The Business Matrix: Friday 18 November 2011



Sales accelerate by 14 per cent

Car production accelerated by more than 14 per cent last month, with British factories churning out 128,654 cars. Engine production also rose, by 12 per cent, but commercial vehicle production fell 2.9 per cent, figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Trades (SMMT) showed.

Central banks step up purchases

Central banks significantly stepped up purchases of gold in the third quarter of the year, by more than twice the amount they acquired in the previous quarter. Gold has become increasingly attractive as stock and bond markets fluctuate: at the end of September it was up 15 per cent on a year ago.

UBS moves focus back to the rich

UBS said it would resume paying dividends as it slashes risky assets in its scandal-hit investment bank by almost half. The Swiss bank is now refocusing on its core business of managing the assets of the world's wealthy. It also said it would cut its investment bank staff from 18,000 to 16,000 by the end of 2016.

Peroni puts fizz into SABMiller

The brewer SABMiller said the popularity of the Italian brand Peroni Nastro Azzurro in pubs helped it expand its share of the declining premium lager market in the six months to 30 September. The Grolsch brewer said the amount of lager it sold in the UK rose by 6 per cent.

Ross bids to take Cosalt private

David Ross has made an approach to take Cosalt, the offshore safety company he chairs, private for 0.1p a share, or £400,000. The co-founder of Carphone Warehouse, whose father and grandfather also chaired Cosalt, already owns 15 per cent of the company, which had a market value of £3.2m on Wednesday. Its shares slumped 38 per cent to 0.475p as the debt-laden company warned that it is likely to use up its borrowing facilities before the end of the year.

Mattera accused of Facebook scam

A fund manager accused of running a £7m scam promoting phony access to coveted shares of Facebook and Groupon before their public debut was arrested in Florida yesterday. John Mattera, who ran the Praetorian Global Fund registered in the British Virgin Islands, spent nearly $4m of the misappropriated money on personal expenses, including cars, jewellery and paying personal taxes, according to a criminal complaint unsealed in Manhattan federal court.