The Business Matrix: Wednesday 20 November 2013


HEOne set for box office bonanza

The film and TV distributor behind Catching Fire, the second Hunger Games movie, expects box-office takings when it opens on Friday to smash those of its predecessor, which grossed more than £400m. EOne, which joined the FTSE 250 in September, saw half-year revenues jump 65 per cent to £364.5m after it acquired Alliance Films.

Nokia agrees to mobile sell-off

Nokia shareholders have approved the €5.4bn (€4.5bn) sale of the company's mobile phone business to Microsoft, deciding the deal's financial benefits outweighed any objections to the loss of a Finnish national asset. The sale is expected to close in the first quarter of next year after regulatory clearances.

Tie Rack's final 44 stores to close

Tie Rack's owner, the Italian company Fingen, plans to shut its remaining 44 UK stores after years of underinvestment and decline, and fewer businessmen wearing ties. The decision could threaten up to 200 jobs. Fingen will keep the online operation, and some stores at British airports and overseas may stay open.

Homeserve count cost of mis-selling

Homeserve's mis-selling scandal wiped out profits at the emergency repairs specialist during the first half after it paid out £19m in compensation. This dragged profits down to £600,000, compared with £19.1m last year. An inquiry by the regulatory Financial Conduct Authority could result in a hefty fine for the company.

Car sales continue to accelerate

Europe's car industry managed its second month in a row of annual growth for the first time since 2011 in October. Sales were up 4.6 per cent to 1.04 million, as four of the region's biggest markets – Spain, the UK, Germany and France – all grew. Spanish sales were boosted by a cash-for-bangers scheme.

Big four lose out to Aldi and Lidl

The discounters Aldi and Lidl have taken customers from Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda and Morrisons as the Big Four all lost market share for the first time on record, according to the latest industry data. Kantar Worldpanel said nearly one in three shoppers had visited an Aldi in the past 12 weeks.

Pricipality chief John stands down

The chairman of Wales' largest, and Britain's sixth-largest, building society, the Principality, is to step down. Dyfrig John, a former career banker with HSBC, will retire at the annual meeting in April. He has been chairman since 2010 and has overseen a period of strong growth.

My-wardrobe secures funding said private investors have provided critical new funding to secure the fashion website's future. It said it will be business as usual for customers as it continues to operate from its Nottingham base and retain its buying and merchandising teams in London.

IG revenues grow in slow market

The UK's biggest spread betting company IG is still growing revenues but complained of "more subdued" markets. The spread betting firm's first half was boosted by volatility amid signs the US could begin winding down its stimulus.

TV gambling ads soar to 1.39m

The total number of gambling ads on TV has leapt almost tenfold to 1.39 million in 2012 from 152,000 in 2006 before rules were liberalised, according to the regulator Ofcom. Gambling accounts for 4.1 per cent of TV ads against 0.7 per cent in 2006.