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The Business Matrix: Thursday 13 February 2014

Prada sales hit by strength of euro

Prada missed analysts’ sales forecasts in the year to January, €3.6bn (£3bn). The Italian luxury goods firm said sales were hurt by economic weakness in Europe and the strength of the euro. European sales grew just 5 per cent, sales in Asia and the Americas by 11 per cent each, and in Japan  by 24 per cent.

Double digit growth at Telecity

Telecity increased its dividend by 40 per cent as it revealed double-digit growth in both revenues and profit for 2013. Telecity, whose data centres provide the backbone to internet traffic and the telecoms industry, announced a 16 per cent jump in profits last year to £97.4m, as revenues rose 15 per cent to £325.6m.

Atkins unveils pension plans

WS Atkins has unveiled plans to tackle the £430m “black hole” in its pension fund. The engineer, which is working on Crossrail project in London, said the Government’s infrastructure programme was underpinning demand for its services but turnover was again expected to be flat in the full-year to March, at about £1.7bn.

Caroline Silver joins Cussons

The soap and shampoo maker PZ Cussons has appointed the leading City deal maker Caroline Silver as a non-executive director.  Ms Silver, a partner at the investment bank Moelis, is one of the highest profile women in the square mile and helped sell the London Metal Exchange to the Chinese for a hefty £1.4bn.

Warning from Speedy Hire

Speedy Hire, the tool firm hit by accounting irregularities in its international unit, warned that trading in that unit was running behind expectations. It said the UK business had seen a 3.3 per cent rise in revenues in the past five months. An investigation into the problems is near completion, it added.

Cressida Hogg departs from 3i

Cressida Hogg, the founder of 3i’s infrastructure business, has left the listed private equity group to join the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, one of the world’s biggest pension fund investors. Ms Hogg spent almost two decades at 3i, becoming managing partner in 2009.

Joint venture wins £900m contract

A joint venture between engineers Costain and Babcock International, together with French transport firm Alstom, has won a £900m contract to work on Network Rail’s £2bn programme to electrify more than 2,000 miles of UK railways over the next seven years.

Designer outlet hits million mark

More than one million shoppers have visited Quintain Estates’ London Designer Outlet in Wembley since it opened at the end of October. The outlet centre was now 87 per cent let, with recent openings including LK Bennett, The Body Shop and Rockport.

Bond auctions to be resumed

Ireland will resume regular bond auctions next month for the first time since its 2010 bailout and may try to convince some investors to swap existing bonds, to avoid a spike in repayments in 2016, the debt agency said yesterday.

Wolseley buys into Finland

Plumb Center and Pipe Center parent Wolseley is buying a building materials business in Finland with 23 branches and 400 employees. It said the business, called Puukeskus, made a trading profit of about £4m in 2013.

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