The Business Matrix: Thursday 9 April 2015

 

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The Independent Online

Firm rests easy after good snooze

Snoozebox, the portable hotels group, trimmed its pre-tax losses to £5.6m in 2014, from £9.4m the previous year, helped by a reduction in overheads. Revenues dipped as Snoozebox did not provide last year’s G8 summit with accommodation as it had in 2013. Occupancy rate rose to 90 per cent from  78 per cent.

WS Atkins issues election warning

Management consultant WS Atkins has warned of a “hiatus” over decision-making around the general election but it welcomed commitments to infrastructure spending by parties. Trading for the year just ended will meet forecasts. New tax laws on research and development spending will lift profits by £5m this year.

Blinkx expects sales to suffer

Online advertising company Blinkx said it expects to announce sales of $210m (£140.8m) for the year to 31 March – turnover will be  down from $247m in the previous 12 months. Profits are also expected to fall following a year of acquisitions and integration. Shares dipped by 8.3 per cent.

Credit drop may boost mortgages

Lenders expect households to seek more mortgages over the next three months as the price of credit continues to fall, the Bank of England’s latest credit conditions survey says. Credit spreads for mortgage lending over Bank rate fell. A further drop and more credit demand from small firms is expected in the second quarter.

Railway workers to vote on strike

Thousands of workers at First Great Western are to be balloted for industrial action in a row over new trains. The RMT union said Super Express Trains being introduced from 2017 would see guard jobs lost and catering services downgraded. The company denied the claims.

Mylan bids to buy Dublin’s Perrigo

The drug maker Mylan has made a proposal to buy Dublin-headquartered pharmaceuticals company Perrigo. It has offered $205 (£137.7) per share in cash  and stock, which represents a 25 per cent premium over Tuesday’s closing price  for Perrigo.

Qatari group buys seafront sites

A Qatari investment group has bought a £16m portfolio of seafront hotels in Bournemouth. The three properties – Suncliff Hotel, Cumberland Hotel and Cliffeside Hotel, which have 282 bedrooms – were bought from two private investors.

Committee unsure on rate rise timing

The Federal Open Market Committee officials were divided at a March policy meeting on when they would be ready to begin raising short-term interest rates. They were torn between a rise in June, September or even waiting until 2016, according to the minutes.

Currency change should be cheaper

Consumers should pay under 1 per cent in fees to exchange currency as changes in financial infrastructure speed up, John Sharman, chief executive of Tuxedo Money Solutions, told Reuters. Some firms still charge 10 per cent.

Eurozone retail sales rise by 3%

Eurozone retail sales rose from a year earlier in February. The European Union’s statistics office Eurostat said retail sales in the 19 countries sharing the euro slipped 0.2 per cent month-on-month for a 3 per cent year-on-year gain.

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