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The Business Matrix: Thursday 31 October 2013

Miu Miu to launch perfumes in 2015

The Italian fashion house Prada is pushing its sister brand Miu Miu in an attempt to diversify away from its main line. It has agreed a deal with the global cosmetics giant Coty to create a perfume for Miu Miu, which was launched in 1993 by Prada chairman Miuccia Prada. The first fragrances will be in shops by 2015, it revealed yesterday.

Lookers drives up car sales by 20%

Lookers became the latest British car dealer to forecast better-than-expected profits on the back of resurgent car sales in its home market. The firm, which owns the Lookers, Taggarts and Charles Hurst brands, said that retail new car sales had risen by 19 per cent over the past months and used car volumes by 20 per cent.

Textbook market dips for Pearson

Pearson admitted that lower demand for college textbooks in the US, plus the impact of its £2.4bn merger of Penguin and Random House in the summer, would hit operating profits this year. But the world’s biggest publisher, which also owns the Financial Times, said group sales rose by 2 per cent in the first nine months of the year.

Servelec planning £140m flotation

The Sheffield-based technology Servelec has announced its intention to list on the London Stock Exchange in what would be the biggest flotation for Britain’s technology sector in three years. Analysts expect the company, which has 500 staff and is currently owned by Singapore’s CSE  Group, to be valued at up to £140m.

Petrofac in $650m Algeria gas deal

Petrofac announced yesterday that it had won a 32-month contract to lead a partnership with Italian contractor Bonatti  to extend the life of the Alrar gas field for Sonatrach in south-east Algeria. Analysts at Liberum said the $650m (£404m) deal “confirms Petrofac’s strong position in Algeria”.

Deadline day for self-assessment

Today is the deadline for filing self-assessment tax forms on paper for the tax year ended  5 April 2012 – known as tax year 2011-12.  Taxpayers still have the option of filing their self-assessment returns to HM Revenue and Customs online; in which case the deadline is extended to 31 January 2014.

Treasury picks White for top job

Sharon White has been named the new Second Permanent Secretary to the Treasury with responsibility for managing the public finances, including fiscal consolidation. Ms White is currently director-general for public services and will take up her new role next week.

Banks extend help to Albemarle

The pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond was granted a stay of execution as lenders agreed to extend its covenant deadline by four months. The firm has been struggling under a £50m debt mountain which it must reduce to avoid breaching covenants linked to debt-to-sales ratios.

CPP’s mis-selling bill rises by £1.8m

The credit-card insurer CPP has set aside another £1.8m to compensate customers who were mis-sold products. Shares in the firm fell by 12 per cent yesterday after it warned that revenues had dipped by 38 per cent since the summer.

Invesco reduces stake in Rentokil

Rentokil’s largest shareholder Invesco Perpetual is looking to sell £217m ($348.85m) of shares in the pest controller. It has hired Deutsche Bank to help sell 194 million of its 454 million shares, taking reducing its holding from 25 to 14 per cent.

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