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The Business Matrix: Wednesday 27 June 2012


Stagecoach results stay on track

Stagecoach's loss-making route into London St Pancras put the skids on its annual growth. It said the recession has seen demand on East Midlands Trains fall, to the point it now receives a taxpayer subsidy on the route. Rail profits fell 44 per cent last year, but group profits were down just 1.5 per cent at £203m as revenues rose 8 per cent to £2.6bn.

Shell joins forces to buy Coryton

Oil giant Royal Dutch Shell, fuel distribution firm Greenergy and storage company Vopak have agreed to buy the majority of assets at the closed down Coryton refinery and plan to use the site a storage terminal. The sale follows a five-month attempt by the site's administrator's to sell the refinery as a going concern.

Sale of Cook's hotels is delayed

Thomas Cook's sale of its Spanish hotel chain has been delayed by a month it revealed yesterday. Iberostar, which agreed in December to pay €71m for the chain of five hotels and a golf club, has asked for an extra month to "put in place certain completion arrangements". As a result, it has doubled the deposit paid to Cook to €20m.

Profits hit the floor at Carpetright

Annual profits at Carpetright slumped to £4m but the retailer offered some comfort over recent sales. The group, which has 490 stores, has seen profits sink from £17m last year and £62m in 2008. Former Sainsbury's director Darren Shapland has just returned as chief executive to work alongside its founder, Lord Harris of Peckham.

Phillips sells Double Helix

Wayne Phillips, the former head of the British Association of Pharmaceutical Physicians, has sold his Double Helix healthcare consultancy to Interpublic's offshoot McCann Health for up to £50m. Mr Phillips created Double Helix in 1995 after 30 years in the drug industry with Genentech and Sandoz.

Petrofac sees good news in pipeline

The oil and gas services provider Petrofac said it expected profits to rise by at least 15 per cent this year after contract wins in Iraq and Mexico boosted its order book. The company said it had a $9.1bn (£5.8bn) backlog of orders and a further $1.1bn of contracts in the pipeline that would soon be signed.

France hit by big rise in jobless

France's jobless total registered its biggest increase in 13 months in April, in a sign that labour market conditions are fast deteriorating in Europe's second-largest economy. The number of jobseekers in mainland France rose by 33,300 from April to 2.922 million.

Serco says outlook is 'improving'

The outsourcing giant Serco said tough conditions in the US were expected to hit first half revenues but that it remained on track for the year as a whole. The Hampshire-based group said while the US market was difficult it had seen "an improving outlook" in the UK.

Irn Bru maker in Rockstar deal

Irn Bru maker AG Barr has extended a deal to sell and distribute US energy drink brand Rockstar in the UK and Ireland until 2024. The company has signed a new 15-year franchise agreement with Rockstar, which is based in Las Vegas.

Dame Lucy bows out from Tesco

Dame Lucy Neville-Rolfe, Tesco's corporate and legal affairs director, is to retire on 2 January, her 60th birthday, following fellow board members Richard Brasher, Andrew Higginson and David Potts out of the door during the past year.