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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 17 April 2013


Gold recovers after sell-off

Gold prices steadied yesterday after its steepest tumble since the early 1980s. Panic selling sent gold plunging to a two-year low of $1,350 an ounce on Monday amid speculation that the US Federal Reserve would call time on its quantitative easing programme. The price of gold was fixed yesterday afternoon at $1,380 an ounce.

Blavod drinks to pornographer

Drinkers will soon be able to raise a glass to the porn baron Paul Raymond with a tipple named after the "King of Soho". Blavod Wines & Spirits, which makes black vodka, was yesterday appointed distributor to a new range of alcoholic drinks called King of Soho, "styled", the drinks maker said, "on the Soho figure Paul Raymond".

Danone looks beyond Europe

The yoghurt and bottled water giant Danone is skirting around the eurozone worries by targeting growth elsewhere. The French company, whose brands include Aptamil, Volvic and Activia, said sales in the last quarter were up by 5.6 per cent. Analysts had forecast 4.2 per cent, assuming European sales would be hit.

US helps Walker Greenbank's sales

Sales surged at the upmarket British wallpaper manufacturer Walker Greenbank last year as the American housing market recovered. "We are selling a quintessentially English look to the States," said the company's chief executive, John Sach.

Europe backs banker bonus cap

European parliamentarians have given overwhelming backing to new legislation capping bankers' bonuses at no more than equal to their base salary. The European Parliament voted for a whole package of financial reforms, which include forcing banks to improve their capital base. Bankers' bonuses will be reduced to 100 per cent of pay.

TalkSport owner learns Chinese

UTV Media, the owner of TalkSport, said radio listeners in China will soon be able to hear live Mandarin commentary of Barclays Premier League matches via a network of radio stations in key Chinese provinces. It follows a partnership with advertising sales firm Adrep China on a range of ventures.

Johnson suffers sickly profits

The pharmaceuticals and medical devices firm Johnson & Johnson has reported a 10.6 per cent fall in first-quarter profits to $3.5bn (£2.3bn) as higher costs for production and marketing offset an increase in sales. But global consumer sales rose 2 per cent to $3.7bn, driven by its painkiller Motrin.

E2v boasts order book of £195m

E2v Technologies, which employs about 1,600 people in the design and production of high performance components at facilities across Europe and North America, said its order book stood at £195m at the end of March, an increase of 37 per cent. Trading will hit forecasts.

Morgan Sindall hails deal in Essex

The construction group Morgan Sindall has signed contracts with the Greater London Authority for a £63.3m affordable housing scheme at Lymington Fields in Essex. The scheme is one of the first released by London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Smart Turnout opens new pop-up

The gentleman's outfitter that counts Moonpig.com's founder Nick Jenkins as an investor and pop star Harry Styles as a customer has agreed a deal with John Lewis to sell the brand in a "pop up" shop in London. Smart Turnout sells trendy menswear.