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The Business Matrix: Thursday 7 November 2013


City services  job numbers falls

The Square Mile’s white-collar army of professional services workers has shrunk for the first time in two years, according to figures from TheCityUK.

Employment in financial and related professional services in London fell by 0.9 per cent during the first half of 2013 to 669,600, representing a net loss of some 6,000 jobs.

Poundland moves closer to float

Poundland is a step closer to listing on the stock market at a value of around £700 million after private-equity owner Warburg Pincus appointed Credit Suisse, JPMorgan and Rothschilds to advise on a flotation. Bosses hope to complete it next year as chairman Andrew Higginson has been sounding out institutional investors.

Lloyds threatened with strike action

Lloyds Banking Group could face industrial action after unions condemned proposed changes to its pension scheme. Under the plans, 35,000 members of the final salary scheme – a third of the workforce – would no longer receive any annual pension rises. The bank stands to save £60m a year from the changes.

Experian targets US expansion

Experian plans to buy US software specialist Passport Health Communications for $850 million (£531 million). The FTSE-100 giant, which is best known in the UK for running credit checks for banks, landlords and retailers, said the takeover would boost revenues but analysts warned such a large deal comes with operational risks.

Nymex in market abuse claims

Four Nymex traders have alleged that the North Sea Brent crude oil market has been manipulated by oil majors including BP and Shell since at least 2002, in a class action they brought in the wake of a wide-ranging EU inquiry. Royal Dutch Shell and BP are named as defendants.

French Connection equity purchase

The new finance director of French Connection has bought around £12,400 worth of shares in the fashion chain. Adam Castleton bought 33,000 shares for 37.5p each. He has also been granted options over 600,000 shares at a price of 29.25p, each worth about £176,000, which vest after three years.

Howden Joinery profits up

Kitchen supplier Howden Joinery has said strong trading in the second half are expected to see profits come in at the top end of City forecasts. The firm, which has stores in Runcorn and Howden said like-for-like revenues rose 7.1 per cent in the 44 weeks to 2 November.

BP’s Dudley flies to Kirkuk

BP’s chief executive, Bob Dudley, has gone to Kirkuk in northern Iraq to try to win over the local government before drilling starts at an oilfield straddling the Kurdistan border. Kurdistan sees the deal as illegal because it was not the subject of advance consultation.

EU to probe Hutchinson

European antitrust regulators will investigate whether Hutchison Whampoa’s Hong Kong $1 billion bid for Telefonica’s unit in Ireland will reduce competition in the country’s mobile market, the European Commission said yesterday.

Movil invests  in Mobli

Israeli mobile photo and video sharing platform Mobli has said Latin America’s biggest phone company, America Movil, has made a strategic investment in the company as part of a $60 funding round. It will fund Mobli’s visual search engine.