The Business Matrix: Thursday 4 September 2014


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Rising pork prices boost Genus

Rising pork prices and a big new 24,000 sow farm in China prompted cow and pig breeder Genus to yesterday say it looks forward to 2015 with confidence. It has suffered from lower demand recently and full year profits dipped 8 per cent to £39.3m on the strength of sterling. The dividend climbed 10 per cent to 17.7p a share.

Australia growth rate is halved

Australia’s growth rate halved in the second quarter on the back of lower global commodity prices and a strengthening currency. GDP grew by 0.5 per cent in the three months to June, down from a 1.1 per cent expansion in the first quarter. The Australian dollar has averaged 99 US cents over the past three years.

Profits cheer for Spirit Pubs

Spirit Pub Company outperformed the market in the final 12 weeks of its financial year and told investors that profits would be better than expected. “We had a great final quarter even though the weather was much worse this summer,” said chief executive Mike Tye. “Volume growth was across all our brands.”

World Cup boost for Goals centres

The US’s burgeoning love affair with football, sparked by Tim Howard and the US team’s exhilarating World Cup run, has handed the long-term prospects of 5-a-side specialist Goals Soccer Centres a boost. The football pitch operator has a centre in Los Angeles and plans to open a further site in the West Coast city next year.

Clients boom for Hargreaves

As more and more people choose to look after their own wealth and retirement, Hargreaves Lansdown, the country’s biggest “private investor supermarket”, saw a surge in client numbers in the last year. It gained 144,000 new clients up from 76,000 in the previous year.

Michelmersh in new brick service 

Building supplier Michelmersh has launched a bespoke order service it hopes will satisfy the industry’s insatiable demand for bricks. A boom in constructions projects across the country, fuelled by initiatives like Help to Buy, has led to housebuilders warning they are being held back by a shortage of supplies.

McCarthy plans land swoop

Retirement homes builder McCarthy & Stone, which is expected to make its return to the stock market soon, has lifted its investment plans saying it would spend £2bn on land and building over the next four years. That is up from the £1.5bn forecast a year ago.

Virgin axes routes in favour of US

Virgin Atlantic will stop flying to Tokyo, Mumbai, Vancouver and Cape Town and operate new routes to Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Miami and San Francisco. Chief executive Craig Kreeger said: “Transatlantic has always been at the heart of our network.”

Trade barriers a threat to recovery

A rising tide of protectionism is threatening to de-rail the global economic recovery, the chairman of Lloyd’s of London warned last night. John Nelson said increasing trade barriers were to blame for cross border capital flows falling.

£110m fines for chip price-fixing

EU competition regulators have fined Philips, Samsung Electronics and Infineon Technologies a total of €138m (£110m) for fixing prices of chips used in mobile Sim cards. Brussels said the cartel took place between 2003 and 2005.