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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 12 November 2013

Lloyd’s of London pays its respects

Lloyd’s of London came to a standstill yesterday to remember the nation’s war dead and reflect on the sacrifices made by servicemen and women. Brokers and underwriters lined the balconies and escalators of Number One Lime Street to pay their respects during the market’s annual Armistice Day ceremony.

Weak US spending clobbers Cobham

Cobham became the latest UK defence group to cut back its forecasts because of weaker US government spending. Its shares fell as the group said the outlook for its US business, which accounts for about a third of revenues, remained highly uncertain “with the budgetary environment showing signs of further deterioration”.

Lonmin bounce beats expectation 

Lonmin comfortably beat City forecasts with annual profits of $140m (£87.6m) yesterday. But although it has rejigged its management and raised $767m through a rights issue, it said current wage negotiations were proving tough. Lonmin mined 751,000 ounces of platinum, up 10.5 per cent on the previous strike-torn year.

G4S to investigate forgery charges

Security group G4S has launched an internal investigation after a judge referred three of its employees for prosecution for forgery and contempt of court in what he described as a “truly shocking” case. Mr Justice Mostyn said the employees had been involved in forging a document during an immigration appeal.

EE gives Cumbria broadband boost

Mobile phone company EE has switched on its expanded 4G network in rural Cumbria, bringing faster home and office broadband to over 2,000 residents and businesses for the first time. The network has been extended to cover more than 100 square miles, spanning from Wigton to Threlkeld.

Interrupted EU-US talks resume

Trade talks between the United States and European Union resumed yesterday after being delayed by the Washington shutdown. The two are already the world’s largest trading parnters but are discussing ways in which trade and investment between the two of them can be enhanced.

China leads surge in Heathrow traffic

A 19.2 per cent surge in passengers flying between London and China helped Heathrow airport’s overall passenger traffic to grow by 4.6 per cent to 4.3 million in October. Meanwhile, traffic at  rival London airport Gatwick rose to 3.1 million passengers.

Hare quits Apex to keep Sage’s books

Software group Sage has turned to private equity to find its new finance director. From the start of next year Steve Hare, who was a partner at private equity firm Apax, replaces Paul Harrison who, after 16 years in the job, moves to WANdisco.

Caledonia takes on Park caravans

Park Holidays has been acquired by Caledonia Investments in a deal valuing the business at £172m. It is the UK’s fourth largest caravan holiday park operator, having been run by its current management team since January 2006.

Shopping centres selling more space

Shopping centre owner Hammerson said there were further signs of recovery in its markets, particularly the UK, where improving confidence is generating increased demand for retail space. Overall occupancy in its portfolio was 97.1 per cent.

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