The Business Matrix: Thursday 29 August 2013


Paddy Power  beats the odds

Paddy Power managed to lift interim profits 12 per cent to £66m despite suffering a poor Cheltenham in March as favourite Bobs Worth claimed the Gold Cup. The bookie struck back with a 66/1 winner of the Grand National and a succession of shock football results, but took another hit thanks to Andy Murray’s Wimbledon triumph.

Crude prices hit  six-month high

Oil prices hit a six month high amid worries over a US-led strike on Syria. Benchmark Brent crude hit $117.34 a barrel intraday as the prospect of an attack on Syria fuelled concerns over the security of supplies across the Middle East, which pumps a third of the world’s oil. Gold also hit a three month high of $1,430 an ounce.

Grafton looks to  a London listing

The builders merchants and DIY business Grafton is looking at moving its shares listing from Dublin to London now that three quarters of its revenues are generated in the UK. It has appointed Numis as joint broker with Dublin’s Goodbody. Its profits almost quadrupled to £52m in the first half as the UK housing market took off.

Dyson on board at InterContinental

Ian Dyson, the former finance director of Marks & Spencer has added to his growing portfolio of non-executive roles by joining the board of InterContinental Hotels. He will join the operator of the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotels next week. He recently took a board role at the online fashion retailer Asos and is also on Betfair’s board.

Polymetal crashes to $255m loss

Russia’s biggest silver producer Polymetal crashed to a first half loss of $255m (£164m) as the firm wrote off more than $300m and scrapped capital spending following a 15 per cent slide in the gold price and an 18 per cent fall in silver prices since the start of the year. Underlying results were hit by higher costs and lower sales.

Warner calls in administrators

Debt-laden property company Warner Estate called in administrators yesterday. The firm, which operates a fund owning 42 commericial sites, is likely to be sold to rival Hansteen Holdings after backer Aviva Investors withdrew its support. All Warner’s 95 staff should should be able to transfer to Hansteen.

888 hits the online jackpot

The online gaming firm 888 toasted a 7 per cent rise in revenues to a record £129m  in the first half of the year. The company boosted both casino and poker revenues by 13 per cent and enjoyed successful launches in Spanish and Italian markets.

Spending cuts  hit Chemring

Chemring said revenues were hammered by shrinking and  delayed spending by governments, including the US. The defence equipment group said revenues in the three months to the end of July were 13.5 per cent lower than a year earlier  at £143m.

Modelzone fails  to find buyer

Administrators Deloitte are closing 18 remaining Modelzone stores with another 126 job losses after failing to find a buyer for the failed toy and model retailer. The loss-making firm called in administrators in June. It employed 385 staff when it collapsed.

Meggitt buys US sensor company

Meggitt is buying a US sensor company for £26.5m. The company said Piezotech will bolster its work in areas ranging from gas turbines and drilling to ultrasound. It will be run as a standalone operation from its Indiana and Colorado sites.