The Business Matrix: Wednesday 14 December 2011


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Roadworks hold up Go-Ahead

Go-Ahead, the train and bus operator, said it expects a lower bonus from its London bus operations because timekeeping has been disrupted by excessive amounts of roadworks this year. But despite this, Go-Ahead expects overall profits to be "slightly ahead" of market expectations as passengers flock to public transport.

100 jobs in peril at Homeserve

Around 100 staff at the maintenance and insurance group Homeserve have been told their jobs could be at risk after it decided to outsource its customer complaints department. The move comes after Homeserve said last month it would cost it £10m to retrain its sales force after revelations surfaced about sub-standard selling practices.

Thales in satellite link-up with e2v

The technology firm e2v has signed a multimillion-euro deal with Thales Alenia Space to provide imaging sensors for Meteosat's third-generation weather satellites in space. The sensors will help to provide images of weather systems and environmental changes, with the first satellite expected to be launched in 2017.

Morgan Stanley settles with MBIA

The US investment banking giant Morgan Stanley has taken a $1.8bn (£1.2bn) hit after it settled a long-running legal battle over toxic subprime debt. The bank's two-year dispute with the bond insurer MBIA centres on mortgage-backed bonds which Morgan Stanley insured with MBIA in 2008. MBIA ran into trouble during the financial crisis.

Domino prints profits of £57m

Printing technologies firm Domino, whose services are used by the food, beverage and personal care sectors, improved annual profits by 10 per cent to £57m, after a 33rd consecutive year of sales growth. Trading in emerging markets, the UK and Germany was offset by weaker trading in North America.

Bunzl confident of revenues upturn

The grocery and retail and packaging firm Bunzl, which has operations in 23 countries, said revenues for 2011 were expected to be more than 6 per cent higher this year, with more than half of this coming from organic growth. It invested £185m in making 10 acquisitions over the past year.

Rockhopper boost on Falklands find

Shares in Rockhopper jumped11 per cent yesterday as a promising find helped the company looking for oil off the Falkland Islands to remove any lingering doubts among its sceptical shareholders. Rockhopper said drilling in the North Basin had found oil or gas in all four of its key fields. Its shares rose to 268.5p.

Blacks confirms Ashley approach

The embattled outdoor specialist Blacks Leisure has confirmed that the sportswear giant Sports Direct, led by Mike Ashley, and other parties had approached it about a potential takeover. The operator of the Blacks and Millets chains said it had received approaches that "may or may not lead to an offer".

Global oil demand forecast to fall

The global economic downturn has prompted the International Energy Agency to slash its forecast for oil demand growth by more than a fifth for the year. The agency cut its prediction by 22 per cent, to 700,000 barrels per day growth. It also cut its forecast for daily global oil consumption this year to 89m bpd.

Carpetright passes on payout

Lord Harris of Peckham, the Carpetright founder, was £1.75m out of pocket after the business had to scrap the half-year dividend. The chairman owns nearly 22 million shares in Carpetright, which managed an 8p dividend this time last year. Falling sales and an £800,000 loss means there is no dividend this time.