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The Business Matrix: Thursday 20 December 2012

Superstorm may cost Lloyd’s £1.5bn

Lloyd’s of London has warned that Superstorm Sandy, which devastated parts of the US east coast in October, could cost it up to $2.5bn (£1.5bn). Sandy is expected to cost the global industry up to $25bn. Lloyd’s disclosure comes a day after Catlin, Hiscox and Novae admitted that the disaster was likely to cost them more than $300m.

Colt cuts 200 jobs in ‘legacy’ areas

Colt is axing more than 200 staff as the business-focused telecoms firm moves into growth areas such as cloud computing and IT and reduces involvement in “legacy” voice and data services. As well as cutting “legacy” jobs, the group will take an exceptional one-off charge of up to €33m (£27m), which should save up to €27m a year from 2014.

Whyte & Mackay profits up by third

Profits at the Scotch whisky maker Whyte & Mackay jumped more than a third last year. The firm is owned by India’s United Distillers, which faces a takeover bid from rival drinks giant Diageo. Whyte & Mackay, which also owns the Jura and Dalmore brands, made a profit of £15.3m on sales which were up 35 per cent.

Balfour Beatty wins £1.2bn deal

Balfour Beatty has been awarded two eight-year contracts with National Grid to upgrade the UK’s ageing gas distribution network, as part of a national renewal plan. The contracts, worth £1.2bn, will replace old metal pipes in the North-west and West Midlands with modern polyethylene gas distribution mains.

Private market expected to grow

Gatwick-based Air Partner, which provides air charter services for industry, governments and individuals, said that despite a sluggish economic outlook it expected the private aviation market to keep growing in 2013, particularly among corporate users, who have shown increased interest this year.

National Grid to renew gas system

The energy grid operator National Grid has awarded four eight-year contracts worth a total of £3.1bn to upgrade its gas distribution systems in the North-west, Midlands, East and London. Two of the contracts went to Balfour Beatty, one to Morrison Utility Services and one to the Swedish engineering company Skanska.

BA announces Chengdu service

British Airways has announced the launch of a three-times-a-week service to the key growth city of Chengdu in China from London’s Heathrow Airport. The UK’s national carrier said the new route, which opens next September, will be served by four-cabin Boeing 777 aircraft.

Stagecoach rolls out £3.9m bus fleet

Stagecoach has begun taking delivery of more than 30 new buses to go into service at its recently acquired Wigan and South Lancashire bus operations, which employs 300 people. The £3.9m fleet was made in the UK by Falkirk-based firm Alexander Dennis.

IMF urges Ireland to halt austerity

Ireland should halt its austerity measures if it starts to miss its economic growth target in 2013, the International Monetary Fund has said. The statement came as Ireland’s economic output in the country rose 0.2 per cent in the third quarter.

Berendsen to report progress

FTSE 250 textile services company Berendsen, which trades as Sunlight, formerly a laundry company, in the UK, said it expects to report good year on year progress in 2012 after its higher margin facilities business delivered revenues growth in excess of the group average and ahead of expectations.

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