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The Business Matrix: Thursday 5 December 2013


M&S in store deal with St Modwen

St Modwen Properties has pre-let a 150,000 sq ft store to Marks & Spencer for the second part of its £1bn revamp of the former MG Rover site at Longbridge in Birmingham. The store should be open by Christmas 2015. The deal, and the recent sale of its Elephant & Castle site in London, prompted St Modwen to raise its profit forecasts.

EE brings 4G to  10 more towns

Mobile phone company EE has rolled out 4G in 10 more towns and cities, bringing the total to 141. The service went live in Bath, Bournemouth, Brighton, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Cambridge, Darlington, Northampton, Portsmouth, Poole and Redcar. It expects a further 19 towns and cities will be covered by Christmas.

Ford set to unveil new Mustang

Ford bosses are today expected to unveil the next-generation Mustang, the first complete overhaul of the car since 2005, which is intended to broaden the model’s appeal beyond its core American audience. The Mustang (left) was the first of the US “pony” cars, designed to appeal to drivers wanting sporty, but roomy vehicles.

Plan to split up Westfield Group

Westfield – the Australian owner of major shopping centres in Shepherd’s Bush and Stratford – advanced plans to split itself up today. The group is hiving off its Australian and New Zealand centres into a new company called Scentre Group. Westfield Group will be renamed Westfield Corporation, concentrating on overseas assets.

Rising markets boost Brewin

The new management team at wealth manager Brewin Dolphin, under chief executive David Nicol, delivered a  22 per cent rise in profits to £9.4m for the year ending September. Brewin’s funds under management rose from £25.9bn to £28.2bn, largely thanks to rising markets.

Ambitious targets for Old Mutual

Old Mutual set itself ambitious growth targets as it looks to boost profits in fast-growing regions such as Africa. The  FTSE 100 company said it hoped to have 9 million customers in emerging markets by 2015 and wants to improve the performance of its general insurance business.

Profits edge upwards at Sage 

Sage, which supplies software to more than 6 million businesses and employs 13,000 people worldwide, said its annual profits rose 1 per cent to £361m. Organic revenues grew by  4 per cent and the company remains on target for a rise of  6 per cent in 2015.

Order book is a Christmas cracker

The gift wrap and Christmas cracker maker International Greetings said an improved performance in the UK and Europe and a strong order book in the US helped half-yearly profits rise by 7.9 per cent to £3.5m. Sales were in line with expectations at £113.6m.

Bridgepoint buys CET for £185m

Cambridge Education Group, which provides foundation programmes and English language training for international students wishing to prepare for university, is to be acquired by private equity firm Bridgepoint in a £185m deal.

Torex Retail faces investigation

The Financial Reporting Council, the accountancy watchdog, has launched an investigation into the conduct of two former executives at the software company Torex Retail – six months after they were jailed by Oxford Crown Court.