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The Business Matrix: Thursday 27 September 2012

Shell warning on Nigerian Bill

Shell has warned it thinks the tax terms in a landmark Nigerian oil bill are so uncompetitive, they risk rendering offshore oil and gas projects unviable. Parliament is expected to start debating the bill, which is proposing a new, and retrospective, 50 per cent tax levy on deepwater exploration projects, over the next few weeks.

Homeserve probe 'could last months'

Homeserve, the provider of cover for burst pipes and broken boilers, has said it expects the investigation into it by the Financial Services Authority which began in May to "take a number of months". The inquiry could force it to pay compensation. It expects its client base to have fallen to 2.5 million but that its profit would be up. on last year's.

Olympics legacy project for Atkins

WS Atkins said its UK business had received a boost after being appointed for a legacy project for the Olympics site. But the engineer, which warned over profits last month due to weak demand in the US and delays in the Middle East, said first half trading in America and the Middle East remained under pressure.

Mizkan offers Premier trade-off

Mizkan has offered to sell its David Letterman factory in Staffordshire in order to meet competition concerns over its deal to buy the Premier Foods vinegar and pickles businesses. The companies are the two leading suppliers of malt and spirit vinegars in the UK, especially to food processor customers and supermarkets.

Kingfisher opens 1,000th store

Kingfisher, the owner of the DIY chain B&Q, will today hail an "important milestone" in its 30-year history when it opens its 1,000th store globally in Lublin, Poland. Kingfisher, which operates in eight countries, sees scope to expand in developing markets such as Poland, Turkey and Russia.

PriceGrabber still up for grabs

The information services firm Experian said it remained committed to selling PriceGrabber, its price comparison shopping business, and its North America online lead generation activities after potential buyer Ybrant Digital failed to meet a deadline for completion of a deal agreed in May.

No Olympics surge for Domino's

Domino's Pizza did not see an expected surge in people ordering pizza while watching the Olympics, and posted a slowdown in sales growth in its third quarter, from 8 per cent to just under 4 per cent. But the pizza delivery company did report a spike in online and mobile phone orders.

Slowdown to hit Shanks profits

Shanks has warned its profits will be hit by a slowdown in its "solid waste" business, which sorts commercial, construction and household refuse. The waste disposal group blamed record lows in construction output and recession in northern Europe. Its shares fell 12 per cent.

Shepherd Neame toasts profits leap

Shepherd Neame saw a 40 per cent leap in profits last year as it sold record volumes of beers including Spitfire and Asahi Super Dry and enjoyed record sales from its 354 pubs. Profits rose to £9m as sales climbed 9 per cent to £133m.

Pay settlements remain stable

Pay rises have been stable in recent months despite uncertainty over the economy, with median settlements worth 2.5 per cent, according to Income Data Services research. RPI inflation, meanwhile, has fallen below 3 per cent this year.

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