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The Business Matrix: Thursday 14 November 2013


Drax set to beat forecast earnings

Drax, the power station group based in Yorkshire, said it would beat City forecasts for full-year earnings thanks to strong demand for electricity and an encouraging performance from its first biomass burning unit. Shares in the group, which is looking to convert three of its six units from coal to biomass, rose 16.5p to 653p.

Esure’s premiums up 4.8% this year

The general insurance company Esure reported a rise in gross written premiums of 1.7 per cent to £161.5m in the third quarter yesterday, despite a “very competitive UK motor market”. The Sheilas’ Wheels and Esure parent, based in Reigate, Surrey, said premiums rose 4.8 per cent overall in the first nine months, to £427m.

Kier builds up £450m in orders

Kier, which acquired May Gurney in July, said order books in construction and services were robust as it continues to trade in line with expectations. It experienced inflationary pressures in construction, but remains focused on delivering cost savings. Ahead of its annual meeting today Kier said it had £450m in business since July.

Carlsberg shines in autumn sun 

Better weather in early autumn helped lift profits at Danish brewer Carlsberg in its third quarter. Western Europe sales moved ahead in the conditions but Carlsberg said Eastern Europe and Russian trading remains tough. Revenues fell 3 per cent to 18bn Danish kroner (£2bn) while profits rose the same amount to 2.2bn kroner.

CBRE pays £250m to buy Norland

Property giant CBRE agreed yesterday to buy support firm Norland Managed Services for £250m. Norland, which was founded in London almost 30 years ago, specialises in support services for commercial landlords. The company is majority owned by Williams Investment Management.

CBI to shift base  to City of London

The CBI is set to shift its London headquarters east into the City when it abandons its home of 30 years in Centre Point in Oxford Street. Industry sources say the CBI is eyeing a new headquarters above Cannon Street station. Centre Point’s new owner plans to convert it into luxury flats.

Blankfein regrets Abacus deal

Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs said he regrets the bank’s involvement in the complex financial products in the run-up to the 2008 financial crash. Goldman paid $550m to the Securities and Exchange Commission over its collateralised debt obligation vehicle Abacus.

Capital gains  for British Land

British Land is benefiting from its greater exposure to the West End, where values have risen 6 per cent in the six months to September. It has filled its 10 Brock Street building near Euston after a major letting to Facebook. Its City offices have risen 3.6 per cent.

Provinces play  hi-tech catch-up

London is the centre of the UK’s technology sector, according to Deloitte – but the rest of the country is catching up. Companies based in the capital made up 40 per cent of the auditor’s latest Fast Fifty list of the UK’s fastest-growing techno firms.

Centurion buys Finnish explorer

Centurion Resources, via a reverse takeover, has bought Finnish copper and nickel explorer FinnAust Mining for £7.7m from ASX-listed Western Areas. Centurion placed new shares at 0.5p each to raise £3.4m to fund developments.