Care homes and hospitals have been in the news. The BBC’s Panorama team produced a shocking undercover report on the care (or lack of) at a a private hospital Winterbourne View owned by Castlebeck who seem to have responded appropriately to the film  which shows an appalling lack of care and depicts what can only be described as shameless abuse. A completely different company Southern Cross Healthcare (the UK’s largest care home company) are having a few financial problems of their own. They recently decided to withhold a third of its rent payments. The company has seen revenues decline 3.4% over the last financial year to £464.3m, they are running at a loss of £310.9m which was 13 times greater than the 2010 loss of £22.9m. Debt pretty much doubled from £7.3m to £14.4m. Big owners of Southern Cross shares include Credit Suisse, JO Hambro, Wintrust, Deutsche Bank, UBS, Lloyds Banking Group, Legal and General, Allianz, ING and Standard Life who collectively own nearly 65% of the company.

A few uncomfortable days ahead for some of those groups and certainly a sense of being caught out – which reminds me of those rather bizarre “you’ve been Tango’d” adverts that appeared some years ago. Britvic investors (who produce Robinsons, Tango and J2O) will be pleased that there is some sparkle in their performance as sales rose 4.7%. However due to the increasing prices of commodities – in particular sugar, profits remained the same at £27.7m. Now that Wimbledon is just a few weeks away, perhaps a good run for Andy Murray at Wimbledon will help boost Robinson’s sales and profits. Here’s a classic advert to remind you of hot summers. The picture quality is poor… it was a long time ago!

As the cricket season really begins to get started, I am also reminded of my childhood team Somerset and their glory days with Ian Botham, Viv Richards, Joel Garner and Brian Rose. At the end of the summer, part of the preparation for a new term was one childhood experience I loathed (not really sure why) which was getting a new pair of school shoes. Clarks shoes were invariably the choice of mothers (well certainly mine) which seemed robust enough to last a thorough workout in the playground. So news that this West Country shoe manufacturer has finally exceeded profit of £100m for the first time is welcome (I guess… unless you are a parent having to fork out again for school shoes!). Clarks saw pre-tax profits rise by 28% with sales up 9% with a now global brand.

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