The Business Matrix: Friday 11 November 2011



Jefferson County down the drain

Alabama's Jefferson County, covering the state's largest city of Birmingham, has become the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history after failing to break free of debts incurred in rebuilding its sewers. The $3bn (£2bn) bankruptcy comes amid allegations of widespread corruption.

Bingo for Rank at European Court

Rank shares jumped nearly 10 per cent after the gaming firm won a UK tax dispute in the European Court of Justice. The court ruled in Rank's favour on its long-running dispute with the Revenue over claims it had paid too much VAT on its bingo games and some amusement machines.

Car giant to create 1,000 more jobs

Jaguar Land Rover is to create more than 1,000 jobs at its plant in Solihull in the West Midlands. The Indian-owned car maker said it would boost production of the Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Discovery and Defender marques, to meet growing demand in the UK and overseas.

WH Smith suffers drop in sales

WH Smith has reported a 6 per cent fall in its underlying sales in recent weeks, fuelling fears of a tough Christmas for retailers. The firm, which has been focusing on more profitable items such as books, said sales on the high street were harder hit than at its airport and railway stores.

S&P admits French blunder

Standards & Poor's was forced to admit last night that it had mistakenly told some of its subscribers it had downgraded France's credit rating from the top triple-A level. It said it was investigating the error.

Corcoran to head Betfair

Betfair has said Breon Corcoran, 40, will replace chief executive David Yu, who recently announced plans to stand down. Mr Corcoran will join the company in August from Paddy Power.