The Business Matrix: Wednesday 19 October 2011

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The Independent Online

Renold set to double its profits

The industrial chains maker Renold, whose products have been used in the Big Ben’s clock tower and the Thames Barrier, said it is on track to double its annual profits. The firm reported a 13 per cent rise in underlying sales in its first half, but said it has accelerated a number of cost-cutting initiatives amid fears over the global economy.

Ombudsman PPI complaints halve

Complaints made to the Financial Ombudsman Service about payment protection insurance have more than halved. The watchdog said it received 19,259 new consumer complaints about the issue between July and September. But it added that complaints on other matters such as mortgages and credit cards were up by nearly a quarter.

LVMH defies economic gloom

The maker of Moët champagne and Louis Vuitton bags defied the economic gloom with strong sales and an upbeat forecast for the remainder of the year. LVMH, the world’s largest owner of luxury brands, posted a 15 per cent rise in sales to €16bn (£14bn) in the nine months to 30 September, with Tag watches and Bulgari jewellery best sellers.

Net grocery market to double

The online grocery market is set to almost double by 2016 to £11.2bn from £5.9bn this year, according to IGD. The analysts believe 3.8 per cent of all food and drink shopping now takes place online. Separate data from IMRG Capgemini revealed Britons spent £5.5bn in total online last month, up 15 per cent on a year ago.

Youth jobless rate at 42% in Greece

Greece’s jobless rate rose to 16.5 per cent in July, its second-highest level on record, driven by austerity measures which have plunged the economy into its fourth consecutive year of recession. The reading a year ago stood at 12 per cent. The jobless rate among 15- to 24-year-olds soared to 42 per cent.

Tax code in way of deficit reduction

The US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that the country’s tax code was riddled with special preferences but it was not possible to fix the system before the end of the year. The congressional deficit reduction panel has until 23 November to reach an agreement to curb federal spending.

New UK role for Dixons

Dixons Retail, the owner of the Currys and PC World chains, is to hire a new head of its UK business early next year, freeing up its chief executive John Browett to focus on strategy. Katie Bickerstaffe, marketing director, and Sebastian James, the operations director, are the frontrunners for the new role.

Matalan sees 63% drop in profits

Second-quarter profits tumbled 63 per cent at Matalan and the discount fashion chain said it did not expect trading to improve in the short term. Matalan said trading was hit by a “difficult month” in June when rivals started discounting earlier. The 212-store retailer’s profits fell to £14m on revenues of £259m.

Faroe Petroleum strikes oil

Faroe Petroleum has found oil in a well at the Butch prospect in the Norwegian North Sea, marking the Aberdeen group’s second successful oil discovery in three months. Faroe, which operates primarily in the North Sea, shares the licence with Centrica, Suncor Norge and Spring Energy Norway.

Dong to sell natural gas in UK

The Danish company Dong Energy is to start selling natural gas in the UK after it agreed to buy the sales and marketing company Shell Gas Direct from Royal Dutch Shell for £30m. The deal, which is subject to approval from EU competition authorities, is expected to be completed in the coming months.