The Business Matrix: Saturday 28 January 2012


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Hornby derailed by profit warning

Shares in the model railways maker Hornby plunged after it issued a shock profit warning. The company said sales of its Hornby and Scalextric sets priced at £50 and up had been disappointing over Christmas as shops were reluctant to take on large stocks while consumers remained cash-strapped.

Murdoch steps down from GSK

James Murdoch, the under-fire chairman of BSkyB and number three at his father's News Corporation media giant, is quitting the board of British drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline. GSK chairman Sir Chris Gent said Mr Murdoch wanted to "focus on his current duties as non-executive chairman of BSkyB".

Olympics boost for London Pride

London Pride brewer Fuller, Smith & Turner said the influx of tourists for the Olympics would give it a boost and unveiled strong festive trading figures, up 5.1% in the past nine weeks. It said the summer will be a chance to "showcase what is great about British beer and pubs".

PR group Creston shares plummet

Shares in marketing and public-relations group Creston lost a quarter of their value after it issued a profits warning. The owner of ICM market research and Nelson Bostock PR expects lower profits than last year's £10.4 million. It blamed a recent falling off of new business and losses from start-up ventures.

Outsourcer Serco to cut 500 jobs

More than 500 jobs were on the line at Serco after the outsourcer, which runs swathes of British public-sector services, said it was "streamlining the management of its UK business". Most of the job cuts are likely to involve staff at Serco offices in Hook, near Basingstoke.

Samsung out-smarts iPhone

The popularity of Samsung's Galaxy S2 smartphone helped it outstrip consumer electronics giant Apple's iPhone last year with record sales. The South Korean firm today said profits rose 17 per cent to four trillion won (£2.3bn) in the fourth quarter, and it shipped 300 million handsets in 2011.

LSE growth beats City forecasts

The London Stock Exchange beat City forecasts with 17 per cent growth in third-quarter revenues but cautioned that both share trading and new company share issues had fallen back in recent months. The LSE is still lobbying hard to prevent the merger of its rivals Deutsche Börse and NYSE Euronext.

Beer sales better for pub group

Marston's, which runs more than 2000 pubs, has long pushed its F-plan – a focus on families, females, food and over-forties. A trading update yesterday encouraged a more traditional approach – selling decent beer in nice pubs. "Wet" sales were up 4.8 per cent in the 16 weeks to 21 January while food sales rose 5.5 per cent.

Abbeycrest fails to find a lifeline

A jeweller to Argos, Goldsmiths and Asda suspended its shares today after it failed to sell its Thai business to raise much-needed cash. Abbeycrest, which had recently tried to move upmarket away from its High Street base, said the sale would now not happen in time to meet its financial needs.

Klesch may bid for Coryton site

The commodities investor Gary Klesch, who recently walked away from buying a Total refinery in the UK, said he may bid for the Coryton site in Essex. Coryton refinery went bust at the start of this week and has run out of cash to pay for new crude oil supplies.