The Business Matrix: Wednesday 13 February 2013


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Johnson: LSE needs scientists

The London Mayor Boris Johnson opened trading at the London Stock Exchange yesterday as part of a campaign to encourage more science and technology firms to list. He said: "London is brimming with innovative technology and life-science entrepreneurs, many of whom have the potential to build world-beating businesses."

Hibu may default on £2bn debt

Hibu, the troubled publisher of the Yellow Pages directories, reported another dire set of results yesterday and admitted it is was likely to default on £2bn of debt at the end of this month. Revenues fell 14 per cent to £314m in the final three months of 2012. Print revenues dived by 22 per cent but digital directories were also down 7 per cent.

G4S takes £38m hit on Olympics

G4S has racked up an extra £38m in costs over the Olympic debacle – but the City said the damage could have been even worse. The security firm, which failed to provide more than 10,000 staff last summer so that the military had to be called in to make good the shortfall, has raised its estimates of losses to £70m.

Gold loses its shine for A&B

The number of Albemarle & Bond clients exchanging gold for cash have dried up, it said yesterday. Its shares fell 17p, or 7.4 per cent, to 212p as the pawnbroker and payday lender, which has 233 shops, said pre-tax profits fell 33 per cent in the first half, to £8.1m from £12.1m a year earlier. It said it expected conditions to get tougher.

Copper output plunges by 9%

Glencore and Xstrata said their combined output of key metals had fallen as the commodities giants continued to finalise their $36bn (£23bn) merger. Total copper production fell by 9 per cent and zinc by 1 per cent as a result of power cuts in the Congo, bad weather and efforts to replace ageing operations.

Matthews jumps ship to Go Outdoors

Go Outdoors, the clothing and camping equipment retailer, has hired the boss of Dixons Retail's Greek business as its new chief executive. Chris Matthews will join the 41-store chain in May after 10 years at Dixons. He is currently the managing its Kotsovolos chain of electrical stores in Greece.

Digital revolution reaches Lloyd's

A digital revolution took place at Lloyd's of London as the 325-year-old insurance market moved closer to a life without paper. The technology group Xchanging launched the first Lloyd's interactive app, which it claims will enable underwriters and brokers to work on iPads.

Scottish Life sees new business soar

Scottish Life, part of the Royal London Group, has announced record results for last year, with total new life and pensions business up 8 per cent on a year earlier at £2.44bn. It said it had continued to increase its share of both the individual and group personal pension markets.

Nationwide repair firm drives ahead

Nationwide, which provides car crash repair services across the the UK, said its performance last year was good, supported by renewed contracts with Hastings Direct and Zurich Insurance and a short-term arrangement with Aviva.

Rolls-Royce wins US Air Force contract

Rolls-Royce has won an $83.7m (£53.2m) contract to supply engines for 19 Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey aircraft operated by the US Marine Corps and the US Air Force. The deal is for 38 Rolls-Royce AE 1107C engines built in Indiana.