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The Business Matrix: Thursday 27 February 2014

Gatwick’s £30m for flood defences

Gatwick has put aside £30m to improve its flood defences. The London airport set up a review after floods hit its electricity substations on Christmas Eve, forcing it to cancel 145 flights (pictured). Gatwick said it would accept the recommendations for flood plans and ways it can help passengers affected by disruptions in future.

Confidence spurs business investors

Rising confidence is prompting companies to pump more cash into their businesses as household spending slows down. Spending on factories and plant drove a 2.4 per cent rise in business investment in the final quarter of 2013, which contributed 0.2 percentage points of the economy’s overall 0.7 per cent growth.

Three bailed on fraud charges 

Three former Barclays bankers appeared in Westminster Magistrates Court yesterday charged with conspiracy to defraud for their role in the alleged fixing of the Libor rate. Peter Johnson, 59, Jonathan Mathew, 33, and Stylianos Contogoulas, 42, were granted bail until they appear at Southwark Crown Court next Monday.

Forex fined £4m for ‘unfair profits’

The currency trader Forex Capital Markets has been fined £4m by the Financial Conduct Authority for making “unfair profits”. The City watchdog said that, between 2006- 2010, the trader had withheld profits made from favourable market movements worth about £6m but passed on losses in full to customers.

39% profits boost for Taylor Wimpey

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey said its UK business performed at the upper end of expectations in 2013 as the sale of 11,696 homes at an average price of £191,000 helped operating profit rise 39 per cent to £312.8m. The value of its order book grew 31 per cent to £1.25bn by the end of the year.

Stagecoach rides the winter storms

Stagecoach said there was no significant change to earnings per share expectations for the year to April, despite the impact of severe weather on its operations in the United States and UK. Bus passenger volumes in the UK grew 1.2 per cent in the first 42 weeks of the year, helping revenues to rise 4.6 per cent.

Tasty profits for Restaurant Group

The Restaurant Group, which operates 440 sites under brands including Frankie & Benny’s, Chiquito and Garfunkel’s, said profits rose 13 per cent to £72.7m in 2013 after like-for-like sales improved 3.5 per cent. The trend has continued in the first eight weeks of the new year.

Blackwell set to float Scholium

Philip Blackwell, a scion of the Blackwell bookstores family, is looking to list his Scholium Group on the London Stock Exchange to raise £10m. Scholium runs specialist bookstores such as Shapero Rare Books and is looking to expand business to meet demand from collectors.

Greggs looks to beef up breakfast

Greggs is looking to cash in on time-poor commuters by providing more breakfasts as it tries to move away from its image as a sausage roll emporium. The baker also blamed poor weather as it posted a 19 per cent fall in profits last year to £41m.

Warning on UK productivity 

The Bank of England’s rate-setter Ben Broadbent hinted at a more hawkish outlook for interest rates yesterday as he warned there was “no inevitability” that the UK could recover from blows to productivity dealt by the recession.

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