The Business Matrix: Saturday 14 May 2011

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The Independent Online

Rolet gets a lift from LSE profits

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) exceeded City expectations with a 22 per cent increase in full-year profits to £341m yesterday. The figures gave the LSE’s chief executive Xavier Rolet’s strategy a welcome boost ahead of his planned expansion through the purchase of the Canadian exchange group TMX.

Bats Global Markets plans IPO

Bats Global Markets, the third-largest US exchange operator after NYSE and Nasdaq, has filed plans with US regulators for an initial public offering. Bats is owned by many of the world’s largest banks, including JP Morgan and Credit Suisse. Its European arm is merging with Chi-X Europe.

G20 call for banker bonuses scrutiny

France, Britain and the European Commission are pushing for the Financial Stability Board (FSB) to scrutinise whether G20 countries were sticking to rules on bankers’ bonuses. The FSB, tasked by the G20 to implement new regulations for the financial sector, is due to present a report in September on G20 members’ progress.

Weak banks told to boost capital

Banks judged in this summer’s European Union stress tests as too weak will have up to six months to bolster their capital but will only get government money as a last resort, according to an EU policy document leaked yesterday ahead of an EU finance ministers’ meeting next week.

John Lewis sales fall 1.4 %

John Lewis said revenue fell last week even though fashion sales were boosted by shoppers trying to copy the look of Pippa Middleton at the royal wedding (pictured). The department store group said its sales fell 1.4 per cent year-on-year to £54.3m, but fashion sales rose 4.9 per cent, with demand for occasionwear, particularly long, flowing, green and champagne-coloured dresses, at a four-year high.

Mortgage market reflects rate fears

Remortgaging rose 16 per cent in March – 17 per cent over the year – as borrowers took out new home loans against a background of fears of an interest rate rise. Some 33,900 remortgage loans were taken out, according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Although mortgage activity overall was up on February it is still 17 per cent below the levels a year ago. Significantly, house purchase lending fell 26 per cent in the first quarter

BAE wins $850m US army contract

BAE Systems has won a 10-year, $850m contract to operate and maintain the US Army’s Radford ammunition plant in Virginia, the only domestic producer of nitrocellulose, a key material used in explosives and propellants. BAE beat out long-time incumbent Alliant Techsystems to win the contract. The plant is a 6,900-acre government-owned facility first built during World War Two.

Construction slump revised

The building industry endured another contraction of output in the first three months of the year – but by less than estimated. The Office for National Statistics said activity in the construction sector was 4 per cent lower in the first quarter of this year compared with the last three months of 2010 – because of extreme weather conditions. But that is better than the 4.7 per cent the ONS had predicted.

Ensus to shut bioethanol plant

Ensus is to temporarily shut the UK’s largest bioethanol plant from the end of this month, blaming slow implementation of EU rules and competition from US imports. The refinery can produce 450 million litres of bioethanol a year from about one million tonnes of wheat.

Glencore to close IPO books early

Glencore will close its order books to investors applying for shares in its planned stock market flotation on Tuesday – a day ahead of schedule. The move underscores the level of interest in the commodities trader and its $11bn (£7bn) IPO in London and Hong Kong.

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