The Business Matrix: Wednesday 23 April 2014


Dyson finds spot to park new jet

The multimillionaire inventor James Dyson is reportedly investing £2m in a hangar at Bristol Airport in which to park his private jet. He is said to have taken delivery of a Gulfstream G650 in September, joining an exclusive club of fellow owners including the fashion designer Ralph Lauren and film director Sir Peter Jackson.

Winter takes bite out of McDonald’s

McDonald’s profits have fallen in the first three months of the year after a worse slide than expected in its US restaurants. The fast-food group’s like-for-like sales were up 0.5 per cent overall, but US sales were down 1.7 per cent, due partly to the severe winter. Net income fell to $1.2bn (£710m) from $1.27bn a year earlier.

Credit crunch still with us, says bank

Banks starved companies of credit in the three months to February, despite a pick-up in demand for loans as the economy recovers. In its latest Trends in Lending report, published yesterday, the Bank of England said lending to British firms shrank yet again in the first quarter as outstanding loans contracted by £500m.

An awful lack of coffee in Brazil

Coffee prices leaped to their highest levels in more than two years last night amid fears over the impact of the worst drought in Brazil for decades. Production of arabica beans in Brazil will be 18 lower than projected, commodity trader ED&F Man’s Volcafe division predicted. Prices soared by 8 per cent yesterday.

Alitalia fortunes are looking up

Alitalia, the ailing Italian carrier in talks with Etihad over an funding injection, said business had improved this year. It is seeking fresh capital from UAE rival after failing to secure funding from Air France/KLM. A stake in Alitalia would give Etihad another base to funnel traffic through Abu Dhabi.

Chinese demands drives Samsonite

Demand from customers in China helped Samsonite to increase in sales by 9.6 per cent in its first quarter. The Hong Kong-listed luggage brand said net sales for the three months to April reached $44.6m (£26.4m). Asian sales rose 19.1 per cent to $204.3m and Latin American sales jumped by 17.3 per cent.

High rents ‘harm technology firms’

Internet entrepreneurs warned yesterday that they were being priced out of London’s “Silicon Roundabout” as figures showed rents in the area had virtually doubled over the past three years. Rents have risen from an average of just £17.20 per square foot to £33.60 in 2013.

Lockheed profit soars by 23%

The Pentagon’s largest supplier, the US defence giant Lockheed Martin, reported a 23 per cent jump in net profit in the first quarter. But the maker of the F-35 fighter jet, satellites and coastal warships said federal budget cuts had continued to depress its revenues this year.

Investors tune in to Netflix plans

Customers may not like it, but investors warmed to Netflix’s planned price rises yesterday with shares soaring by 9 per cent. The online streaming service wants to increase spending on original content and attract more customers.

Firms must rein in wages, says Cable

The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has urged top companies to peg executive salaries as Barclays prepares for its shareholder meeting tomorrow to approve bonuses. Mr Cable warned all FTSE-100 firms of the public anger at high pay.