The Business Matrix: Thursday 25 April 2013

 

Eurotunnel sees revenues rise 8%

Eurotunnel brushed off the snowy start to the year and the lack of an "Olympics factor" to post an 8 per cent rise in revenues to €238.3m (£203m) for the first three months of the year. A boost from freight traffic between Britain and Europe helped to push revenues higher. It also saw a record number of vehicles board its shuttles.

Kier agrees £221m May Gurney bid

The British construction company Kier Group has agreed a £221m bid for the infrastructure and maintenance company May Gurney trumping a rival offer from Costain. Brokerages Liberum and Whitman Howard said the bid was a "knockout" blow that made the chances of a new, higher offer from Costain slim.

Heathrow traffic is really taking off

Record numbers of passengers and higher fees in the first three months of this year helped Heathrow Airport narrow its losses by 15 per cent to £196m. The airport, which is full to capacity and cannot accept more planes, saw passenger traffic increase to 16 million between January and March, beating 2012's record for the first quarter.

N Brown boss leaves on a high

The chief executive of N Brown signed off his last results at the catalogue and online retailer with rising profits and confidence about growth. Alan White, who steps down in July, said it grew profits by 2.6 per cent to £96.4m in the year to 2 March. Sales rose 6 per cent to £784.7m, with online revenue accounting for half of that.

Standard Life sees cash inflow

Flows of money into Standard Life more than doubled during the first quarter of the year after the company strengthened its foothold overseas. The insurer benefited from a rise in foreign investment as its assets under administration rose 7 per cent to £233.1bn. Net inflows hit £2.8bn vs £1.1bn the year before.

Asos architect to depart

One of the architects of Asos's growth over the past decade is to step down from the online retailer. Its international director, Jon Kamaluddin, is to leave the board in October and exit the clothing specialist by December. Asos increased its sales abroad by 45 per cent to £111m over the quarter to the end of February.

Dividend boost from Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse expects to restart paying cash dividends out of earnings rather than reserves this year after first-quarter profits jumped sharply. The bank has dipped into its reserves to pay dividends for the last three years. It reported post-tax profits of Swfr 1.3 billion (£907m).

Boeing shrugs off Dreamliner woes

Boeing's first-quarter earnings jumped nearly 20 per cent, handily beating analysts' estimates and showing little impact from the 787 Dreamliner battery problems. Cost-cutting and higher profit margins more than offset a small decline in sales.

General Electric boss keeps titles

General Electric shareholders have rejected a proposal to split the roles of chairman and chief executive, jobs currently held by Jeff Immelt. The proposal received roughly 25 per cent of votes at a meeting in New Orleans.

Chocolate maker's sales milestone

Thorntons' sales of chocolates to supermarkets have overtaken those in its own stores, helping it to record a 4 per cent rise in turnover since the start of the year. The Derbyshire firm's total sales came in at £60.6m for the 14 weeks to 20 April.

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