The Business Matrix: Thursday 2 May 2013


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The Independent Online

Weak exports hit manufacturers

A shock setback for China's manufacturers in April has fuelled concerns over the world's second-biggest economy, after figures revealed a slower-than-expected start to the year. Falling export orders were the main culprit for the decline in the sector's official purchasing managers index from March's 11-month high to 50.6.

Nationwide lifts market hopes

Nationwide shrugged off the first monthly fall in house prices since last September yesterday, saying the market would regain momentum. House prices fell 0.1 per cent in April, taking the cost of the average home to £165,586. However, the market is 0.9 per cent ahead of where it was a year ago, and Nationwide says more growth is on the way.

Antofagasta cops a copper fillip

The FTSE 100 miner Antofagasta has increased copper production in the first three months of the year. Despite poor economic data from China, the world's biggest consumer of copper, production at Antofagasta rose 13 per cent. The £9bn group first raised money in London in 1888 to build and run a railway from a port in Chile.

Aldermore turns maiden profit

Challenger bank Aldermore has made its first profit since it was founded three years ago. The bank, backed by private-equity giant AnaCap, turned in a profit of £759,000 last year against losses of £892,000 in 2011. More impressively it expanded its loan books – almost entirely mortgages and SME loans – by 77 per cent to £2.5bn.

Markets surge lifts Henderson

The surge in stock markets this year has helped boost fund manager Henderson's first-quarter results. As more investors turn to equities, assets under management rose £3.2bn to £68.9bn despite net outflows of £1.3bn. In retail funds Henderson saw net inflows of £188m, the first positive quarter for two years.

NIESR forecasts 0.9% growth

The economy will grow by 0.9 per cent in 2013, rising to 1.5 per cent in 2014, according to forecasts from the National Institute for Economic and Social Research. Its prediction for this year is slightly higher than its February forecast of 0.7 per cent, but it expects joblessness to remain flat for two years.

Meggitt shrugs off budget cuts

Aircraft parts maker Meggitt shrugged off uncertainty over defence budgets yesterday, reporting a "modest" growth in revenues this year. It forecasted "mid-single-digit" growth this year, thanks mainly to an expected rise in demand for after-market maintenance contracts.

Makers' march 'on its way'

The "march of the makers" predicted by George Osborne two years ago may finally be on the way, the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply said yesterday. Its latest snapshot of manufacturing health, where a score over 50 signals growth, improved to 49.8 in April.

HMRC challenges Sportech ruling

The Inland Revenue is appealing against a court ruling that would force it to hand back £40m in VAT to the gaming company. Sportech. The Football Pools owner won a four-year battle with HMRC in March over charges on its Spot the Ball game.

Bank chairman ditches Weir role

The chairman of the Green Investment Bank has given up the same role at Weir Group, the FTSE 100 manufacturer of turbines. Lord Smith of Kelvin will step down at the end of 2013 to be replaced by Charles Berry, chairman at power station Drax.