The Business Matrix: Thursday 22 May 2014


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Tiffany sparkles in 50% profit rise

New York based jeweller Tiffany & Co posted a 50 per cent jump in first-quarter profit to $125.6m, yesterday beating expectations. Sales for the  three months to May were up  13 per cent on the previous year to $1.01bn, boosted by double digit sales growth in its Asia Pacific region and Japan. Shares lifted 10 per cent.

Google poised for foreign takeovers

Google sparked excitement in the tech world with news that it has set aside $30bn (£18bn) for foreign takeovers. The disclosure was made in a letter, which emerged yesterday but was written last year, to the US Securities and Exchange Commission in which it revealed it had almost made a major overseas acquisition late last year.

Saga cuts price range for IPO

Saga’s flotation will be priced towards the bottom end of expectations after the company narrowed its range for tomorrow’s debut. The group had previously set a range of 185p to 245p, but it yesterday reduced to this to 185p to 205p. The retail offering has seen “exceptional demand”, its chairman, Andrew Goodsell, said.

Netflix sets its sights on Europe

The TV and film streaming service Netflix plans to expand in Europe entering another six countries by the end of this year. The US firm said it would open up in Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg. Analysts cautioned that its success would depend in part on how much Netflix spent on dubbing.

New deals pay off for Telecom Plus

Shares in the cut-price utlities reseller Telecom Plus jumped 11 per cent after it said it should manage a near 50 per cent profits leap this year. Profits rose 25 per cent to £44.6m for the year to the end of March, helped by a rise in customer numbers and new energy supply deals with Npower.

BP seeks review of US court order

BP is to ask the US Supreme Court to review a court ruling concerning the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, which forces it to pay some businesses for economic damages without firms having to prove the spill caused their losses. A New Orleans court rejected BP’s appeal earlier this week.

Chinese police in JPMorgan inquiry

Fang Fang, a former top banker at JPMorgan in Hong Kong, has been questioned by Chinese police investigating allegations that the US bank hired “princelings”, relatives of top Chinese officials, to help secure business. The bank and Mr Fang are not accused of wrongdoing.

Fed discusses how to raise rates

The US Federal Reserve began to discuss last month how it would start raising interest rates, though the rate-setters emphasised that their talks  did not herald an imminent  rise. Minutes of the central bank’s April meeting were released yesterday.

Smartphones bet boosts Lenovo

Chinese tech giant Lenovo has posted a 29 per cent in annual profits to $820m, helped by its bet on smartphones. The company is now the world’s fourth-biggest smartphone seller after buying Motorola Moility from Google.

Change of plan at Stobart brings loss

Stobart announced a pre-tax operating loss of £10.2m for 2013 yesterday. The company, whose shares rose 1p at 136.5p, last year sold a controlling stake in its trucking business Eddie Stobart, to focus on infrastructure and support services.