The Business Matrix: Wednesday 19 March 2014


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The Independent Online

UTV pre-tax profits down 16%

UTV Media, the owner of talkSport, saw annual pre-tax profits slump 16 per cent to £16.9m as a decent second half-year failed to make up for a poor first half. UTV has seen growth since the start of this year and is upbeat about the World Cup (left). But it is taking an exceptional charge of £1.2m as it sells off its digital operation. Getty

MtGox loses £300m to hackers

MtGox, the Japanese Bitcoin exchange that last month filed for bankruptcy protection, has updated its website to allow customers to check their account balances for the first time in three weeks. However, the company has admitted  that it may have lost more  than £300m-worth of bitcoins  to hackers.

IG Group enjoys better revenues

The UK’s biggest spread-betting firm enjoyed a bumper December as punters reassured by a dovish Federal Reserve waded in to bet on shares going up, the company said. IG Group’s revenues for the three months to 28 February were 9 per cent ahead of a year earlier at £96.7m, helped by an “unseasonably strong” December.

Berkeley builds on strong demand

Strong demand in London and the South of England has driven a rapid step-up in the number of homes built by Berkeley. The company said it expects to complete 30 per cent more homes this year than during the 2007 market peak. It added that forward sales of new homes were worth more than £1.9bn by the end of February.

Polypipe joins public markets

The UK’s biggest guttering company was the latest to join the rush to public markets yesterday. Polypipe, which laid more than a million metres of pipes and drains at the Olympic Park, said around 70 managers will own up to 20 per cent of the business valued at up to £80m by the deal.

SafeCharge in $100m share plan

The payment-service provider SafeCharge, majority-owned by the Israeli entrepreneur and Playtech founder Teddy Sagi, plans to raise about $100m by listing shares on London’s junior AIM stock exchange.  The company is expected to have a market capitalisation of up to £230m.

Healthy profits at Bannatyne’s clubs

The group behind Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne’s health-club and fitness chains said efforts to get the firm on to a more stable financial footing had paid off as underlying pre-tax profits rose 30 per cent to £11.5m in 2013. Membership is up 14 per cent so far this year.

Changes on the way at Argos

Home Retail Group’s new chief executive, John Walden, has rejigged Argos’s management. Commercial director David Robinson takes on day-to-day responsibility for Argos, while its digital boss, Bertrand Bodson, is now chief digital officer across Argos and Homebase.

Gallois in driving seat at Peugeot

Peugeot Citroën’s board has agreed to nominate the French civil servant Louis Gallois as its next chairman ahead of a €3bn (£2.5bn) tie-up with China’s Dongfeng Motor Group, which will see it sell shares to both Dongfeng and the French state.

Iger re-elected as chair of Disney

Walt Disney shareholders have re-elected chairman and chief executive Bob Iger and nine other members to the company’s board. Disney announced the voting results at the media company’s annual shareholder meeting in Portland, Oregon.