The Business Matrix: Saturday 24 May 2014


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The Independent Online

easyHotel eyes £100m flotation

Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannu’s discount hotel chain easyHotel is planning to float, in a move that could value it at £100m. The “super budget” hotel chain, set up by the founder of the low-cost airline easyJet, yesterday said that it would seek to raise £60m on the London Stock Exchange’s junior Aim market.

Informa to return tax base to UK

Shareholders in Informa, the Lloyd’s List publisher, met in Zurich yesterday and approved plans to move its corporate tax base back to Britain. The FTSE 250 business media and events group, which is headed by the former Downing Street aide Lord Carter, quit the UK in 2009.

German growth drives eurozone

Strong investment and consumer spending drove the German economy to a seasonally adjusted 0.8 per cent quarterly growth rate, according to official figures. That was twice the rate in the final quarter of last year and meant Germany was the growth engine of the eurozone’s economy.

Standard Life poach top director

Standard Life has ended its year-long search for a new finance director by poaching Luke Savage from Lloyd’s of London. Mr Savage will join in August on a package worth up to £1.5m. Lloyd’s said it did not plan to appoint a new finance director but would split Mr Savage’s role into two.

Close lifted by property lending

Property lending was “particularly good” for Close Brothers in the latest quarter, and seasonal demand for vehicle finance helped boost its loan book by 5 per cent to £5.1bn in the same period. Assets under management grew 4 per cent to £9.6bn and trading at its market-maker Winterflood remains steady.

Fall in sales hurts Smiths by £25m

Smiths, which sells cargo and luggage scanners to dozens of transport clients, said it failed  to foresee a downturn in demand. The FTSE 100 engineer blamed trading conditions and a fall in underlying sales at its detection division as it warned that profits will be  £25m lower than expected.

Sunshine sends shoppers to JLP

The department store chain John Lewis said sales grew 6.6 per cent to £69.24m in the week to 17 May as the warm weather encouraged shoppers to spend. The business said homewear sales rose 5.5 per cent, womenswear lifted 13.2 per cent, while sales of sunglasses rocketed 107 per cent on a year ago.

Church investors meet their target

Church Commissioners, the investment arm of the Church of England, said the total return on its investments in 2013 was 15.9 per cent. This means that the Church Commissioners fund has consistently beaten its targeted return of RPI inflation plus 5 per cent. The fund was worth £6.1bn at the end of 2013.

Moss Bros slumps as weddings drop

Moss Bros has blamed a drop in the number of weddings for a fall in its suit hire sales. But total sales in the 16 weeks to 17 May rose 5.4 per cent compared with a year ago. Over the first half, underlying sales were up 8.5 per cent and for the past 16 weeks sales were ahead 6.3 per cent.

London rooftop bar sold for £4.5m

D&D London has bought Madison, the rooftop bar and restaurant atop the One New Change shopping mall in the City for £4.5m. The venue was launched by the Frank Dowling whose restaurant business was plunged into administration after a tax fraud inquiry.