The Business Matrix: Saturday 27 April 2013


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2.5% growth short of expectations

The American economy expanded at a rate of 2.5 per cent in the first three months of the year, performing far better than at the end of 2012 but missing expectations as falling government spending proved a drag on growth. Underpinning the expansion was a rise in consumer spending, although in part this also saw households save less.

Snoozebox bosses resign after deficit

Snoozebox's founder, Robert Breare, stepped aside as chief executive yesterday and its finance director resigned as the pop-up hotels firm posted a £4.4m loss for 2012. The AIM-listed group admitted that its £3.8m revenues had missed City expectations of £5m because of "uncertainties" over contracts connected with the London Olympics.

£6.9m for Xstrata chief in 2012

Xstrata's outgoing chief executive, Mick Davis, made $10.7m (£6.9m) in pay, pension, bonuses and other awards in 2012, the miner's annual report said. The payment for his work last year is on top of the £14.2m pay-off he will receive when he leaves Xstrata following the group's £56bn merger with Glencore.

Sudden departure for FCUK director

The finance director of French Connection has quit with immediate effect after more than a decade at the fashion retailer. It is unclear whether Roy Naismith has another job to go to. French Connection suffered a £10m loss in the year to the end of January.

FT owner suffers drop in sales

The Financial Times' owner, Pearson, has admitted underlying sales fell 1 per cent to £1.2bn in the first quarter, against a 3 per cent rise a year ago. The new chief executive, John Fallon, has already unveiled a £150m restructuring.

Panmure clear-out of small investors

Panmure Gordon has announced a 10-for-one share consolidation in a bid to remove small shareholders from its register. The stockbroker said 8,000 of its shareholders have fewer than 1,000 shares – meaning 95 per cent of shareholders own just 0.3 per cent of the company, which makes servicing them very expensive.

Rotork delivers quarterly growth

Rotork reported a 5 per cent jump in first-quarter sales and forecast higher gains over the next three months on the back of strong growth in deliveries yesterday. The engineer, which makes valve-control systems for the water as well as oil and gas industries, said orders rose by 14 per cent in the first quarter to £150m.

Cost cutting pays off for Nomura

Nomura, the Japanese investment bank with a large presence in London, has reported its best quarterly profit for seven years. The bank made Y82.4bn (£540m) in the three months to March, easily beating analysts' forecast of Y55bn. Nomura is halfway through a $1bn (£650m) cost-cutting programme.

Underlying sales increase at WPP

A surge in demand for UK advertising campaigns helped marketing giant WPP to beat first-quarter expectations. The world's biggest advertising and marketing group said underlying UK sales bucked the wider market to rise 3.7 per cent in the first three months of the year.

Soros pays pretty penny for stake

George Soros, the billionaire financier, has revealed he has bought a 7.9 per cent stake in the struggling US department-store chain JC Penney. He joins another billionaire, Bill Ackman, as one of the five largest shareholders in the century-old retailer.