The Business Matrix: Wednesday 23 October 2013


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The Independent Online

Universities fund in Heathrow stake

One of the largest pension schemes in the UK, the Universities Superannuation Scheme, is buying a £392m, 8 per cent stake in Heathrow. The investment comes as the UK's largest airport is challenging proposed caps on landing charges, saying they have reduced returns to below the level at which shareholders are willing to invest.

Metro bank eyes stock market float

The first new bank to open on Britain's high streets in more than a century revealed yesterday that it is considering listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Metro Bank, best known for its dog-friendly branches and coin-counting machines, said it may float in order to boost ambitious expansion plans – or tap existing investors for cash.

Cineworld sells more seats for less

The cinema chain Cineworld had more bottoms on its seats in the last four months, but since more of them were child-sized ones watching family movies such as Despicable Me 2, its average ticket price slipped by almost 1 per cent. Reduced charges for children mean that family-friendly blockbusters are less lucrative for cinemas.

Aldi and Lidl increase share

Discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl are still stealing customers from rivals Tesco, Asda and Morrisons, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Aldi and Lidl's combined market share of 6.8 per cent also overtook the struggling Co-op's 6.4 per cent. Sainsbury's was the only Big Four chain to grow market share, up to 16.7 per cent.

Firms joining Aim at six-year high

More companies joined Aim than left in the third quarter of 2013, the first time this has happened for six years. Accountancy group UHY Hacker Young found 20 companies joined between July and September while 16 delisted. The last time joiners outnumbered leavers was in the third quarter of 2007.

E.ON axes plan for biomass plant

German utility E.ON is scrapping plans to build a 150 megawatt biomass-fuelled power plant at Portbury Dock in south-west England because of unfavourable regulation and biomass policy. "We concluded that this project was not a priority investment for E.ON," the company said.

Gold miner warns on Russian floods

Peter Hambro, the chairman of gold miner Petropavlovsk, has warned that production will be 3 per cent down this year. Hambro hailed the "exceptional efforts" of its staff and management for limiting the effects of severe floods – said to be the worst weather since the 1880s.

Air-parts firm GKN is booming

GKN's high-flying 2013 continued today as the aircraft parts manufacturer announced a £131m pre-tax profit for the third quarter, up 34 per cent on the same period last year. Chief executive Nigel Stein also pointed to "automotive demand in China and North America".

Eurotunnel soars as UK picks up

Eurotunnel hailed the upturn in the UK for fuelling "new impetus" in the buoyant freight market between London and the Continent. "In the freight market it's quite clear the economic recovery in Britain is driving huge demand," it said.

Credit-card float hits top target

The Russian brewing entrepreneur Oleg Tinkov has seen the London flotation of his Moscow-based credit-card business TCS Group hit the top of its target range, raising more than $1bn and valuing the company at $3.2bn.