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The Business Matrix: Saturday 10 November 2012

Rutland secures pizza restaurants

Rutland Partners has acquired the restaurant business of Pizza Hut UK with a pledge to invest £60m over the next five years. Rutland saw off the rival private equity firms Endless and Risk Capital Partners to snap up the franchise for the 330-strong chain, for an undisclosed sum, from Yum Brands, which also owns KFC and Taco Bell.

Richemont joins luxury slowdown

The Net-A-Porter and Cartier owner Richemont is the latest luxury goods giant to report slowing sales, joining LVMH and PPR in noting a drop in growth in China. The Swiss group said sales fell 12 per cent in the six months to October, but profits were still up 53 per cent at €1.1bn (£908m).

Goods trade helps narrow deficit

The UK's overall trade gap with the rest of the world narrowed sharply in September, from £4.3bn to £2.7bn, bolstering hopes for a boost to the economy from trade. The total was helped by a 1.1 per cent rise in goods exports and a 3.9 per cent decline in imports. The services trade surplus was £5.7bn.

France heading back to recession

France, the second-biggest economy in the struggling eurozone, is expected to tip back into recession by the end of the year. The Bank of France predicts the economy will shrink by 0.1 per cent in the final quarter of 2012, following a similar decline in July-September.

Another big blow for Tullet Prebon

The interdealer broker Tullett Prebon has posted a 12 per cent fall in quarterly revenues. Tullet had suffered a sluggish summer on the markets, and then the superstorm Sandy forced it to evacuate its New York offices last week.

City Link likely to see further losses

The pest control group Rentokil Initial has admitted its courier delivery division, City Link, will not return to profit this year. City Link, which has made a loss for the past four years, blamed the Olympics for reduced demand. But growth in Asia helped Rentokil post a 26 per cent rise in profit to £83m over the past nine months.

Three-way merger will be in top 10

A top 10 international law firm is set to be established under a three-way merger and will have its largest base in London. The Anglo-US legal outfit SNR Denton, Salans of France and Canada's Fraser Milner Casgrain will present plans for a £1bn, 2,500-lawyer firm to their various partners next week.

Poor Olympics derails Hornby

Hornby has scrapped its half-year dividend after poor sales of its London 2012 merchandise. The model train and Scalextric maker fell to a £300m half-year loss, compared with a £1.2m profit a year ago, and said it had also been hit by a "very substantial disruption" to one of its main suppliers in China.

Greek sale hits Crédit Agricole

The struggling French bank Crédit Agricole has crashed to a deeper-than-expected quarterly loss of €2.85bn (£2.3bn). It agreed last month to sell its Greek bank Emporiki to Alpha Bank under terms which sliced the French bank's net income by €1.96bn.

300 non-store jobs go at Comet

Administrators have made 330 staff redundant at Comet's head office, call centres and back offices dealing with finance and marketing. Shop staff will still be paid while the electrical chain continues to trade in administration.

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