The Business Matrix: Tuesday 15 November 2011


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Floundering Hot Tuna up for sale

The surfwear brand Hot Tuna has put itself up for sale because it believes it will struggle to raise the money needed for a successful turnaround. Sales during the first four months of its financial year are 65 per cent up on a year ago after a marketing drive, but this was slower than the Alternative Investment Market company had hoped.

Warm October hits West End

Retail sales in central London fell sharply last month, for only the second time this year, as the warmest October for five years took its toll on spending ahead of the key Christmas trading period. The New West End Company, which represents 600 retailers, said sales fell 4.1 per cent in October, as the balmy weather hit purchases of winter wear.

Lovefilm deal lifts results at E1

Entertainment One, the firm behind Peppa Pig and the Twilight movies in part credited a licensing deal with the video rental group Lovefilm as it doubled its interim profits to £19m. The TV and film production and distribution company group is undergoing a strategic review that is widely expected to result in its sale by the end of the year.

Sage rejects £93m MYOB claim

Sage has pledged to vigorously defend itself against a A$130m (£93m) claim from Archer Capital after the software firm walked away from the potential purchase of its Australian peer MYOB in August. Sage had entered talks to buy MYOB from Archer Capital and HarbourVest Partners, but the deal was derailed by market turmoil.

Nuclear site looks to last longer

One of Europe's oldest nuclear reactors, Britain's Wylfa 1, could operate nearly two years beyond its current 2012 shutdown date if the regulator approves a request by its operator Magnox. The site of the 40-year-old reactor in Wales has also been earmarked as a location to house new-generation nuclear plants in Britain.

Regulation to cost UK banks £13bn

Britain's clampdown on banks will cost them an extra £13bn a year, Goldman Sachs analysts said. The Independent Commission on Banking's proposals will hit the UK banks with a bill of £9.6bn, they calculated, against the ICB's estimate of £4bn-7bn. The banks also face a £2.5bn bill for the UK's banking levy.

BHP to invest more in shale gas

BHP Billiton plans to spend $4.5bn (£2.8bn) developing shale gas in 2012, following its acquisition of Petrohawk Energy and shale gas assets from Chesapeake Energy this year. Its move into the relatively new and contentious energy source has worried some investors, particularly with depressed US gas prices.

Chips boost profits at e2v

The electronic component maker e2v technologies posted a near one-third rise in its first-half profit, boosted by cost savings and a strong performance at its semiconductor unit. E2v makes devices for defence electronic countermeasures, radiotherapy cancer treatment and radar systems.

Police look at Talvivaara waste

Police are investigating whether miner Talvivaara broke the law when discharging waste water with high levels of sodium, sulphate and manganese into lakes near its nickel mine in Sotkamo, Finland, an area known for its ski slopes. The inquiry could delay Talvivaara's plans to expand and extract uranium as a by-product.

Electro warns of tougher outlook

Electrocomponents promised to keep second-half costs flat to help offset the impact of tougher economic conditions as it posted an 18 per cent rise in first-half profit. The company, whose products range from batteries and cables to safety equipment, said profits hit £59m as revenues rose 11 per cent to £627m.