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The Business Matrix: Saturday 26 November 2011



Luxury charter group's warning

The superyacht charter group YCO warned it was likely to only break even this year after making a profit of £588,000 last year. The Kensington and Monaco-based group said it had invested in building market share following a restructuring and bookings were ahead of last year, but shares in the AIM-listed group still dived 27 per cent.

Shore Capital predicts loss

The investment bank Shore Capital has said it is in danger of making a full-year loss after the value of some of its investments is written down. It said its profits from operating activities were broadly in-line with City expectations but the overall performance will be affected by marking down some of its balance sheet holdings.

Fuller warns of profits squeeze

London Pride brewer Fuller, Smith & Turner has warned of a profits squeeze as it struggles to pass on rising beer duty to cash-strapped customers. The group's profit margins on drink sales in the half-year fell as it was unable to pass on a 7 per cent rise in tax and called on the Government to scrap plans to raise the tax again in March.

Cyber crime unit to be set up

The Government is to set up a police cyber crime unit as part of a £650m drive to tackle the growing threat of online attacks from criminal gangs, hostile states, "hactivists" and terrorists. The division was unveiled by Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, who said there was a "real and growing" threat to the UK's interests.

Games Workshop in shares boost

The fantasy war games retailer Games Workshop said royalties received so far in its financial year to 3 June are "significantly higher" than last year. The Nottingham-based company makes collectable figurines for Warhammer and Lord of the Rings battle games. Its shares jumped 5 per cent to 425p.

Tilbury biomass plant set to fire

RWE npower will start firing Britain's largest dedicated biomass plant at Tilbury in Essex in the next few days, with full operations expected by the end of the year. The 750MW plant will burn wood pellets to produce electricity and is on the site of the Tilbury coal-fired plant, which will shut by 2016.

Premier Foods appoints new CFO

Hovis to Mr Kipling maker Premier Foods was rocked by further change at the top when it announced chief financial officer Jim Smart is to be replaced by Mark Moran, formerly of condom maker SSL International. The debt-ridden company also appointed a new chief executive, Mike Clarke, recently.

Ross to take Cosalt private

The offshore safety business Cosalt is set to be taken private after recommending a bid of just £400,000 from its chairman and largest shareholder, David Ross, a co-founder of Carphone Warehouse. The bid, which values the debt-laden firm at £400,000, comes amid doubt it could continue as a going concern.

Italy pays 6.5% to borrow money

Italy paid a record 6.5 per cent to borrow money over six months and its longer-term funding costs soared far above levels seen as sustainable for public finances, raising the pressure on Rome's new emergency government. The yield – in effect the interest demanded by investors – was almost double a month ago.

Moody's cuts Hungary rating

The credit rating agency Moody's has cut Hungary's debt to "junk" grade, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Viktor Orban's unorthodox economic policies and prompting the country to denounce the move as a "financial attack". Orban's policies have eschewed traditional austerity in favour of steps like a special bank tax.