing house LCH. Clearnet in the biggest deal since its attempt to merge with the Toronto stock exchange was blocked last year. The LSE will pay up to €463m (£387m) for a full 60 per cent stake.

Africa powers up Aggreko profits

A thirst for power from Africa, Japan and the London 2012 Olympics has given generators giant Aggreko the courage to spend £350m on its fleet this year. That's £30m more than it had planned, and comes after what chief executive Rupert Soames called a "not-entirely shabby performance last year".

Industry drop ups recession worry

A shock blow for Britain's industrial sector in January put the risk of a double-dip recession back on the table yesterday, strengthening the case for more money printing from the Bank of England. Despite stronger survey evidence, figures showed a 0.4 per cent drop in industrial output during January.

London land prices soar

The price of land in central London soared almost a fifth last year in a dramatic bounce-back from the post-Lehmans slump. The value of residential development land rose 3.2 per cent in the last quarter and 20.3 per cent over 2011 as a whole, according to agents Knight Frank.

Recruiter held back in Britain

The UK jobs market is holding back SThree, the white-collar recruiter. Its consultants outside of Britain and Ireland saw a 24 per cent increase in gross profit to £31m in the first three months of 2012 compared to the previous quarter. But on home turf, its net profit fell by 7 per cent to £16.7m.

American jobs market ahead

The US jobs market forged ahead last month as the recovering health of the world's biggest economy painted a stark contrast with record unemployment in the eurozone. Closely watched non-farm payrolls figures showed US employers adding 227,000 jobs during the month.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment