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The Business Matrix: Tuesday 7 January 2014


Entrepreneurs pray for wealth

About 3,000 people are set to visit Tokyo’s Kanda Myojin shrine in the first few days of the new business year. The 1,270-year-old site is a popular place for businessmen and entrepreneurs to pray for wealth and prosperity as it enshrines Ebisu, the god of luck (as well as fishermen), and Daikoku, the god of wealth (and farmers).

Co-op to be investigated

The Co-operative Bank is to be the subject of an enforcement investigation by the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority. The regulator said the inquiry would “consider the role of former senior managers” at the lender, which underwent a rescue last year after a £1.5bn black hole was discovered in its finances.

Balfour in £154m stadium deal

The UK’s biggest listed construction company, Balfour Beatty, has landed a £154m deal to convert London’s 2012 Olympic Stadium into a new sports venue set to become the home of West Ham United. The construction will recycle elements of the original stadium. It will also host five matches in next year’s rugby World Cup.

C&W chief pays £2.4m for shares

The new Cable & Wireless chief executive, Phil Bentley, cheered the City with a bullish outlook for the new year and has backed that up by buying £2.4m worth of shares in the telecoms firm. He told investors his aims were “driving top-line growth, continuing cost discipline, increasing returns on capital, and improving customer service”.

Clarksons enjoys buoyant figures

The shipping firm Clarksons has hailed a “particularly strong” December as it said its full-year figures would beat forecasts. Its shares rose 8 per cent after it said its sale-and-purchase business had been “performing exceptionally well” even though “global shipping markets continue to be challenging”.

Lush doesn’t slip up on soap sales

Lush has seen a boost in sales as customers spent more on personalised gifts at Christmas. Underlying sales at the soap maker jumped 12.2 per cent in the five weeks to 29 December, with sales in North America up 21 per cent. Sales for the year  to end of June were up 11.3 per cent to £362.9m.

News Corp signs deal with Place

Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp will move to London Bridge this summer as it signs a 30-year lease for The Place. The building will house News UK, the owner of The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun newspapers, as  well as Dow Jones and the publisher HarperCollins.

Delay in Punch disposals plan

The leasehold company Punch Taverns said its programme of pub disposals was likely to take longer than expected due to improved trading at its non-core estate, with average profit per pub now down by 5 per cent on a year ago. The division currently comprises 1,106 pubs.

Profits at Staffline just the job

The recruiter Staffline, which supplies 41 million hours of temporary labour each year to 600 clients, including supermarkets and farmers, said it had seen good levels of growth across all its divisions and profits would be in line with forecasts.

Syndicate in €2bn Merseyside deal

A consortium including France’s Suez Environnement has won a 30-year waste-disposal contract in Merseyside, worth €2bn (£1.7bn), to build and manage infrastructure to process more than 430,000 tons of household waste each year.