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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 22 August 2012

H&T profits down more than a third

H&T, the pawnbroking group, has blamed stagnant gold prices, tough trading conditions on the high street and the costs associated with a rapid store opening programme for its half-year profits tumbling by more than a third. Profits slumped 37 per cent to £7.5m over the half year, dragged down by it opening 13 new shops.

Lonmin likely to tap up investors

The prospect of an emergency, $1bn (£633m) rights issue by Lonmin loomed large last night after the platinum producer said that the closure of its Marikana mine in South Africa left it likely to breach its banking covenants at the end of next month. The company said it was considering options to strengthen its financial position.

NewBuy scheme boosts Persimmon

Persimmon said it sold 220 new homes under NewBuy scheme to encourage first-time buyers in its first half, representing around 5 per cent of its 4712 total homes sales. The house builder said that despite the summer slowdown, forward sales are 4 per cent up on last year at £1.04bn. Pre-tax profits jumped 65 per cent to £98.7m.

Barclays starts on Absa plan

Barclays has started talks to combine all its operations in Africa into Absa, the South African bank in which it holds a 55.5 per cent stake. The move is a legacy of former chief executive Bob Diamond, who had always intended to create what he called "One Bank in Africa". The bank will serve 2.2 million customers with assets of about £6bn.

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