The Business Matrix: Thursday 16 August 2012


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The Independent Online

Olympian footfall lift for Westfield

Westfield, the Australian property developer, said that 5.5 million people visited its shopping centre next to the Olympic park in East London during the Games.

The mall operator, which opened Westfield Stratford City in September 2011, boasted the Games gave the group "an unprecedented exposure to a global audience".

Facebook boosted by Soros's $10.6m

George Soros, the legendary investor, has spent more than $10m acquiring a stake in Facebook, signaling a rare vote of confidence in the social networking site after its troubled flotation in May. The billionaire purchased 341,000 of the social network's shares - worth $10.6m - in the second quarter but Facebook's share price has dropped by more than a third since then.

ENRC sees first-half profits tumble

The controversial Kazakh miner ENRC counted the cost of plunging metal prices yesterday as profits slumped and the group slashed its interim dividend. ENRC , tainted by a contentious mining deal in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, hacked back its 2012 spending plans for this year as first-half profits sank 41 per cent to £727m.

Balfour's focus on small after Games

Balfour Beatty, the builder of the London 2012 Aquatics Centre, yesterday said it was focusing on smaller projects in the UK as it prepares for a "post-Olympics world". The company's UK order book shrank by 3 per cent in the first half of the year against the backdrop of a struggling domestic construction market. But Balfour's profits jumped by 12 per cent to £156m.

Lookers drives to record revenues

The UK car dealership chainLookers has posted record half-year results, driven by strong sales of used cars and a robust performance from its parts division. Lookers, which owns the Scottish brand Taggarts, posted a 9.4 per cent rise in profits to £23.3m. Its revenues rose 3.1 per cent to £1.03bn.

GSK bags £172m from drugs sale

GlaxoSmithKline, Britain's biggest pharmaceuticals company, has pocketed £172m from the sale of 25 drugs to Australia's Aspen. It is part of the drug maker's clear-out of some of its smaller medicines and over-the-counter treatments. The brands it sold yesterday include the herpes treatment Valtrex.

BAT's investors fear Ozzie ruling

The tobacco industry's failure to overturn Australian legislation requiring cigarettes to be sold in plain packaging hit British American Tobacco. It fell 65.5p to 3,380p after Australia's High Court rejected an appeal claiming that the law was unconstitutional.

Heineken fails to hit profit targets

Booming sales to thirsty football fans during the Euro 2012 tournament were not enough to outweigh the wet weather for Carlsberg. The brewer, which usually fares well as Britons reach for beers in the summer, missed profit forecasts in the last quarter.