The Business Matrix: Tuesday 12 June 2012


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The Independent Online

Sales climb at Laura Ashley

Laura Ashley, the fashion-to-home furnishings chain, has shrugged off the consumer downturn and soggy April to deliver a strong rise in sales over the past 18 weeks. The High Street stalwart also made the bold forecast that it expects the recent growth in underlying sales to continue throughout the rest of this year.

Mouchel's shares slump

Mouchel, the infrastructure group that rejected a £170m takeover bid from Costain 16 months ago, yesterday said all the restructuring options it is looking at would result in "only limited value for existing shareholders". The shares fell 30 per cent to 4p, a far cry from the 153p a share Costain had offered.

Goals bid gets extra time

The potential takeover of Goals Soccer Centres moved into its third period of extra time yesterday. The Takeover Panel said at the request of the UK company it would give the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan another month to continue going over the books. Analysts expect a bid of around 130p a share, valuing Goals at £60m.

Airlines facing record loss

European airlines could post a record loss of $1.1bn (£711m) this year, nearly double the forecast three months ago. The International Air Transport Association's (Iata) forecast reflects dampened demand as recessions in the UK and Spain and turmoil in Greece and elsewhere in Europe have seen would-be travellers stay put.

Goldman's Gupta won't testify

Former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta will not take the stand this week, as his trial on insider dealing charges heads towards a conclusion. His lawyers had previously said it was "highly likely" that Mr Gupta would testify. As well as Goldman, Mr Gupta was also a director of Procter & Gamble.

'RBS pension is unaffordable'

Royal Bank of Scotland has been accused of making its pension fund "unaffordable" after around 42,000 members of its final salary pension scheme were told if they want to receive the full entitlement when they retire at 60, contributions must increase from zero to 5 per cent or they must work to 65.

BAA refinances airports

The airports operator BAA has completed a £2.75bn refinancing of its loan facilities for Heathrow and Stansted airports in London. The Spanish-owned group, which sold Edinburgh for competition reasons this spring, is still appealing against regulator's ruling it should sell Stansted.

Boeing to sell 1,000 airliners

Boeing has pledged to sell 1,000 airliners this year, putting it on course to recover leadership of the $100bn (£65bn) global jet market amid growing tensions with Airbus. Its European rival is targeting 600 to 650 orders, down from 1,608 in 2011 due to a fuel-saving version of its A320.

Serco stumps up £55m for rival

Serco is paying £55m for the public sector arm of Vertex Data Services – a rival outsourcing business. Vertex's customers include Westminster and Thurrock councils, and the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission and Job Centre Plus.

Arcadia hires Burberry marketer

Sir Philip Green's Arcadia Group has appointed Burberry executive Justin Cooke as chief marketing officer of the fashion chain Topshop from September. He is expected to assist with the brand's global expansion plans, especially in digital marketing.