The Business Matrix: Wednesday 30 May 2012


Quercus sees rise in e-book sales

E-books made up 25 per cent of sales at Quercus, the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo publisher, during the first three months of the year, in yet another sign that digital adoption is growing fast. Quercus said e-book buying was seasonal, with sales spiking after Christmas when people received Kindles and other e-reading devices as gifts.

Moss Bros stake sold at £4m profit

A 29 per cent stake in the men's suitmaker Moss Bros that was once owned by Sir Philip Green changed hands again yesterday at a profit to the sellers of about £4m. A trust headed by Simon Berwin of the menswear supply business Berwin & Berwin has sold more than 28 million shares in Moss Bros for 43p a share to institutional investors.

Green Apple turns Volex profits sour

Volex has paid the price for a green push by the consumer electronics giant Apple which wiped out its profits growth this year. Apple is the biggest customer of Volex, which makes the power cables and USB leads. The US giant's desire to use halogen-free cables cost Volex £3m to design and make, leaving profits 3 per cent down at $23m.

Husband and wife cash in on app

The husband and wife team behind Mobile IQ have landed a major windfall after selling their mobile app firm to the giant publishing software company Quark. Shaun and Elaine Barriball's firm creates phone and tablet apps for a raft of major media brands, including BBC News and Top Gear. Demand is soaring thanks the Apple's iPad.

De La Rue coy on drachma moves

De La Rue printed 11,000 tonnes of banknotes last year, but its chief executive was discrete about the chances of adding Greek drachmas to the list yesterday. The printer is said to have drawn up contingency plans, but Tim Cobbold noted: "In terms of printing a currency it does take some time."

Sales slump for Topps Tiles

Topps Tiles saw sales in the half-year to March slip by £2.6m to £86.6m as it posted results that City analysts described as solid enough given wider economic strife. The tile specialist's profits fell 23 per cent to £5.6m but the firm, which has a 26 per cent market share, is still paying a dividend, albeit a flat one at 0.5p.

Air Partner does royally

Air Partner, the only aviation firm with a royal warrant to charter planes for the Queen, said it "continues to trade profitably" despite the challenges facing the sector. The firm, whose clients range from governments to private individuals, said it is has £15.3m cash.

Pennon 7% profits rise in pipeline

Pennon has reported a 7 per cent rise in annual profits as South West Water, its water supply division, gushed 9.8 per cent to £142m. The group, which supplies water to Devon, Cornwall and parts of Somerset and Dorset, saw revenues rise to £1.23bn from £1.15bn.

WPP buys into digital data agency

A marketing group owned by Sir Martin Sorrell's WPP has agreed to buy a majority stake in French digital data agency Predictys. KBM Group will buy the company, which specialises in digital data and campaign technology, for an undisclosed sum.

Brewin Dolphin sees rise in profits

Brewin Dolphin has recorded a 3 per cent rise in half-yearly profits to £12m. The investment manager, which has around 25 offices across the UK, said total managed funds stood at £25.7bn at the end of March compared with £24bn at the end of September.