The Business Matrix: Saturday 3 March 2012



City Link drags down Rentokil

Rentokil Initial's attempt to jump-start its City Link parcels arm took a further knock yesterday after it posted more big losses for the Christmas quarter. The problems offset better trading in areas such as pest control, textiles and facilities services, leaving Rentokil annual profits down 4 per cent at £184m.

Morrisons addsto its family

Morrisons has moved four senior directors to work on expanding Kiddicare, the maternity website that the supermarket wants to take on and beat a struggling Mothercare and Tesco. It has also hired executives from Mothercare, Moda in Pelle, Autotrader and Boots as it prepares to grow.

Emerging markets give IMI a lift

The engineering giant IMI has reported a better-than-expected 19 per cent increase in 2011 profits to £363m, and said it was on track for further growth this year, as strength in emerging markets and the US offsets weakness in Europe. The company makes valves for drink dispensers and generating equipment.

Pretty Paris profit for Hammerson

Hammerson, which last week announced plans to sell its London office estate in order to focus on retail, has booked a substantial profit on the sale of buildings it acquired in Paris' luxury retail quarter in 2005. The site, occupied by designer brands such as Burberry and Moschino, fetched £138m.

Apple/Samsung cases dismissed

A German court has dismissed two cases brought by Apple and Samsung against each other as part of a global battle to dominate the smartphone market. The court decision covered claims over "slide-to-unlock" features and are among a flurry of patent disputes worldwide.

Building activity points to growth

The economy is on track to bounce back this quarter after the building industry's strongest growth for almost a year in February. The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply/Markit index, where a score over 50 signals growth, hit an 11-month high of 54.3 last month, led by a revival in commercial building.

Glaxo plans Japan vaccines venture

GlaxoSmithKline, Britain's biggest drug maker, has set out plans for a joint venture with Tokyo-based Daiichi Sankyo that will make it the largest vaccines company in Japan. The 50-50 venture will see new vaccines entering the Japanese market, known for its slow acceptance of drugs.

iPhone supplier Laird profits soar

Laird, the former shipbuilder that reinvented itself as a maker of parts for tablets and smartphones such as Apple's iPhone, saw a 31 per cent jump in profits to £53m last year as revenues rose 19 per cent to £491m. Laird is still looking for a chief executive to replace Peter Hill, who quit due to ill health last year.

Profits take off at flight firm BBA

The flight refuelling and ground handling firm BBA Aviation increased profits by 15 per cent to $170m (£107m), despite slower than expected growth in key markets. The London-based company employs 10,000 people and generates three-quarters of its profits in US dollars.

Masters of Wall Street

Blythe Masters, the British woman who runs JP Morgan's commodities division, has steered the department to record revenues exceeding $2.8bn (£1.8bn) in 2011, more than long-time industry leaders Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley.