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The Business Matrix: Thursday 15 November 2012


Amplats to post a slump in profits

With the platinum miner continuing to be hit by wildcat strikes in South Africa, Amplats – majority owned by Anglo American – has admitted that profits for the year will drop by more than a fifth. The miner has also been hit by a fall in the price of the metal. A labour leader in South Africa said Amplats has made a new offer to strikers.

Norton Rose seals deal with US firm

The chief executive of the London-based legal group Norton Rose has predicted the emergence of "15 or 20 truly global law firms" after announcing a merger with the US group Fulbright & Jaworski. Peter Martyr said that the combination will create the world's third biggest law firm. The sector now favours one-stop-shops.

Interserve toasts £100m contract

The builder Interserve has landed a deal worth a potential £100m for repairs and maintenance on 13,000 homes across east London and Essex from the East Thames Group, one of the largest housing associations in the area. The contract lasts for seven years initially but may be extended for a further eight.

Italy lifted by sale of €3.5bn bonds

Italy was boosted by selling three-year bonds at the lowest rate in more than two years. The country's treasury also capitalised on rising demand for its debt by auctioning securities with a maturity longer than 15 years. Italy sold €3.5bn of its three-year bonds yesterday.

Barclays to hand over Libor details

Barclays has been told by a judge that it must hand over board meeting minutes, as part of proceedings in a court case from the Libor manipulation scandal. The bank must give these documents to Guardian Care Homes, which is suing it.

Great Portland raises £140m

The London landlord Great Portland Estates tapped investors for £140m yesterday as it readied itself to snap up more potential bargains in the booming West End property market, which it said had £2.6bn in buildings up for sale.

BT buys Tikit for nearly £65m

BT has spent £64.2m on the acquisition of Tikit, an IT group that works mainly with law and accountancy firms. At 416p a share, Tikit's price is 18 per cent higher than it was before the deal was announced. Investec advised Tikit; Bank of America Merrill Lynch acted for BT.

King stands by money-printing

Sir Mervyn King stood by the Bank of England's £375bn money-printing programme yesterday as he left the door open for more stimulus to help the recovery. The Governor quashed speculation that the Bank's monetary policy committee had wrapped up quantitative easing.

Most UK starts-up come from capital

Three in four British business start-ups are based in London, figures show. In the year to 31 October 481,195 new companies were registered, of which 359,640 were in London, Companies House said. The figures emerged as the Enterprise minister, Michael Fallon, kicked off National Start-Up Day to "unlock entrepreneurs' potential".

Ireland may need more bailouts

Ireland will need more bailout funds when its current programme ends next year, the credit ratings agency Moody's has warned. Ireland was the first bailed-out euro country to make a successful return to borrowing on financial markets, enabling it to slice €10bn off its funding requirements. But it might need more loans.