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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 16 October 2013


Eurostar boosted by London 2012

Eurostar hailed the "halo effect" of the 2012 Olympics for boosting traveller numbers to London, as sales shot up 10 per cent to £207m over the last three months. The Channel Tunnel rail link also reported "gathering momentum to the recovery in the business travel market", which Eurostar said was down to signs of an economic upturn.

Air fares offset petrol price drop

Inflation was stuck at 2.7 per cent last month as air fares offset falling petrol costs, the Office for National Statistics said yesterday. Air fares usually fall in September after the summer, but they fell less steeply last month than last year when airlines hiked prices. Petrol prices dropped 0.5p a litre last month against a 3.9p rise a year ago.

BBC chief warns over UK reach

Tim Davie, the head of the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, warned UK creative businesses must be "healthily, obsessively paranoid about the dangers of falling behind" yesterday as he pointed out Britain and Europe lack internet platforms or TV channels with global reach compared to American and Asian rivals.

Citigroup misses autumn target

Declining revenues from mortgage banking and a slowdown in fixed income trading dampened Citigroup's results for the third quarter, with the bank missing Wall Street expectations yesterday. Net adjusted income came in at $3.26bn (£2.05bn), as revenues eased by about 5 per cent. Bond market trading revenues fell by 26 per cent.

SDL issues fifth profits warning

Translation software group SDL issued its fifth profits warning in a year. Chief executive Mark Lancaster said: "The expected outcome is significantly below what we had hoped." The group now expects profits to be about £8m, down from £35.5m last year.

Chinese boost for Telford Homes

Chinese investors have snapped up a number of flats in Canary Wharf for up to £500,000 each, three years ahead of completion, the head of builder Telford Homes said. The influx of overseas cash prompted Telford to flag up annual profits "significantly" ahead of expectations.

Bellway boosted by Help to Buy

Builder Bellway toasted Help to Buy as it posted a 34 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £140.9m for the year to July, and raised the dividend 50 per cent to 30p. It sold 8.2 per cent more homes last year. Bellway now thinks the scheme could see it near-double volume growth.

AstraZeneca buys UK biotech firm

Drugs giant AstraZeneca has bought a British biotech firm for up to $440m (£276m). AstraZeneca said it bought London-based Spriogen, which focuses on drugs used to target tumours in cancer care, and has also entered a drug development deal with ADC Therapeutics.

Labour demands zero-hours probe

Labour is accusing the Government of failing to tackle the zero-hours contracts given to employees including those at Sports Direct, McDonald's and Buckingham Palace. Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna wants the Government to launch a full consultation.

H&M fails to beat August record

Sales at H&M, the world's second-largest fashion retailer, slipped in September after record results in August left shares at an all-time high. The Swedish business said like-for-like sales fell 2 per cent in September but jumped 8 per cent when new stores are included.