The Business Matrix: Wednesday 6 July 2011

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The Independent Online

Portugal debt rated as ‘junk’

Moody’s cut Portugal’s credit rating to junk last night and warned the country could need another bailout before it returns to the capital markets. The ratings agency pointed to discussions surrounding a possible new deal for Greece as it warned that existing investors would be expected to take a hit if Portugal did need another IMF/EU loan.

Morgan Sindall on Gatwick shortlist

Morgan Sindall has made a shortlist of 10 firms appointed for the £1.2bn revamp of Gatwick Airport. The project, which will include upgraded terminal facilities and new aircraft piers, baggage systems and retail, security and immigration areas, was announced as the construction firm said it was on track to meet profit expectations for this year.

Minister calls for ‘mates mortgages’

The housing minister Grant Shapps has called on lenders to offer “mates mortgages” to allow first-time buyers to club together to buy a home. He said: “If there are mates who are perfectly capable of paying monthly mortgage payments but are struggling to fund a deposit on their own, there should be straightforward options to unite.”

Burberry faces revolt over pay

The luxury fashion house Burberry faces a revolt over executive pay after a lobby group urged its members to vote against its remuneration plans. Pirc pointed towards a one-off share payment worth nearly £5.8m to chief executive Angela Ahrendts as it said the total rewards for executives were “excessive”.

NBrown boosts sales by discounts

The catalogue and online shopping group N Brown warned yesterday that aggressive promotional discounting had cut into its profit margins, but said sales remained buoyant. The company, which also owns the Figleaves and High & Mighty brands, said price-cutting was necessary to drive up revenues.

Revenue targets VAT dodgers

The Revenue promised to clamp down on VAT dodgers as it gave traders a last chance to register for the tax. HMRC is inviting firms whose turnover is above the £73,000 VAT threshold to come forward by 30 September and avoid a maximum penalty. It will investigate those who fail to come forward.

Persimmon sale prices increase

Persimmon has reported healthy visitor numbers and resilient demand, saying demand for new properties sped up through the spring. While it sold fewer houses than a year ago, it expects selling prices to increase from £162,000 in the first half, as more sales of larger, detached houses come through.

Amec wins Urenco contract

Amec has been awarded a contract to provide a range of services to Urenco UK, which supplies uranium to nuclear power plants and is based in Capenhurst, near Chester. No value was given for the three-year contract. Amec is also working with Magnox to process waste at eight of its nuclear sites.

Galliford’s sales rise by a quarter

Galliford Try said the number of homes it sold rose by 27 per cent to 2,170 in the year to the end of June, while the average price of its private sales rose by 10 per cent to £227,000. In a trading update ahead of its full-year results, it said the non-housebuilding part of the business had put in a resilient performance.

RWE and E.ON cool nuclear plan

The German utility companies RWE and E.ON have all but abandoned their joint plans to build two nuclear power plants in Britain, Sueddeutsche Zeitung has reported. Plans to build new plants were increasingly unlikely to be carried out because investments would be too expensive, the German daily said.

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