The Business Matrix: Wednesday 21 December 2011


Click to follow


Burberry renews Inter Parfums link

Burberry is reviewing its 20-plus-year licence with France's Inter Parfums, which makes its fragrance and beauty products. The luxury goods company could buy back the current licence which runs to 2017, extend it or even bid for Inter Parfums. Sales of Burberry fragrances were £176m last year and are growing with the launch of Burberry Body.

Rise in long-term joblessness

The number of long-term dole claimants has risen by 35,000 since last year, according to an analysis of official statistics by the TUC. The steepest increases in long-term joblessness have been in Scotland and London. The number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance over Christmas will be 279,000, up from 243,000 last year.

Banks climb down on travel charges

High street banks have agreed to scrap excessive plastic card charges on travel money after a supercomplaint from Consumer Focus. The climbdown follows a three-month investigation by the Office of Fair Trading into the £1bn travel money industry. The move could save holidaymakers about £20m a year, according Consumer Focus.

Politics beckons for Maslovskiy

Pavel Maslovskiy is to step down as chief executive of Petropavlovsk, the London-listed Russian gold miner formerly known as Peter Hambro Mining, after being elected as a senator in Russia's far east region of Amur. He will not completely sever ties with the company, which is still chaired by Peter Hambro, his co-founder in the business.

National Express on track for profit

National Express has grown revenue across all of its bus, train and coach businesses. Ticket sales rose 6 per cent at its rail unit, which includes the c2c franchise between London and Essex, while bus revenues grew 4 per cent. Analysts expect the transport operator to make a profit of £181m for the year.

Olympus £800m plan 'desperate'

The former chief executive of Olympus, Michael Woodford, has dismissed as "desperate" reports that the board which ousted him is now considering tapping rivals such as Sony and Fujifilm to raise £800m. The Nikkei said the plan was to attract new investors, possibly by issuing preference shares.

SVG investors get £170m promise

SVG Capital has promised to return £170m cash to investors and loosen its ties with the private equity group Permira, which currently accounts for 80 per cent of its investment. The moves come in response to growing pressure to come up with ways to boost its share price.

German business confidence boost

Europe's economic engine Germany looks set to escape recession after a surprise rise in business confidence this month. The Ifo Institute said its business climate index saw the biggest rise in sentiment since February as firms reported improving prospects outside the eurozone.

Simplyhealth pays £115m for Denplan

Simplyhealth, the health payment plan provider, has agreed to buy Denplan from insurer AXA UK for £115m. Denplan serves more than 1.8 million patients in the UK. Simplyhealth recently bought Groupama's UK private medical insurance unit.

BAE lands £40m drone contract

BAE Systems has won a £40m four-year contract with the Ministry of Defence to ensure Britain retains a leading edge in the next generation of unmanned drone planes. It will work with the MoD to keep its unmanned air system strategy up to date.