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The Business Matrix: Saturday 9 March 2013


Women's day on Wall Street

Rebecca Jarvis, Wall Street reporter for CBS, rang the opening bell on the New York Stock Exchange to start trading yesterday. As she chaired a panel in New York discussing entrepreneurship and the economy, other NYSE Euronext exchanges such as Paris and Amsterdam also turned to local female leaders to open or close trading.

Second bids for Côte Brasserie

Private equity firms will this week submit second-round bids to acquire Côte Brasserie, the French restaurants chain backed by the business tycoon Richard Caring, for at least £120m. TA Associates and Investcorp are among the four bidders seeking to acquire the fast-growing company, which has nearly 40 restaurants.

Builders looking at another dip

Builders were snowed under in January as the sector's recent revival threatens to be short-lived. The construction industry saw a 6.3 per cent slide in output, according to the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply, putting the industry in danger of a plunge back into the red.

Crossrail good for Marshalls group

Paving group Marshalls is hoping to put the wet weather of 2012 behind it, and profit from its growing involvement in London's Crossrail and the early signs of a pick-up in private housebuilding. Profits last year fell to £10.4m from £13.7m on revenues that were down 7 per cent at £310m.

Greek Coke bottler to list in London

UK authorities have approved a voluntary share exchange that will allow the Greek Coke bottler Coca-Cola Hellenic (CCH) to move from Greece to Switzerland and list in London. CCH said last year it would move its base from Greece to Switzerland and switch its premier listing from Athens to London.

Housing slump hits Aga cookers

A sluggish housing market and cautious consumer spending made 2012 a tough year for the cookers group Aga Rangemaster. Sales dropped 2.5 per cent last year to £247m but pre-tax profits still moved up 12 per cent to £8.4m. The firm's chief executive said cost cuts were likely to show results this year.

John Lewis profits continue to rise

John Lewis said its underlying performance remained “extremely strong”, with sales up 13.3 per cent in the week to last Saturday. The retailer, which this week announced a staff bonus equal to nine weeks' salary, said the haul of £64.3m was driven by demand in electricals.

L&G loans £102m for social housing

Legal & General has launched its push into the social housing sector by agreeing a £102m, 15-year loan facility to Hyde Group, which owns or manages about 49,000 properties. L&G said the borrowing needs of the sector were in line with the nature of its own long-term liabilities.

Demand up for photo booths

Photo-booths and amusement machines firm Photo-Me International said profitability in its traditionally slowest quarter between November and January has been substantially better than a year earlier, despite currency headwinds.

Vodafone wins New Zealand deal

Vodafone has been chosen to deliver mobile services and smartphones to more than 6,000 frontline police officers in New Zealand. Over the next 10 years the service will spend NZ$159m (£88m) to fund the roll-out of the new technology.