The Business Matrix: Tuesday 20 March 2012


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Material gains for Barbour

Barbour jackets are to get a softer edge in a tie-up with the fabrics printer Walker Greenbank, which is to supply William Morris Arts & Crafts trims and linings for the brand. Walker Greenbank will also provide material for new handbag ranges. Lily Allen, Alexa Chung and Peaches Geldof have recently sported Barbour's jackets.

Deutsche Börse to sue over merger

Deutsche Börse is to sue the European Commission over its decision to block the planned $9bn merger with NYSE Euronext. Brussels cited antitrust reasons in February when it blocked the deal. "Deutsche Börse is of the view that several aspects of the decision are incorrect," the operator of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange said.

Rusal takes $1.4bn hit on Norilsk

Rusal, the world's top aluminium maker, has taken a $1.4bn charge on the value of its stake in Norilsk Nickel, whose fate is at the centre of a row between two Russian billionaire shareholders. The move is likely to add to friction between Rusal's main owner Oleg Deripaska and disgruntled minority investors led by Viktor Vekselberg.

UPS to buy TNT Express at $6.8bn

United Parcel Service is to pay $6.85bn (£4.32bn) for its Dutch peer TNT Express in a deal that will boost the position of the world's largest packages delivery company outside the US. UPS will become the market leader in Europe and also get access to TNT's stronger networks in the fast-growing Asian and Latin American markets.

Wessex shares soar after offer

Wessex Exploration, the oil prospector with interests in the South of England and offshore Africa, yesterday received an unexpected £70m takeover approach from the French giant Total. The 10p-a-share offer pushed Wessex stock up 2.15p to 9.5p. The oil firm said it was "minded" to recommend the bid.

Endace for sale as profits plunge

Shares in the cyber security group Endace plunged yesterday as it said it would significantly miss its profit target this year and had potentially put itself up for sale. The shares fell 13 per cent, or 72.5p, to 492.5p, valuing the business at £75m. Analysts predicted it could be taken over by a US rival.

Polyus abandons capital idea

Polyus Gold, Russia's largest gold miner, has dropped its plan to move to London, which will rule it out from joining the FTSE 100 index. The Jersey-based miner, backed by the billionaire politician Mikhail Prokhorov, is still likely to sell shares on the London Stock Exchange.

Premier puts its faith in Hovis

Hovis owner Premier Foods has taken an "impairment charge" of £282m on its bread division, admitting that its profitability has declined and may not recover. However Hovis is still one of eight "Power Brands" that Premier believes can lead it back to success.

Berkeley builds its profit hopes

Property developer Berkeley has reported "robust trading" so far this year and said it remains well placed on its target to double profit to some £220m by April 2013, two years earlier than planned, and boost the value of its land bank to £3bn two years later.

Vattenfall signs Orkney deal

The Swedish utility Vattenfall has signed an agreement to develop a wave energy test project off the Orkney Islands. The project should be able to supply electricity to 8,500 households if grid connections to mainland Scotland are sufficient.