The Business Matrix: Tuesday 25 November 2014


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The Independent Online

L’Occitane profits jump by  10m

The French fragrances and beauty products retailer L’Occitane saw its operating profit jump by €10m (£8m) to €31.4m in the six months to September on a 9 per cent rise in sales. The company, which has 2,000 stores worldwide, said the improvement was largely down to favourable foreign currency movements.

Economic climate brightens up

Prospects for Germany’s economy are rising, with spirits among its companies lifted for the first time in seven months, according to the Ifo business-climate index. Germany narrowly avoided recession in the third quarter although Chancellor Angela Merkel  said “geopolitical challenges” are “weighing on the mood”.

Cranswick hopes for a merry Xmas

Demand for gammon and party food could help pork producer Cranswick to a record Christmas, as it posted a 11 per cent rise in half-yearly profits to £25.8m despite a 0.4 per cent dip in sales. Investors were also cheered by prospects for its newly acquired chicken business Benson Park, which supplies Pret a Manger.

Nigerian naira down 11% in 2014

Nigeria’s naira hit a record low yesterday as concerns mounted that falling oil prices will lead to lower government revenues. Dealers waited to see if the Nigerian central bank will do anything to help the currency, although it is expected to keep interest rates on hold. The currency is down about 11 per cent so far this year.

Repairs begin  at potash mine

Russia’s Uralkali, the world’s largest potash producer, is preparing to start repair work at its damaged Solikamsk-2 mine – although it remains unclear when output of the fertiliser will restart again. Production at the mine was put on hold last week, following a flood.

BoE may up capital buffers

Clearing houses – financial institutions that settle trillions of dollars of derivative contracts a day – may need to hold bigger capital buffers to stop them requiring a government bailout if they fail, David Bailey, the Bank of England official responsible for financial market infrastructure, said yesterday.

Storage firm sells sites for £6m

Lok’nStore said it completed the sale of its former site in Reading to a residential developer for £2.9m cash with further payments dependent on the value of house sales achieved. The storage firm said it had also sold an undeveloped site at Portsmouth for £3m.

Gary McGann to join Paddy Power

Paddy Power said it had appointed Gary McGann as an independent non-executive director of the Dublin-based bookmaker. Mr McGann was chief executive of packaging firm Smurfit Kappa, having previously been the boss of airline Aer Lingus.

Britain buys four more fighter jets

Britain has signed a contract to purchase four more of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II stealth fighter jets, as part of a plan to form a squadron of 14 over the next five years. Three training jets have already been delivered.

Deloitte to handle settlement review

The Bank of England has appointed accountants Deloitte to conduct a review (to published early next year) into an outage of its Real Time Gross Settlements system, which disrupted large payments in the banking system last month.