The Business Matrix: Tuesday 6 March 2012

 

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ITV ties up deals with STV and UTV

ITV boss Adam Crozier's efforts to streamline the broadcaster took another step forward with new licensing arrangements with STV and UTV, its counterparts in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Under the new deal, ITV will sell its ITV Network schedule to the channels for a fixed price rather than charging a proportion of revenues.

High street suffers trading slowdown

Hopes that the high street has turned the corner were dashed yesterday as retailers posted another fall in underlying sales. Despite widespread discounting, retailers of clothing, footwear and homewares suffered a slowdown in trading last month, but food sales picked up. Like-for-like retail sales tumbled by 0.3 per cent in February.

Chairman hunt for BBC Worldwide

The BBC has begun the search for a new non-executive chairman of BBC Worldwide, the arm responsible for sales of programmes overseas and merchandising. The BBC's executive board, led by director-general Mark Thompson and senior independent director Marcus Agius, the Barclays chairman, will make the appointment.

Petrofac enjoys surge in profits

Petrofac, the oil-services firm, beat City expectations with a 25 per cent jump in pre-tax profits to $539m (£340m) last year. The firm is set to meet its target of more than doubling the $433m post-tax profits that it made in 2010 by 2015. Chief executive Ayman Asfari said the group's pipeline of orders left him "confident" of achieving the goal.

Google signs up for King's Cross

The huge redevelopment of wasteland behind King's Cross station has won its biggest coup yet as web giant Google signed up to move its UK headquarters there. Google will leave its London base at 123 Buckingham Palace Road when its lease ends in 2016, although it will keep its new "hub" in east London.

Dunelm slides as bosses sell shares

THE market value of Dunelm, the soft furnishings retailer, tumbled today after it said its deputy executive chairman and his wife are to sell nearly £25m of shares. Will, the son of Dun- elm's founders Bill and Jean, and Nadine Adderley are to offload about 5 million shares, equal to 2.5 per cent of its share capital.

Mining demand buoys Intertek

Intertek, the FTSE-100 company that safety-tests everything from shrimps to bubble-blowing toys, saw pre-tax profits rise 23 per cent to £260m last year, amid strong demand from the commodities sector. The firm's petrol and minerals arm grew revenues 12 per cent to £530m.

Paddy Power rings up winnings

Paddy Power boss Patrick Kennedy unveiled a 16 per cent rise in profit to €121m (£100m) for 2011, on revenues up 26 per cent to €295m. Its revenues on mobile phones soared 299 per cent to €43m. There are now 169 shops on UK high streets with plans for another 40 this year.

Gemfields sales shine on emeralds

Gemfields, the emerald miner which recently moved into rubies as well, said after-tax profits increased by 42 per cent to $22m (£14m) in the six months to December 31. Revenues from rough and polished emeralds rose 57 per cent in the half.

Takeover slump to hit F&C profits

Jeremy Tigue, the fund manager behind the £2bn-plus Foreign & Colonial investment trust, said profit and dividend growth from the companies it invests in is set to slow down in 2012 along with the likelihood of fewer company takeover bids.

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