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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 15 May 2013

Fanfare launch  for M&S fashions

Marks & Spencer unveiled its eagerly anticipated autumn and winter ranges to a fanfare in London. The ranges are being billed by some investors as make or break for chief executive Marc Bolland, the chief executive of M&S, who joined three years ago and has presided over seven successive quarters of falling clothing and homeware sales.

Spending cuts hit Balfour projects

The builder behind the Olympic velodrome and the widening of the M25 has revealed the extent of the damage wrought by public spending cuts. Balfour Beatty, whose shares are down more than 20 per cent this year, said total construction revenues fell 11 per cent in the first quarter, driven by a 23 per  slump in its UK construction business.

Icap profits tumble by 20%

Broking giant Icap saw its profits tumble 20 per cent last year and warned that, despite a good April, market conditions remain “fragile and unpredictable”. However, chief executive Michael Spencer said the business had cut costs and developed new products, which meant it should prosper when markets revive.

British Land plans £500m spree

Property giant British Land is set to splash out another £500m this year as it bolsters its position in London and the South-east, its chief executive, Chris Grigg, said yesterday. The company increased its war chest with a £500m share placing and the £472m sale of the Ropemaker Place City office in March.

Online keeps Paddy happy

Paddy Power, the Irish bookmaker, is celebrating a bumper year and has told its annual meeting in Dublin that revenues are still surging. Revenues are up 20 per cent in 2013 so far, driven by 29 per cent growth in online revenue; the high street arm rose 8 per cent, defying predictions that the shops will soon be history.

Goldman’s net earnings up 7%

The world’s top investment bank maintained its status as Wall Street’s darling yesterday. Goldman Sachs beat analysts’ forecasts to post net earnings of $2.26bn (£1.5bn), up 7 per cent. It set aside $4.34bn to pay bankers in the quarter- putting average pay for just three months work at $135,625

BG Group lowers oil output target

The gas and oil giant BG Group has set itself more modest but what it said could be more profitable targets after giving up some of its more ambitious projections earlier this year. It set a target of 750,000 to 825,000 barrels a day in 2015, down from 1 million barrels of oil equivalent a day.

Babcock revenues inch up to £3.2bn

Support services firm Babcock International, which maintains British Navy submarines and employs 25,000 people in defence, energy and telecoms, reported 6 per cent growth in revenues to £3.2bn for the year to April. Underlying profits rose 16 per cent to £317.8m

BT opens 20,000 hotspots a week

Telecoms giant BT said it now has more than 5 million wi-fi hotspots in the UK and Ireland after more than 20,000 were added each week over the past year. The FTSE 100 firm reported 400 million connections across its wi-fi network in 2012-13.

German investor confidence rises

German analyst and investor sentiment edged up in May after dropping sharply in the previous month, suggesting the eurozone’s largest economy is overcoming fears over a flare-up in the bloc’s debt crisis and is on track for a timid recovery.

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