Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

The Business Matrix: Wednesday 4 September 2013


Five-a-side football scores

Goals Soccer Centres, which operates 43 five-a-side football outlets in the UK and one in Los Angeles, said half-year profits fell 7 per cent to £4.1m as it concentrated on consolidating the business following a period of strong growth. It also said fewer footballers were buying alcohol mid-week. Revenues rose 2 per cent to £16.6m.

Spirent parts with Bill Burns

Spirent Communications’s boss Bill Burns had a bad day yesterday: he left his job at the helm of the testing firm and saw its shares rise 5 per cent. The technology company that tests 3G and 4G networks gave no reason for Mr Burns’ departure. But Spirent reported a 72 per cent fall in first-half profit last month. Shares rose 6.4p to 135p.

Shah steps down at Fidelity

The man who replaced Anthony Bolton as head of Fidelity’s Special Situations fund yesterday stood down from his role to focus on nurturing talent. Sanjeev Shah, one of Britain’s best known investors in his own right, will join the company’s Portfolio Managers Academy in the New Year after five years in the job.

Aberdeen Asset fined £7.2m

Aberdeen Asset Management has been fined £7.2m by the Financial Conduct Authority for failing to protect its clients’ money over a three-year period to 2011. The regulator said the firm failed to identify and protect clients’ money placed in money-market deposits with third-party banks. The average daily balance was £685m.

Restructuring boost at Johnson

Dry cleaner Johnson Service Group reaped the benefits of its restructuring programme as profits rose 214 per cent. The company, which has closed down 120 underperforming stores over the past few months, made pre-tax profits of £4.4m compared with £1.4m last year, helped by its textile rental arm.

Cash injection for Bernard Matthews

Turkey farmer Bernard Matthews has secured a multi-million pound injection from turnaround business Rutland Partners. The East Anglia-based farmer and processor, which rears seven million birds a year, said it will use the investment to support its growth after tough trading over the past few years.

‘Challenging’ year for McBride

Manchester-based McBride, which supplies own-label toothpaste and detergents to supermarkets, said full-year revenues fell 5 per cent to £761.4m and profits dropped 19 per cent to £24m after a “challenging” year in which it wound down selected contract manufacturing arm.

Genus survives the drought

Cattle and pig breeder Genus grew its profits marginally in the last year despite the worst drought in North America for 50 years. Headline profits rose 2 per cent to £47.2m on revenues up just 1 per cent at £354m. Boss Karim Bitar said he expected to see improving growth in 2014.

DS Smith on the right track

Consumer goods packaging firm DS Smith said it is on track to make further significant progress this year, despite the short-term impact of recent input cost rises and economy challenges to its extensive European operations.

Cheers! BrewDog taps up beer fans

The punk IPA producer BrewDog has raised £3m of its targeted £4m new capital in just two months by tapping up beer fans via a crowdsourced fundraising. Although the shares are illiquid, they do carry lifetime discount on the brewer’s beer.