The Business Matrix: Thursday 19 April 2012


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The Independent Online

25% Vuitton profit rise is in the bag

Despite a slowdown in China and turmoil in Europe, the demand for monogrammed Louis Vuitton luggage and Marc Jacobs handbags is showing no signs of abating. The Paris-based luxury goods group Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy saw sales jump by 25 per cent in the first quarter, growing to £5.4bn.

Spirit drinks to rise in profits

The pub group Spirit, which includes the Chef & Brewer and Taylor Walker chains, reported a 7 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £20m yesterday and unveiled its first dividend – of 0.65p – since its demerger from Punch last year. Spirit said it had seen strong improvements in its managed estate of 800 pubs, driven by food sales.

Eurotunnel soars thanks to skiers

Strong bookings from British skiers and freight firms helped Eurotunnel to a 21 per cent jump in revenues to €222.5m (£182m) between January and March. That was triple the rate of growth at Eurostar, which operates the passenger trains between London and France, and which yesterday posted a 7 per cent rise in sales.

Phillip Wale joins Panmure Gordon

The stockbroker Panmure Gordon has poached Phillip Wale from City rival Seymour Pierce as its new chief executive. Mr Wale is expected to join the firm in July when its current chief executive Tim Linacre will become the chairman of investment banking. Ed Warner, Panmure's chairman, said he was delighted to have got Mr Wale.

Spend on advertising rises

Advertising spend has increased in the first three months of the year, the third consecutive quarter of growth, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising's (IPA) quarterly Bellwether Report found. The body said it was fresh evidence that the UK economy has managed to avoid falling back into recession.

14% lift for price comparison site

The price comparison website saw a 14 per cent increase in revenues in the first quarter of its financial year as its money and insurance division offset a weaker performance at its travel section. Its chief executive, Peter Plumb, said the group had "made a good start to 2012".

GNK's profits grow 17 per cent

The global engineering firm GKN said sales for the three months to the end of March were £1.74bn, up 17 per cent on the previous year. The group said a strong performance from recent acquisitions helped push up profits in the first quarter of the year by 17 per cent to £125m.

Bunzl increases revenue in Q1

The distribution firm Bunzl said revenues in the UK and Ireland increased in the first quarter of 2012 as recent acquisitions helped make up for the sluggish economy. Group revenues were up 4 per cent and discussions are continuing with a number of potential buy-out targets.

Haynes looks to e-books for boost

Haynes Publishing has started producing its 50 biggest selling car repair guides in an electronic format to take advantage of the boom in e-books. Haynes said sales of its guides in the UK fell nearly a quarter recently as demand from retailers fell.

Spanish banks' bad loans hit peak

Spanish banks' bad loans rose to their highest level since October 1994 in February, as the sector fought sliding house prices and a looming recession. Non-performing loans rose to €144bn in February, or 8.2 per cent of banks' credit portfolios.