The Business Matrix: Wednesday 27 July 2011

Jeweller thrives despite economy

Aurum Holdings, the company behind the Goldsmiths and Mappin & Webb jewellery chains, has posted soaring annual profits and said the sale of the group for up to £200m “remains on track”. Aurum, which also owns Watches of Switzerland, posted an 85 per cent leap in operating profits to £12m, on sales of £281m, for the year to 30 January.

Profits boost for Arm Holdings

Arm Holdings, the chip designer that powers many of the world’s smartphone and tablet computers, boosted profits by 25 per cent to £54m in the three months to June as it shipped nearly 2 billion microprocessors. Its shares fell, though, after cautious comments about income over the rest of the year and consumer spending towards Christmas.

Ford rides out tough quarter

Ford, the only American car maker that did not resort to a government bailout in 2009, has posted $2.4bn (£1.46bn) in net income for the second quarter, down from $2.6bn in the same period last year. Rival Chrysler, on the other hand, reported a net loss of $370m for the second quarter, wider than the $172m seen a year ago.

Charter resists Melrose buyout

Takeover target Charter International stepped up efforts to resist a £1.4bn approach from the buyout firm Melrose yesterday, setting new targets and reporting an increase in firsthalf profits to £76m. But shares in the engineer, which was approached by Melrose after a profits warning, closed below its suitor’s latest offer at 798p.

Glaxo banking on new products

GlaxoSmithKline is banking on a pipeline of new products to sustain growth. Britain’s biggest drug maker, which reported a rise in underlying quarterly sales to £1.27bn yesterday, said a range of new drugs – including for epilepsy, lupus and rotavirus – should help it boost profit margins in the year ahead.

Pace to make its full-year target

The set-top box maker Pace is on track to meet reduced full-year forecasts even though interim profits slumped 58 per cent. The firm expects full-year profits of $150m-$170m (£92m- £104m). A strategic review launched by new chairman Allan Leighton will be ready with its third-quarter update.

Growth slows, industry shrinks

The economy barely grew between April and June and industrial output shrank, casting doubt on the Government’s ability to erase the deficit. Gross domestic product grew by 0.2 per cent in the second quarter compared with the first. That took the annual growth rate to 0.7 per cent. MORE

US house prices at five-month high

Prices for new US single family homes rose to a five-month high in June even as sales slipped, but recovery for the broader housing market continues to be frustrated by an oversupply of properties. The Commerce Department said the average price for new homes was up 5.8 per cent last month to $235,200.

Record diamond sales for De Beers

De Beers posted a 55 per cent jump in first-half earnings to $1.2bn (£732m) on the back of record rough diamond sales and an unprecedented jump in prices, driven by China, India and unexpectedly strong demand from the US. The miner said sales of rough diamonds were up 33 per cent at $3.5bn.

Coal and copper boost Xstrata

Xstrata, the world’s fourth largest miner, reported a rebound in copper and coal output in the latest quarter. The company, whose mines in Australia were hit by flooding earlier this year, said the first-half’s output in both commodities – which account for 80 per cent of its earnings – were in line with a year ago.