The Business Matrix: Friday 31 October 2014


Click to follow

Samsung vows to get much smarter

Samsung will revamp its smartphones after customers hung up in favour of Apple and Chinese rivals. It is on course for its worst year since 2011 after third-quarter profits fell 60.1 per cent to 4.1 trillion won (£2.4bn). Apple’s iPhone 6 lured high-end customers away, while Lenovo and Xiaomi have undercut Samsung. getty

Standard accused of sanctions break

Standard Chartered suffered a further blow yesterday with US reports that prosecutors have re-opened investigations into allegations that it broke sanctions against Iran. The bank reached a deferred prosecution deal two years ago in which it paid $627m (£392m) to regulators. The bank declined to comment.

Ryanair looks for deal on Cyprus

Ryanair, Europe’s largest low-cost airline, is into the second round of bidding for the loss-making Cyprus Airways, its chief executive Michael O’Leary said yesterday. Cyprus’s transport minister had revealed that Greece’s Aegean and Ryanair were among companies that had submitted non-binding bids for Cyprus Airways.

German inflation remains static

Annual inflation in Germany remained unchanged at a four-year low level in October, official preliminary data shows, underlining concerns about deflation risks in the eurozone. Measured by consumer price index (CPI), the annual inflation rate in Europe’s biggest economy was 0.8 per cent in October – the same as July.

Aviva gets ready for fresh turmoil

Aviva is preparing for renewed turmoil in the eurozone as it stands on the brink of a triple-dip recession. The insurer, whose life and pension sales slump during the eurozone debt crisis, also said yesterday that its UK business sales were up by 18 per cent to £120m in the third quarter.

‘Bad bank’ repays  a further £1.6bn

Britain’s “bad bank”, UK Asset Resolution, the nationalised parts of Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley, has paid £1.6bn back to the Treasury in the past six months. It has now refunded £12bn, or one quarter of the total bailout money it picked up when it was set up four years ago.

Clydesdale to be sold or floated

Clydesdale Bank, which also owns Yorkshire Bank, will be floated on the stock market or sold off, its Australian owner NAB said yesterday. The 320-branch network has been hit by £670m of mis-selling costs this year. NAB has tried to sell it twice before since 2000.

St James’s quids in with Isa limits

St James’s Place benefited from new higher limits for Isas, with investors putting more money into its savings products during the third quarter. The FTSE 100 wealth manager was boosted by net inflows of £1.27bn in the period, taking its funds under management to £49.1bn.

Millennium rests easy with 6% rise

Millennium & Copthorne Hotels said its pre-tax profit lifted 6.6 per cent to £50.2m in the third quarter to 30 September after it bought new hotels and saw stronger trading in the US and New Zealand. The firm owns over 100 hotels worldwide.

Rival bid extends Spirit’s deadline

Spirit Pubs has agreed to a new 20 November deadline to end talks over a £725m takeover by rival pubs group Greene King. Talks had been due to end at 5pm yesterday but Magners’ owner C&C emerged as a rival bidder for the chain last week.