The Business Matrix: Wednesday 15 October 2014


Click to follow

Eden Project pulls in £1m from bond

Cornwall’s Eden Project crowd-funded £1m in less than five hours, with investors flocking to invest in its mini-bond. The gardens had set a two-month deadline to raise the cash via Crowdcube. Eden Project’s mini-bond offers investors  6 per cent annual interest for four years, before handing the original funds back.

Production slide a cause for alarm

Industrial production in the eurozone sank by 1.8 per cent in August – the biggest drop  for two years. It was a result of firms cutting back on investment spending,  putting the bloc on course for outright decline in the current quarter. Markit warned: “Clearly the region as a whole is struggling to avoid contraction.”

Middle East crisis hits Michael Page

Michael Page shares tumbled nearly 8 per cent as the white-collar jobs firm warned profits will be lower than expected this year because of turmoil in Europe and the Middle East. Third-quarter profits rose nearly 14 per cent to £35m in the UK, as overall gross profit rose 12 per cent to £133m. Its shares closed down 31.7p at 383.9p.

Britain’s pension shortfall drops

The shortfall in Britain’s private-sector pension plans fell to an estimated £166.5bn at the end of September from £170.6bn in August, the Pension Protection Fund said. Total assets under management of the 6,150 schemes tracked by the PPF were £1.2trn, with liabilities at £1.4trn, and 4,600 schemes in deficit.

Carpetright has optimistic outlook

Carpetright posted a 7 per cent rise in underlying second-quarter sales at UK stores and only a 0.5 per cent fall in its European arm, after a year of turmoil forced it to shut shops, cut costs and install a new chief executive. The retailer has now modernised more than half of  its 463-store estate.

Clients in search of skilled workers

Matchtech has warned that clients such as Transport for London are being hit by a lack of skilled workers across the country and said more skilled immigrants need to be attracted to the UK. The engineering recruiter reported that full-year pre-tax profits had risen  20 per cent to £11.9m.

Uncertainty hits new business

Hargreaves Lansdown, the investment firm used by small investors, said net new business inflows fell 23 per cent on a year earlier to £970m in the first quarter, reflecting uncertainty caused by the Scottish referendum and concern over the Middle East and Ukraine.

Gazprom counts cost of dispute

Profits rose at Russian energy giant Gazprom, but by less than expected as it began to count the cost of ending supplies to Ukraine after a dispute over prices. Second-quarter profits after tax rose 13 per cent to 228bn roubles (£3.5bn), short of analysts’ forecasts of 234bn roubles.

‘Harder work’  to sell homes

Bellway said it is having to work “a little bit harder” to sell its homes as the first flush of the Help to Buy boom fades. The housebuilder’s pre-tax profits jumped 75 per cent to a record £245.9m in the year to July as it sold 21 per cent more homes.

Louis Vuitton bags 4% sales rise

Louis Vuitton’s owner LVMH reported a 4 per cent rise in sales for the nine months to the end of September to €21.4bn (£17bn), better than analysts expected from the Paris group but still well below the boom times of double digit growth.