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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 11 July 2012

Permira pulls the plug on Iglo

Permira has pulled the plug on its plans to refinance the debt of its Birds Eye food group Iglo in a deal that would have seen the buyout house take a hefty dividend. The private equity house has decided to hold on to the frozen food business after rejecting a €2.5bn bid from Blackstone and BC Partners as insufficient.

Euro 2012 bad news for bookies

Spain's victory in Euro 2012 was bad news for the bookies. Online gambling group Party Digital Entertainment said yesterday that the football delivered an "uplift in betting activity," but margins were lower than hoped because "the majority of results followed the predicted path". The City is now watching for warnings from the rest of the industry.

'Good trading' at Interserve

Support services and construction group Interserve has reported "good trading" with increased revenues and margins over the first half of the year. It has won more than £1bn of new work with clients including the Ministry of Justice, Alder Hey Children's Trust and Alliance Boots.

SIG issues an Olympic warning

Specialist building products distributor SIG warned the Olympics are likely to disrupt trading in London, adding to the uneven demand patterns experienced this year. The firm said falling construction activity saw like-for-like sales decline 0.5 per cent in the second quarter.

Orders stable at Balfour Beatty

Infrastructure group Balfour Beatty said its order book has remained stable at £15bn, giving it "good visibility" for the remainder of the year. The overall group trading performance is in line with expectations, it added.

Paphitis seals Robert Dyas deal

Theo Paphitis, the Dragons' Den star who owns Rymans Stationery, has sealed a deal to buy Robert Dyas for up to £10m. He will also take on the ironmonger's debt and pension obligations. Robert Dyas has been majority-owned by its lenders since a debt-for-equity swap with Lloyds Banking Group and Allied Irish Bank in 2009.

Stagecoach scraps local bus buyout

Stagecoach has scrapped plans to buy a local bus business from its rival FirstGroup after the Office of Fair Trading referred the deal to the competition regulator, saying it could not spend more time and money on the deal. The OFT said it believed the deal would reduce competition in local bus services in north Devon.

Pensions deficits pushed higher

Weak stock markets and record low bond yields have pushed company pension deficits sharply higher. The combined deficit of FTSE 100 firms more than doubled over the past year to £41bn, according to Lane, Clark & Peacock, even though companies poured £11bn in to try to plug deficits last year.

Stake in Nats not for sale

The Government has decided not to sell its stake in national air traffic control provider Nats because of its strategic importance to the UK, Transport Secretary Justine Greening said yesterday. It had been studying options for the future of the 49 per cent stake.

Price dips below $100 a barrel

Oil prices fell below $100 a barrel yesterday after the Norwegian government ordered an end to a strike of offshore workers demanding the right to retire at 62. Brent crude fell $2.35 to $97.97 as worries over North Sea supplies eased.

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