The Business Matrix: Saturday 14 June 2014


Iraq chaos sends price of oil soaring

Iraq’s descent into chaos sent the pricew of oil surging to a nine-month high of $114.69 (£67.65) as the threat of disrupted supplies caused panic. But gains were later pared after watchdogs at the International Energy Agency said it did not think there was any immediate risk to supplies.

John Lewis scores in World Cup fever

World Cup fever and the warm weather have helped John Lewis record one of the best sales boosts of the year. The department store said electricals and home technology sales were up 24.9 per cent in the week to 7 June. Waitrose said it sold 29 per cent more sausages and 51 per cent more ice cream.

Profits jump 66% at Bonmarché

Selling cheap clothes to older ladies has paid off for newly listed Bonmarché as it revealed a 66 per cent jump in annual profits yesterday. The chain, aimed at over-50s, said pre-tax profits to the end of March rose 66.1 per cent to £8m on sales of £164.3m, nearly 12 per cent more than last year.

Stores cleared in sports bra hoo-ha

John Lewis, Debenhams and House of Fraser have been cleared of price-fixing sports bras after an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition and Markets Authority. Investigators made the decision after taking evidence from the firms and from bra-maker DB Apparel.

US urged to fine BNP Paribas‘fairly’

Top European Union official Michel Barnier has called for the US to be “fair and objective” in setting what could be a multibillion-dollar fine for French banking giant BNP Paribas. The lender is reportedly set to be hit with a fine of $10bn (£594m) or more for allegedly violating sanctions rules.

ITV looks to cash in on house boom

ITV is looking to cash in on London’s property boom by turning its headquarters into riverside flats and moving into new offices next door. It has begun talks with Coin Street Community Builders, which owns the site next to ITV’s London Television Centre, according to Estates Gazette.

Walker Crips goes back into profit

City stockbroker Walker Crips swung back into the black last  year as it reaped the benefits of a strategic overhaul. The company said it had made an operating profit of £500,000 in the 12 months ending 31 March after selling off parts of its business. The firm made a £1m loss in 2012.

Damelin quits board of Wonga

Errol Damelin, a co-founder of Wonga, has quit its board, the payday lender announced yesterday. Mr Damelin, who co-founded the company in 2006, stepped down as chief executive just seven months ago. Wonga said he had indicated in November he wanted to begin “an orderly exit” from the firm.

Deal close on bid for Alstom stake

Siemens of Germany and Mitsubishi of Japan are finalising a joint offer for the turbine businesses of the French engineer Alstom, according to Reuters reports last night. Alstom’s rail unit, meanwhile, is likely to be merged with Siemens’ unit in a separate deal.

Assura buys 28 medical centres

Assura, a primary care property investor and developer, has acquired 28 medical centres from Ray Seymour and Alistair Blacklaws, the founders of the MP Realty Holdings Group. The centres support the work of 230 GPs covering about 320,000 patients in England and Wales.