The Business Matrix: Tuesday 3 March 2015


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The Independent Online

Luxottica sales rise to  €7.65bn

The luxury sunglasses group Luxottica posted a 10 per cent rise in operating income for 2014 to €1.16bn (£844m), despite losing its chief executive, Andrea Guerra, in a row with its founder last autumn. Sales at the group, which owns Ray Ban and Oakley as well as retail chains such as Sunglass Hut, rose 4.6 per cent to €7.65bn.

Trinity Mirror  to pay dividend

Trinity Mirror is to pay its first dividend for seven years, it said yesterday, as the first major test case over phone hacking began in London. Headline pre-tax profits rose by one per cent to £102m on revenues of £636m. Print advertising revenues, down 8.8 per cent in the first half, fell by a further 14.1 per cent in the second half.

Sotheby’s income tumbles by 18%

A boardroom battle with Dan Loeb weighed on Sotheby’s results at the end of last year, as the exit of chief executive Bill Ruprecht cost it $7.6m (£4.9m). Net income fell 18 per cent to $73.9m in the last quarter of 2014, although revenues rose 3.5 per cent. It is facing a challenge from another activist investor, Marcato Capital.

Manufacturing strengthens

Manufacturing output rose more than expected in February, according to the latest survey snapshot. The Markit/Cips index of purchasing managers strengthened to 54.1 in the month, up from 53 in January. Analysts expected it to hit 53.4. A figure above 50 signals growth.

Lost orders still hurting Thorntons

Profits at Thorntons fell 9.7 per cent to £7.2m in the six months to 10 January as sales at the chocolatier fell eight per cent. The group admitted that the problems it faced over Christmas, when two major supermarkets cancelled orders, prompting a profits warning, had continued into Easter.

Royal Mail makes move into China

Royal Mail has moved into China’s online market, opening a shop front in the Tmall Global e-marketplace run by Jack Ma and his giant Alibaba Group. Chief executive Moya Greene said the link with the business-to-consumer marketplace would help support British retailers and exporters.

Strong pound hits Intertek profits

The testing services firm Intertek said pre-tax profits fell 10.5 per cent to £252.2m in the year to December amid challenging conditions at its oil and gas unit and a stronger pound. The firm, which employs over 38,000 staff, said it expects revenues to grow this year.

Nasdaq  index hits 15-year high

The US Nasdaq Composite passed the 5,000 mark for the first time in 15 years yesterday, as gains in Apple and Microsoft helped the index, which covers the prices of all 2,571 companies on the Nasdaq market, reach levels last seen at the height of the dotcom bubble.

Balfour in £35m Olympic Park deal 

Balfour Beatty has signed a £35m contract to build up to 1,500 homes at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in east London. The deal with the London Legacy Development Corporation is expected to take eight years to develop.

Keller sales soar 11 % to £1.6bn

Keller has posted record annual sales, up 11 per cent to £1.6bn, as acquisitions offset the impact of a strong pound. The engineer, which reported profits up 15 per cent to £85m, noted an improvement in some markets in 2014, especially the US.