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The Business Matrix: Saturday 13 October 2012


Back to work for Travis Perkins

Travis Perkins' chief executive, Geoff Cooper, was relieved to get the Olympics out of the way after the builders' merchant and Wickes owner enjoyed a September sales recovery. The company is still on course to hit City forecasts, although Mr Cooper complained of "uneven and fragile trading conditions", and the shares fell 4 per cent.

Flybe takes on Finnair routes

The low-cost airline Flybe has completed a deal to take on a third of the European routes run by Finland's struggling carrier Finnair. Flybe also said trading had stabilised in the past three months, having warned in August that sales were below expectations and cut its forecast for full-year revenue growth to between zero and 2 per cent.

Tucker talks up lending for growth

The battle to become the Governor of the Bank of England hotted up as the favourite pledged to do more to boost lending into the economy. Speaking in Tokyo, the deputy governor, Paul Tucker said: "Of course there is weak demand for credit, but where we can remove impediments to the supply of credit we should do so."

Partners secure Sellafield contract

The construction group Morgan Sindall and engineering consultancy Arup have been named preferred partners for a £1.1bn contract at the Sellafield nuclear complex in Cumbria. The contract will see them improve and develop key infrastructure assets on the Sellafield site.

Brevan Howard returns to London

The hedge fund giant Brevan Howard is hunting for a new home in London, having moved its main office to Geneva for tax reasons three years ago. Brevan, which manages £23bn in assets, is considering taking space in St James's Square.

Figures reveal August slowdown

Official figures have offered more evidence of the struggles of the building industry, after a disappointing 0.9 per cent fall in construction output in August. The latest setback undid part of July's post-Jubilee bounceback for the sector, underlining worries over the strength of the overall economy's recovery between July and September.

Big rebound for JP Morgan Chase

The banking giant JP Morgan Chase said it believed the US housing market had "turned the corner" as a sharp rebound in mortgage refinancing helped quarterly profits soar by a third to $5.7bn (£3.5bn). Revenues rose by a better-than-expected 6 per cent to $25.9bn, while its investment banking arm saw net income more than treble.

Russian share offer goes through

The first of a trio of Russian companies planning to float on the London stock market this month completed its share offering yesterday, raising just over $300m (£186.6m).

MD Medical, a private healthcare company, priced its shares at $12, which values the whole company at $900m.

Chill wind good for John Lewis

John Lewis's sales leapt 16 per cent to £70m in the week to 6 October as the colder weather boosted demand for winter clothing. Online sales also rose sharply, up 46 per cent, as the autumn chill set in. The group's grocer, Waitrose, posted a 6.8 per cent rise in sales to £110m.

Mortgage rise points to recovery

Mortgage lending for homebuyers reached a two-year high in August in a sign that efforts to boost the housing market are working. Some 55,300 loans were advanced in August, worth £8.4bn, up 11 per cent on a year ago.